One could write a list of things that make flying very uncomfortable. Perhaps the individual things would vary in importance from person to person, but in all probability, one would find the same items on the TOP 10 lists of the majority of frequent flyers. These include delays, canceled flights, missed connections, narrow seats and rows, overstuffed luggage racks, neighbors with unpleasant “emissions,” lost luggage, restless toddlers and overbooked flights.
I was traveling to London and had to finish up preparing for an upcoming meeting. I sat down and began to think and work. The aircraft, as always in this kind of situation, was completely full. We took off and I was confident that I could do everything – and then a child somewhere nearby began to scream for dear life. Maybe his ears hurt, as children’s ears cannot manage to equalize pressure like those of adults. Maybe it was out of fear, because this could have been the child’s first flight, or maybe it was something else entirely. But the child’s voice was by no means a little one. I did not see the child when it boarded. His voice was powerful, shrill and very high. I couldn’t even think about working. I realized that if this noise were to last any longer, I would not be able to adequately prepare, and in all likelihood I would get off the plane with a booming headache. A wonderful condition to be in before a challenging meeting, which I was to lead and in which I was work out a sensible solution between warring parties.
I could understand the little one’s problems, but I asked myself, what about my needs? The little thing had endurance and even if the screams dissipated into sobs for a few minutes, it would always go back to screaming. I would have immediately paid extra, even double the price, if anyone had provided me an immediate solution. I wondered what kind of benefits an airline could offer me. Really, only getting from point A to point B in a safe and timely manner. Peace and quiet for work, relaxation, or any types of reasonably tolerable emissions are out of the question. But I certainly cannot be the only one who needs to work on the go. There is certainly a market for this!! And just as SBB offers the wonderful calm car, in which you’ll get angry looks just for sneezing, it should be possible to offer flights where peace is guaranteed. Small children should have to choose another time.
I thought that at some point the little thing would have to tire of all the screaming, fall asleep or stop. This was not to be. I even got the impression that the little thing was getting louder. My head was about to explode, and I came up with solutions in my mind which are not publishable, since one could afterwards accuse me of committing a premeditated crime.
Then the solution came to me. I had put my ear protection in my pocket after the last concert I had attended and I still had it with me. I took out two small earplugs and plugged them hastily into my ears. It was not perfect, because the noise still penetrated, but much, much better. I could start working. Because of this incident I never travel without my hearing protection.
But I would still be willing to pay a premium if you could eliminate certain things when flying!!
Bildquelle: Rainer Sturm / pixelio.de