Recently we had an unsettling airport experience at Phuket, mainly because all passengers had to get both their hand luggage and their suitcases searched. I was nervous because I had bought some “valium” from a pharmacy on Bangala Road and tossed it inside an empty vitamin bottle which now lay at the bottom of my suitcase. I hefted my bag up onto the counter and unzipped it, trying to act casual.“You have firework?” the Thai man said, patting my dirty underpants and wet swimmers.
“Have a nice fliiiiiiiiight.”
In addition to the luggage search, we were subjected to four security checkpoints, where at each one I was forced to throw out all the bottled water I had purchased since the previous check. By the time we boarded the plane, I had thrown away seven fully-sealed bottles of water and I was pretty pissed. Ryan had paid for all the water, so he was a little more pissed.
A few rows ahead of us, a young blonde woman fussed around her bags as her husband held their 6-month old baby, who immediately burst into tears. In any other situation, people would tsk tsk affectionately and smile sympathetically at the couple. “Babies will be babies!” you would tell them. But on a plane, the mood is different. To carry a crying baby onto an international flight is the fastest way to make 300+ people passionately hate you. There were several babies on this flight, and they were all beginning to wail.
“Ughhhhhhh,” I moaned, rifling through my backpack for a pair of ear plugs.
“They’re like dogs,” the man beside me observed, “As soon as one starts howlin’, they just set off all the other fuckers.”
“Why doesn’t she put it in the overhead locker?” Ryan said.
For the next nine and a half hours, the blonde lady paced up and down the aisle while her baby screamed. Every time I nodded off, she would pass our row and wake me up. I began to fantasise, unashamedly, about ways to kill the baby.
By the time we reached Sydney, the mother looked as though she had experienced the longest nine hours of her life. Again, under normal circumstances, I would have felt sorry for her. But I didn’t. Because thanks to her, I had now been awake for two days. And also, because even though I don’t have children, I can give totally advice on how to travel with them.
Tips on how to travel with a baby
1. Don’t take it on a plane
Just don’t. At least not on an overnight flight. Babies don’t like planes. They will probably cry when they are forced to get on one. That tiny person who has no inhibitions, isn’t toilet trained, can’t equalise their ears, and is probably terrified because they don’t understand what the hell is going on? Just take them on a road trip this year, because when you get on a plane with them, everybody hates you. So you don’t get to go to Fiji this year, tough shit. The baby won’t know the difference between a trip to Fiji and a cardboard box. Plus, it’ll probably be more fun for you in a few years time once the kid is a less of a fucking nightmare to travel with.
I’ve spoken to several okay-seeming mothers who have doped their babies on flights and so far none of them have stutters or eat cat biscuits. Not only will sedating your child spare all the other passengers from nine hours of torture, but the kid will get a good buzz out of it too.
If you ignore number 1 and 2, and your baby is upset about being on the plane (which is likely, as explained in number 1), just go sit in the toilet. Sure, it’s probably not the most pleasant place to spend a flight, but your baby is clearly already hating everything about this experience. What’s it going to do, cry?
If you’re a parent, you’re probably reading this and getting all bent out of shape because I don’t have kids. You probably think that bringing a baby on a plane is fine, maybe it even adds a bit of excitement to an otherwise uneventful ten hours. But you have crossed over. Try to cast your mind back to before you had a kid and gave up on personal comfort. And if you absolutely must fly with a baby, make it a day-time flight. That way, even though you’re still annoying the shit out of everyone, they were probably going to be awake anyway. Getting on a 10pm international flight with a shrieking baby means you are really going to fuck up everyone for the next two days. We know it’s not fun for you either, but you are better equipped to deal with the sleep deprivation and noise torture, because you love your child. Nobody else does.