Grumbles from Grandma

Related Posts with ThumbnailsBubby, ready for take-off.Not long ago I wrote a Dear John letter to Southwest Airlines. At the time, I had no idea I'd have one final fling with them, as Bubby and I ended up having our impromptu adventure before Allegiant Air starts its service between the mountains and the desert.

Unfortunately, I have three complaints about our final trip on Southwest. The first complaint, though, has absolutely nothing to do with Southwest.

Because Bubby is now two-years-old, he gets (not for free, by any means!) his own seat on an airplane. But airplane seats are not made for 30-pound passengers, so I had to lug Bubby's carseat along with, throughout the airport, so he'd have a safe spot to sit on the plane. Megan and Preston have two carseats that certainly would have worked, but they seemed bulky and heavy and because plans were already in the works to get a third seat so Gigi -- his paternal great-grandma who gets to babysit Bubby each Friday -- would have a designated seat for her, Megan decided to just buy it for me to use a lighter version for the adventure.

So Megan and I searched and scanned and compared stats of several boxes at the store, deciding upon an Evenflo seat. We get back to the house and remove it from the box, happy as clams that this would be easier for me and a special "plane seat" for Bubby.

Our happiness vanished the very instant we saw on the manual inside the box that this particular seat was "Not Approved For Aircraft Use."

WHAT? They couldn't put that on the box? One simple line amidst the kajillion other lines of text on the three-feet-tall by two-feet-wide box? I was livid. Megan was livid. Preston said "Take it back."

But time was of the essence so we didn't take it back. The seat would work for Gigi, so I just prepared to lug the heavier -- aircraft approved! -- version from Preston's car on the flight. Then I immediately e-mailed a scathing complaint to Evenflo, cussing about the inconvenience that could have been avoided with one simple line of text on the box, the line of text they underhandedly included only in the manual inside the box. How many people actually read those cuss instruction manuals anyway?

That's complaint No. 1.

Complaint No. 2 is directed at Southwest Airlines ... although I bet it applies to each and every airline out there.

As mentioned above, a carseat is necessary for little ones who must have their own purchased seat on a plane but aren't provided proper safety in that seat by the airline. (Can you imagine if we all -- each and every adult passenger -- had to provide our own seatbelts for flights? It's pretty much the same thing!)

Anyway ... So I lugged the seat through the airport and onto the plane. With little to no assistance from the flight attendants, I got the seat positioned in a window seat. (Being told "You do know that must go in a window seat?" is, in fact, the only help I did get from the flight attendant on the first leg of the trip.) Yes, I had it in place near the window; it needed only to be buckled in, tight as can be. But the cussing belt to be used to secure the seat latches On. The. Window. Side! And the seat makes it Nearly. Impossible. To. See. Much. Less. SECURE. The. Belt!


I struggled with the cuss belt and the cussing seat for as many minutes as I had before a charming passenger needed to sit in the third seat of the row with me and Bubby. I got it fastened -- but surely not as tightly as I would have liked. There was a little give, and I just crossed my fingers turbulence would be minimal.

(And I lied a little when the attendant smashed shut all the upper bins and as she passed asked me, "Is that fastened securely?" I wanted to snarl "Uh, no, cuss! Since none of you would help me out, I'm pretty darn sure my precious grandson will be smacking the ceiling if there's a bump of even middling magnitude!" But I didn't. I just nodded. I figure it's not a lie if I didn't verbalize the response.)

Anyway, this complaint isn't about the lack of assistance, it's about the lack of functional carseat latches in the airplane. I understand -- although don't get why -- the airlines don't supply carseats for kids under a certain weight limit. But why the cuss can't they provide some latches on the wall? Or on the back of the seat? Or somewhere so the securing of self-provided seats is actually secure? And possible. And relatively simple. And not requiring the parent or grandparent to scrunch into contortions even Flat Stanley couldn't manage?

A simple hook similar to those required in automobiles for attaching car seats is all it would take. That's all I ask.

Well, that and a line of text on the Evenflo boxes.

GAH, again!

Complaint No. 3? Well, I've already gone past my self-imposed word limit here, so I won't bore you further with details of the third complaint. Suffice it to say it had to do with the airlines requiring, no, demanding that a certified copy of Bubby's birth certificate accompany his boarding pass as identification in order for him to fly. Yet not a single person -- anywhere, any time, any leg of the flight -- so much as glanced at the birth certificate when we checked in or went through security or boarded the plane. Except one young security guy who said "You should put that away for safe-keeping, ma'am" like I'm an idiot who flashes my grandson's birth certificate as often as I do his latest photo in my brag book.

Sheesh! I could have been kidnapping the kid, for all they knew.

Although ... airline personnel probably know darn well that no kidnapper is actually nuts enough to voluntarily take a toddler on an airplane.

Mostly because the kidnapper surely would never be able to figure out how to cussing secure the toddler's carseat in place in the cuss window seat!

Today's question:

What's your biggest complaint about air travel?