Or… The Flight From Hell
Our flight from Las Vegas to St. Louis was almost that. The flight was completely full so we knew we were going to have to share our third seat with another passenger. But we didn’t know it would be two passengers, one of whom was 9 month old and had the lungs of a terrified banshee warrior on speed. I understand that babies have to fly somewhere and sit somewhere but this mother was completely unprepared for the 3 hour tour of Hell that this child went through and put those around him through. The worst part for infants is the pressure change in their ears during ascending and descending. They don’t know how to make their ears pop to equalize the pressure. Apparently this young mother didn’t know how to either. She did have a cup of water and some formula. As soon as we lifted off the baby began screaming. We had to level off at 30,000 plus feet before my wife convinced her that the kid should drink something to help equalize the pressure. So my wife poured the water into a baby bottle and the lady dipped 3 scoops of powdered formula into the bottle while juggling the nine month old acrobat. She gave him the bottle and he did settle down and sleep for almost an hour. When the baby was in a good mood he was happily patting the man sitting in front of him on his bald head, which the guy said he didn’t mind.
Then the wailing started again. Fortunately there was a family with several young children across the aisle. A girl of about 8 or 9 spent the rest of the flight playing with him and giving him things to play with to try to keep him distracted. It worked for a while… until we started to s-l-o-w-l-y make our descent into St. Louis. The ear pressure thing started up again and the beast reared it’s head again.
How can such a loud and shrill sound come from such a tiny beautiful creature? For some reason that high pitched scream just goes right through my skull and rattles my brain. I had to stick my fingers in my ears to lessen the shrill din. I’ve been on many flights where there is a baby screaming and the flight attendants will come and offer suggestions to the parent, but they didn’t come near this little one or his mother.
The mother said her husband is from Nepal and he wants to take the baby on a flight there to see his family. She said it’s a 23 hour flight and after this flight she didn’t think that would happen. I do sympathize with her but she just seemed totally unprepared for the possibility of a problem.
After we landed the guy who’s head was patted during the flight turned to her and said that this was probably a very long three hour flight for her. After we deplaned I saw him at the luggage carousel and told him that it was a long three hour flight for everyone on board that plane, especially those within a few rows of the child.
The mother had no pacifier and tried to get him to drink from a sippee cup, but he wanted no part of it. We finally touched down and the little guy was so worked up I’m surprised he didn’t vomit. I guess it could have been worse, he could have crapped all over but there was no indication of that aroma in the air.