Diners and Diapers… Hard to swallow, I know.
I’ll get to how diners and diapers, two seemingly at odd topics, co-exist far more intimately than you ever wanted to know.
For now, let’s just say both fall under the label of Responsibility.
Why didn’t I just start off with that? Because you never would have read this far about something nobody wants.
Responsibility: Yours, Mine and Ours
Let’s admit it. Whether we’ve been adults for 5 years or 50, we’re over this responsibility crap. We want someone else to take responsibility because we’re just too damn tired.
By the time we get to the airport, we’re over the responsibility of packing for it, paying for it and pushing the pests that look a lot like our kids through the whole process.
That final moment of surrender comes when you step into the glass box at TSA and raise your hands in the air like you just don’t care.
Enjoy that full body scan, boys. I’m on vacation!
Shoulder your way onto the airplane and squeeze into your tiny pitch of space. Whew… We made it!
Drop the tray table. Let’s drink! Let’s eat! Whatcha got?
Hold that thought…
The Diners: Got Milk?
Most passengers are pretty savvy about the whole air travel thing. Forward this to friends and family who aren’t. Please.
Everything an airplane has to offer is within your 30″ of seat pitch– the distance between your seat and the one in front of you.
Entertainment options, Food and menu selections, power outlets, a kangaroo seat pocket for all your stash, even a handy dining table.
A narrow body airplane has a single aisle running the length of the plane with up to 200 seats.
A wide body airplane has two aisles running the length of the plane with an average passenger load of 500.
Per the FAA, one flight attendant is required for every 50 passenger seats on a commercial plane.
Multiply these totals by 1 question: What do you have?
That question has been answered for you.
It was answered before you ever got up that morning.
It was definitely answered before the cart showed up next to your seat.
Don’t ask this question. You’ll get the look.
Don’t let your kids ask this question either. Especially if they (or you) have headphones on.
Find the menu within arm’s reach, look at all the pretty pictures. Aw, snap!
The kids have peanut allergies, the wife is gluten intolerant and Dad’s diabetic.
Oh hey wait, here’s something.
A fruit plate.
Wait, what? What do you mean, you’re out?!
No, we didn’t bring our own food.
No, we didn’t reserve food (you can, you know). What do we doooooo?
How about milk for the baby?
Wait, what? Who doesn’t have milk for a baby?
Gee, I don’t know parents. Who?
But I’m on vacation!
Sweetheart, I get it.
Like you, I’m intolerant of many things on the airplane. Diners and diapers is just one example.
I’m especially intolerant of any type of finger-pointing that paints me as the bad guy.
So a few things you should know before you show up on my flight:
We don’t have milk on board so consider it a bonus if we do; nor do we have diapers.
Yes, I know the ear pods we supply fall out of kids’ ears.
No, I don’t have ear-muff headphones for them.
No, they can’t listen without headphones because sound may not travel beyond your space and intrude on others.
We do however, have ear plugs.
Don’t threaten to die or pass out on me because I don’t have food for your intolerances, your allergies or your diabetic needs.
Honey, I don’t even have patience for your intolerances.
I hate to break it to you but all this is called “entitlement,” not vacation. I’m woefully close to diagnosing Millenialism here.
By all means, if you have special needs and by that I mean needs special to you, please accept responsibility for them and PACK them.
The world is not required to step up and fill in your blanks.
Even on vacation.
Which brings us to: Diapers
Given I felt the need to give Diapers its own billing, you might want to pay attention.
Most parents are savvy enough to bring everything on board for babies, kids and themselves.
Hooray! Thank you, responsible parties.
Now, some parents have no problem letting everyone know how responsible they are. Junior has an oops! and They Are On It.
Down comes that handy little dining table which hey! doubles nicely as a changing table.
Plop Junior on it, whip off the loaded diaper, swab with baby wipes, slap on the freshie, shove the soiled goods in the seat pocket.
We are good to go!
Except they just changed baby on your tray table because this happened on the previous flight.
And shoved the diaper in the seat pocket.
At the seat you’re now sitting in, on the tray table you’re eating on.
Has it been cleaned?
Um… Define cleaned.
If you’re disgusted, you should be. I am.
Oh, not with the airlines. We provide a perfectly good changing table in the lavatory.
This uber tacky, backwoods behavior has nothing to do with the airlines.
Everybody wanted the cheap tickets, remember?
Everybody wants on-time flights.
Cheap tickets and DOT on-time stats directly influence the airline’s ability to provide all those little luxury items time and money affords, like a full cleaning crew who sanitizes every tray table on an airplane.
And inflight blankets. Do you really think those were cleaned between every flight?
You ought to be glad we did away with those nasty germ-carriers. Bring a hoodie.
Today’s cleaning staff has been pared down to few frazzled folks who rush on in the 5 minutes they have before boarding commences.
Unless you’re on Southwest, then it’s the frazzled flight attendants who clean the cabin.
Why wasn’t the tray table cleaned during the flight?
Hopefully the parents did clean it. If I catch this behavior, believe me I shame and supervise clean up.
But the flight attendants are usually busy answering: What do you have?
And handling food. Your food.
You want them to clean a soiled tray table and pull a loaded diaper from your seat pocket?
Sure. Here’s your fruit plate.
What this all boils down to is, take responsibility for yourself because with a 1 to 50 ratio it ain’t likely the flight crew can.
If you generally chill easily, bring a jacket.
If you have special dietary needs, bring your own food.
But before you lay your spread across that tiny dining table, pull out those antibacterial wipes you brought and get busy with ’em.
It might look clean but looks can be deceiving.
Just like that smile we give when you ask: What do you have?