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Mice Net : December 2008
Editor’s letter On the A380 you can still hear them scream! Brats… pint-sized brats… and parents with no brains… even more of them than usual thanks to the additional seating. Sure there’s more leg room, but there’s more seats – 399 in economy! And more kids! And more games for kids to play on their 10.6-inch screens that get them so wired when mum and dad FINALLY tell them to go to sleep they can’t do so. Visiting the first ITB Asia tradeshow in October I was unfortunately fortunate to head back home on a choc-a-block Singapore A380, courtesy of the show organisers. Flying economy I expected a few hours’ sleep so I could do a couple of the home things that I hadn’t been able to do because I’d been away. I was lucky if I got one. For the first three or four hours the seats were relatively comfortable. The food was okay, the service average. I had a window seat which is usually a good thing when you’re trying to catch a few Zs, except unlike other aircraft there was a gap between the seat and the side wall of the plane. No amount of stuffing pillows between my seat and the wall allowed me to rest my head on the wall. Not that that would’ve helped in any case because The Devil’s Child was right in front of me, hellbent on reaching the next level of whatever game he was playing. Somewhere in the early hours of the morning mum and dad thought it might be an idea if he got some sleep. But of course he couldn’t. And didn’t he make a song and dance about trying to. There were other real babies on the aircraft – it sounded like at least 120, although that might be an exaggeration. By real I mean under three, not like The Devil’s Child who was at least eight or nine. As a parent you understand that babies sleeping for an extended period of time anywhere other than their own bed is a tall order. And you accept that, even if the crying does go on, and on, and on. But kids who should know better, and parents who should know better, is downright frustrating. So here’s my suggestions… Those airlines that are still awaiting their A380s should consider an alternative configuration. You can have First Class, Business Class, Economy Class, and Family Class. Family Class is a section down the back, vacuum sealed in heavy-weight plastic where all children under a certain age are seated with their parents. A flying “cone of silence”. In Family Class The Devil’s Child on my flight could play video games to his heart’s content. They could serve him red cordial and high-preservative food for the duration of the flight and the only people who might give a damn would be his parents who might start wondering if sedation was legal in the country they were travelling towards. Perhaps an A380 Super Nanny could offer tips and advice en-route as well. I suspect people would pay a little bit more for their economy seat knowing that the little rascals would be out of mind, and out of earshot. And yes, if I was travelling with my kids, I’d be in there too. But believe it or not, there is an upside to all this… A recent newspaper report said senior bankers of some of the world’s better known banks are being ordered to fly economy on short-haul flights in an effort to cut costs. The poor things. If I wasn’t so damn tired I could even sympathise. But then again… I welcome your feedback, MANAGING EDITOR firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Gary Bender World Conference & Incentive Management • Ian Walsh G1 Productions • Linda Gaunt MEA • Rosemarie Sama Reed Travel Exhibitions • Annabel Davis Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre • Lynn Fairbrass Northern Territory Convention Bureau • Sharon Goldie MLC David Grant DGSE • Bryan Holliday ICMS Australasia Pty Ltd • Ruth Lilian • Ros McLeod Tour Hosts • Valerie Percival IBM Australia Limited Elizabeth Rich Agenda Pty Ltd NATIONAL ADVISORY BOARD Russell Bennett Staging Dimensions • Elizabeth Bindon-Bonney BT Create • Katie Clarke Congress West • Anna Guillan Voyages Hotels and Resorts • Suzanne Hart SHE • Peter Kinnane Off-Site Connections Event Management • David Hall David Hall & Associates • Sarah Markey-Hamm ICMS • Sarah Seddon Atlantic Group (V) • Anna Stewart Queensland Conventions & Incentives mice.net 1