DH and I just got back from a "child-free weekend" in New York. We had a really great time, though I could write a whole post on some of the behavior there (like calling anybody who stopped to look at the Rockefellar tree a bunch of "f-ing rubes" and telling us to go back to Iowa. I'm from Kentucky, thank you.) but I thought I'd start with the the least helpful air stewards I have ever seen.
So we're flying home and one of the last people to board the plane is a frazzled looking mom with a 18-month-old little boy. She was all by herself. She obviously had a terrible cold and the kid was coughing like crazy, big hacking coughs that you could tell were one second away from bringing something up. She was trying to carry both of their carry ons and him. No one made a move to help her, all the attendants did was remind her that the plane was taking off in three minutes and she had to get settled.
People are glaring at her as she passes, as if "How dare your baby cough and cry, you're disturbing me!" Just as she's about to sit down (across the aisle from us), the baby throws up down the front of her shirt. The lady who was assigned to sit next to her jumps up and says she can't sit there. The attendants start yelling that the plane is taxiing and she HAS TO SIT DOWN. Without making any move to help her clean up or get the baby comfortable. I start grabbing airsick bags. DH whips out the giant pack of wet wipes we always travel with. (Yep, we roll like that) I grab a blanket stuck between the seats ahead of us. We had Mom and kid reasonably clean and comfy in about two minutes, with the attendants now screaming at us to SIT DOWN.
The Mom said the kid was fine until about 20 minutes before take-off, but he had gotten upset at the change in routine. Even though the kid threw up several more times, the airline staff made no attempt to help her or offer her anything to make her or the baby more comfortable. In fact, one attendant chastised us for standing after she had told Mom to sit down and told us it could be considered violation of some air safety law. DH had had just about enough at this point said that he agreed that we had stood up after being told not to. He apologized if we caused any problems, then told her to go ahead and charge us if she thought that was best. And that we would writing the airline a nice long letter explaining exactly what happened on the plane and how unhelpful, apathetic and rude the staff had been on this flight.
I understand that the airline attendants have a very difficult job. I can't imagine having to deal with all the travel, the physical demands, the different passenger personalities. I know this Mom made us a little bit late for takeoff, but she needed assistance. She was just grateful to have people offer her any help and talk to her and tell her every parent goes through something like this. And not glare and act like she was some sort of leper.