Belfast Telegraph

Do parents really deserve quick queues at airports and fast-track supermarket checkouts just because they've kids?

By Lindy McDowell

Given the seriousness of so many of the stories making the headlines this week, the difficulties encountered by singer Paloma Faith as she passed through security at Gatwick Airport pale a bit by comparison.

Ms Faith was driven to tweet that Gatwick was "the worst that ever existed". Which when you think about it is a pretty comprehensive claim.

I take it she's never been to Luton?

Paloma's ire was stoked by what she felt was inadequate provision for those like herself travelling through security with young children.

In response to the Gatwick PR team's question about what had annoyed her and how they could best fix it, she tweeted: "You can make it so people with children are in the fastest queue not the slowest one! And let us use our epassports... so many tired, upset kids."

It's a fair point. Shepherd the little ones through quickly and thus help avoid infant tantrums which don't exactly enhance the flying experience for other travellers within earshot.

That said, however, if you've got bad knees or a sore back and you're been standing in a long queue, you might have good reason to feel a bit piqued watching two agile adults being fast-tracked to the front solely on account of the eight-year-old child they're with.

As with most things in life, some degree of common sense should surely come into play.

So how do you regulate such a system? Let all travellers with children under the age of 10 jump the queue? How's that going to work?

I'm old enough to remember the time when having a small child or small children didn't make you a special case. You just got on with it. You didn't assume the world should have to treat you with kid gloves.

I'm not saying that other travellers shouldn't make a bit of allowance for children on public transport. It doesn't hurt any of us to be a little more considerate and understanding to our fellow (junior) passengers. To ease up on the tut-tutting when some infant throws a strop. No wonder so many parents get stressed.

But there's a difference between turning a blind eye to the odd juvenile meltdown and having to endure a four-hour flight with an underage passenger kicking the back of your seat for the entire duration - while his mother cheerfully let's him get on with it without a single word of censure.

After all, he's a paying passenger too. He's entitled. Bless his little heart. And that sense of entitlement seems to grow by the day.

Take parent and child parking spaces ...

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Paloma Faith

Which as it turns out a lot of drivers, who do not have a kid in tow, very often use.

Yet according to a new survey (carried out for a car parking firm) over 60% of motorists say that those taking up a parent and child parking space when they don't have a young'un in the car, should be fined.

But why should parents with children automatically qualify for parking preference?

The argument is that they need more space for buggies. And being closer to the store front makes it safer for the little ones. Nobody wants to needlessly endanger small children. But that's why you keep a tight grip on them. And teach them road safety rules. Priority parking is just a sop. It's not actually a necessity.

The general line regarding age limits applicable for what some stores call these 'mother and baby' parking places is that they can be used by parents with children up to the age of 12.

Some 'babies'. They're on the cusp of their teens.

This is farcical, isn't it? And if we're going to have special provision for parents with children outside in the car park, how long before it's required in store as well with fast-tracking through the checkouts for anybody with a sprog?

Stand aside. I've got a child, me.

I'm entitled.

Paul's devastated for cooking up Nazi storm

What makes a grown man dress up as an SS officer - for a laugh? Latest to apologise for fancy dressing up in swastikas (see also Prince Harry) is Bake Off's Paul Hollywood who, back before he found fame with soggy bottom innuendo, posed in full Third Reich regalia. Now the pics have resurfaced, he's mortified and remorseful.

"I am absolutely devastated if this has caused offence to anyone," Paul says. "If" being the keyword. "If" suggests there may be room for doubt. Perhaps no-one has been offended at all.

If they have, of course, Paul's devastated. Absolutely.

Weather blame game goes right to the top

In the wake of Hurricane Irma, the Pope has had a pop at Donald Trump. History, he says, will judge the climate change deniers.

"All of us have a responsibility," adds Pope Francis. "All of us, small or large, a moral responsibility... Each person has their own. Even politicians have their own."

That's you in your box then, Donald. But in terms of ultimate responsibility for the weather, I thought religious teaching was that the buck stopped on a much higher plane than with the Oval Office.

With the Pope's own boss, in fact.

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