Today (or rather this evening as it is 18:30 now), you find me in the Heathrow terminal lounge waiting to catch a flight to the International Aviation Safety Seminar in Santiago. To my right sit Ann, Belle and Chloe (names changed for de-identification). These are three particularly annoying little 8 to 10 year old girls who are flying out on holiday with their parents.
Having sat here for half an hour, I can state that their behaviour is appalling. However, as a flight safety professional I will do all in my power to ensure they can continue to annoy fellow travellers throughout the flight until they arrive safely at their destination, wherever that may be.
So what is my reaction? As the father of two splendid, and now adult, boys, I am dismayed by their parents’ indifference.
This is, if you like, the aviation safety equivalent of Voltaire’s defence of the freedom of speech “I disagree strongly with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
I truly hope that this family reach their destination safely and enjoy their holiday. Equally, I hope the parents improve the behaviour of their children or that I never meet them again.
Only by working in flight safety can we hope to make the first come true. The second is their parents’ responsibility, and the third is in the hands of fate!