Q: I have to take a red-eye flight from LA to New York next week, then go directly from the airport to a meeting. I do not, generally, sleep well on planes. If I find myself seated next to a baby, would it be rude for me to ask to change seats, even if the baby’s not crying?
A: If the plane’s not full, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. But if the plane is full, I’m not sure you should expect special treatment. Who’s to say you need a quiet seat more than another passenger?
But you need to be realistic. Just because you’re not sitting next to the baby doesn’t mean you’ll be out of earshot of the baby’s cries. (For such cute little things, some of them can really holler.) Or they might reseat you next to someone who snores loudly, or someone who spends the whole flight tapping their fingers on the armrest, etc. Bring noise-canceling earphones, the best earplugs you can buy, and hope for the best, but know that when you take the red eye, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to sleep.
Q: I have a seven-year-old and a two-year-old. My husband and I are taking the kids to an amusement park that does “baby swaps” on rides little kids can’t go on. (You wait in line as a group, and when you reach the front, one adult rides while the other watches the baby. Then the parents switch places, allowing the second parent to ride without going through the whole line again.) On some rides, though, my seven-year-old meets the height requirement. Can she ride twice—once with my husband and once with me? Or is she expected to only ride once and then wait while the second adult rides alone?
A: Usually your seven-year-old can ride twice. Different parks have different rules, though, so the best thing to do is ask. Tell a ride attendant that you want to do a “baby swap” and they’ll tell you how it works.
Q: Please, please, please tell tourists visiting New York City not to stand in the middle of the sidewalk and gawk at a building. I think the Chrysler Building is beautiful, too, but this is New York. The sidewalks are crowded. Please don’t come to a dead stop and get in everybody’s way. And also, don’t expect dozens of people to stand still on the sidewalk for five minutes or squeeze around you while you take pictures of your friends with the Chrysler Building in the background.
A: Couldn’t have said it better myself. The only thing I’ll add is that this applies to any busy sidewalk, not just those in New York City.
by Lesley Carlin
© 2011, originally published by Scripps Howard News Service