Open Letter to WestJet and those other airlines

Dear WestJet (and any other airline who might care to listen),

Flying with small children sucks. It sucks for the parents and it sucks for your other customers. And I hear you are all about your customers. You tell jokes. You make things simple. You know how to communicate with customers and show them that you value their business.

Do you think you could come up with something that might make flying with small children a little easier? Please?

Here is my suggestion:

Create a ‘family’ section on the plane and advertise it as such. Put anyone who has an infant ticket in this section and let anyone else who is selecting seats in that section know where it is. Encourage parents with preschoolers/primary school kids to book into this section.

This will do a number of things. For one- parents are very understanding of other parents. Cause we get it. We have all been there. And we can suffer together. And maybe our kids might be able to distract each other.

Secondly- those people who hate children and think they shouldn’t be allowed to fly- they can self select to seat far on the other end of the plane. No more dirty looks or heaving sighs.

Then you can advertise that you are doing something to make customers- all customers- happy.

Win- Win?

I’d like to make other suggestions, like giving parents with infants priority on having an empty seat in their row- but that would probably be going to far and may not be seen as ‘fair’ for all. Which- fair enough. Even though it would totally rock. Especially for those 1-2 year old ‘infants’ that really just hate sitting on Mom or Dad’s lap for 1, 2, 3, 4 hours. But I am pretty sure this is just a pipe dream. So I will stick with pushing for a family section.

What do you think readers?  Could it work? Should we start a petition?

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10 responses to “Open Letter to WestJet and those other airlines

  1. Romy February 4, 2011 at 6:48 pm

    Yes! When my daughter was about 14 months old, we flew from Vancouver to Winnipeg with Westjet. I’m not sure if they did it intentionally or not, but we were in about a four row block of people with infants/toddlers/kids. We were all clumped together at the back and there were no other kids except in this four-row block. It. Was. AWESOME. Seriously, our best flight and we have done many, just the two of us, when she was under age 2. Awesome, I tell you.

    • amoment2think February 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm

      Yeah, I have heard of Westjet kinda-sorta doing that occasionally, but it is not consistent. I think the should just go right ahead and put a plan in place to make it happen on every flight possible.

      Both of our last two flights we were stuck in full 3 seat rows with someone who obviously was really really NOT IMPRESSED to be sitting beside a screaming, crying, whiny toddler. (Not that I blame them, I didn’t really want to sit with her either! HA!) I think those passengers deserve the option to know ahead of time and sit somewhere else if they aren’t going to be understanding.

  2. whiskeyjac February 4, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    this is *such* a good idea. you’re right it is win win and i know my daughter in particular would have benefited from the other kids. i don’t know how to start a petition but i’d sign and share share share for SURE.

  3. Perpetua February 5, 2011 at 5:18 am

    This is brilliant. It would make everyone happy, and we could fly guilt-free, which would be awesome!

  4. Nadia February 5, 2011 at 11:57 am

    I love this post.
    While hilarious, also very true.

    I have dread thinking about taking baby to meet relatives because of this same issue. You see, going to Mexico is a little bit more complicated, if lucky it takes you two planes of 4 hrs each. So, yes, I hear you on this.

    I have never been a good flyer. I try to make things easy when traveling by myslef because of all the hassle; now put a baby into the equation and I am all anxious. And as you said, other people could make this a harder task.

    Tell me where to sing this petition and I’ll do it 🙂

    cheers,

  5. TMae February 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Brilliant! I’ve flown cross country several times with my son, and each time I board the plane I have a moment of, “is THIS going to be the flight I get stuck next to a jerk?” Fortunately, I’ve yet to encounter anyone TRULY horrific (minus one flight attendant who told me my luggage was blocking the aisle and needed to be moved IMMEDIATELY so that other passengers could get by me, while I was CLEARLY just trying to set my son in a seat).

  6. Dr Sarah February 6, 2011 at 5:43 am

    Hmmmm…. nice idea, but I see a problem straight away.

    You see, my husband has long legs. Very long legs. He’s a shade over 6′ 4″ and his legs are disproportionately long for his height, so… you get the picture. He takes trousers in a 36″ leg length, which he finds almost impossible to get hold of and has to order specially from the USA (which is a whole saga in itself, but I’ll avoid getting sidetracked. The point is, if he sits in an ordinary airline seat he has to spend the entire trip crammed into a space that just isn’t long enough for his thighs. It’s hideously uncomfortable to him, to the point where he can barely walk when he gets off the plane and has pains in his legs for weeks afterwards.

    So, you can appreciate that it is really important to him to get a seat in the front row. Granted, flying is never going to be that comfortable for anyone, but it is *really* bad for him unless he gets a seat in the front row. So, every time, we try to convince the airline that this is something he really needs, something that will make a big difference to him – and airlines have almost never been willing to oblige, and we always have this big stressful struggle over it. Which is bad enough as it is. If airlines were to set up a rule that everyone with small children had to sit in a particular section of the plane, it’s a fair bet that that section would *not* include the front row (because there may be passengers with physical disabilities who *do* need a seat inthe front row, even more than my husband). And the small hope that we do currently still have of him getting a front row seat would be gone, completely, until the children grow up. For that matter, there’s also the issue of how it would work for parents of small children who *do* have physical disabilities and need front seats.

    I can appreciate that this idea would make life easier for a lot of parents and other passengers, and maybe I’m being selfish in not wanting to sign up for it, but… I just can’t do that to my husband. Sorry.

  7. Dr Sarah February 6, 2011 at 10:22 am

    OK, I just thought of another possible way of doing it. Instead of having one section of the plane that’s only for families with children, how about doing it the other way round and having one section of the plane that’s child-free? Maybe charge slightly more for it… That way, people who hate travelling with children don’t have to, people with children don’t have to put up with travelling with people who hate travelling with children, and people like my husband still get the option of requesting a front-row seat even if they’re travelling with the children. How about that?

  8. Lorry February 7, 2011 at 8:44 am

    How about a new airline, MomAir. They’d also not charge money for lap infants. (Yeah, on international flights, you pay for the privilege of holding on to a baby for 8 hours.) Actually, forget lap infants. They’ll have baby seats, and they’ll be priced reasonably enough that people will just buy one for the baby. It’s way safer anyway. And there’d be at least ONE reasonable place to change a diaper. You can request nursing pillows, the seats have built-in CARES harnesses, maybe even built-in bottle warmers. I could have a field day with this, but it’ll only ever happen in my head anyway!

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