I was flying to San Francisco and had an aisle seat. Next to me (in the middle seat) was a little boy of 6-years-old. The man next to him at the window seat wasn't his dad.
When I located his dad (in the row behind us), I had assumed that they had been booked on the flight in the only seats available. The other gentleman and I in the row asked if the dad wanted to switch with one of us. But he declined. He said that he and his wife wanted to let their children experience the responsibility of what it was like to fly alone. (His wife was in the opposite side of the aisle from me with her daughter seated in the row in front of her between two strangers.)
While I can appreciate wanting your children to have more responsibility, the little boy seated next to me was not ready for this. He was six. So, he needed help with his iPad, ordering a drink, opening the free cookie snack, understanding the turbulence and...everything else. The other gentleman in the row and I helped him, but I wanted to reach into the row behind me and smack some sense into the little boy's dad.
As a parent, I understand that flying with your children is hard. There is more luggage, more planning, a bigger need to stay flexible and (probably) more tears. A lot of other travelers are not nice about it (one study found that 52% of people believe that parents should have their own section of the plane). But why make traveling with children even harder by not sitting with them?
For the record, the little boy was very polite and well behaved and listened to me when I asked him to stop kicking the seat in front of him. But he was six. And he needed help. He needed to travel with his parents.
What's your secret to traveling with children? Tell me in the comments.