Have you ever noticed on an airplane that all it takes is one toddler howling or one baby crying to trigger off an epidemic of uncontrolled weepiness in all those under 5 on the plane?
Now remember this is Air Mobility Command with a contract carrier flying an MD11. 178 seats were released to those of us waiting in the terminal. And I had spotted a lot of families waiting for the flight. Unlike the military aircraft, these have real seats, cabin attendants and the standard 3-4-3 seat configuration. The military as a whole is a fairly young group of people which means that more often than not, they are in possession of babies, children, diaper bags, car seats and a load of toys. Whatever – the end result is that at minimum more than 10% of the passengers I saw were of the small and squirming kind. Especially now that school is back in session, there are fewer older children present unless a PCS (permanent change of station) is involved. Also a factor for families traveling is that the military allows 2 bags (up to 70# each) per passenger rather than the measly amount included with your ticket on commercial carriers.
What I also remembered is that the military also now lets families who are stationed overseas travel without their sponsor if that person is deployed for 120 days or more, increasing the likelihood of small critters on the plane.
There were crying babies on this flight. A lot of crying babies who still were not able to drown out the screaming toddler a row over from me who was not pleased about either her baby sister (age 4 months) or the fact that her mother expected her to stay in her seat with the belt fashioned. It was almost hysterically funny when the three year old in the seat in front of her stood up, looked over the back of the seat and informed her that she should “shut her mouth and stop making so much noise so that she coud color.”
I will give kudo’s to the staff. They had toys, coloring books, crayons, extra plastic bags for diapers and lots of kids snacks. One of the cabin attendants said that this was normal for this flight.
I had given up my window seat to one of the youngsters who really wanted to see out. I would have liked to take pictures, but having three seats in the center and being able to nap was probably not a bad trade at all (especially considering the screamer who would have been directly behind me).
There are three flights back a week directly to Ramstein from BWI- will have to see how it goes. The other option seems to be McGuire or Charleston….
BTW – The Ramstein people are lovely. Even when you get all the way through security, are sitting the in gate area and suddenly realize that you have to move the car. There is long term parking, and then there is the 4 hour lot. It doesn’t pay to leave your car in the 4 hour lot if you are going to be gone for a few days, you just might not find it where you left it. Nice kind little airman went out with me, directed me to the proper parking and got me back through security in time to get on the plane….