Standing up for family travelers
We family travelers have to stick together. That’s why I get outraged when haters lambaste us for bringing kids on planes. It’s why I wig out when people (usually people without kids) try to convince me that my children won’t remember anything about the trips we take until they’re at least 5.
It’s also why I support other family travel writers when they speak out against some of the idiocy others throw at globetrotting families around the world.
Naturally, then, I was happy to rally behind this recent blog post from writer, Zach Everson.
In the post, Everson (whom I’ve never met IRL) calls out #CarryOnShame, a hate-filled campaign about which I’ve ranted previously. In a nutshell, at least on paper, this hashtag was devised by a well-known newspaper editor as a way to shame airlines for not enforcing their own policies regarding carry-on luggage. The reality: Most of the shamers actually end up shaming other travelers.
To prove this ignominy, Everson essentially punked Spud Hilton, the man behind this shameful exercise in bad behavior.
A little while back, Everson Instagrammed a picture of a purported violator and tagged it with Hilton’s hashtag of hate. Earlier this month, Hilton included the photo with a clickbaiting roundup on the San Francisco Chronicle’s travel blog, adding some directed mockery of his own.
That mockery, of course, represented a smoking gun in Everson’s case against #CarryonShame. Among other things, Hilton poked fun of a “woman” who actually was Everson (a male human), and condescendingly snarked about a) the number of bags Everson was holding and b) a Hello Kitty design on one of the pieces.
Everson used these missteps to make two incredibly valid points concerning carry-on items and family travelers: 1) For us family travelers, it is common to have one parent bear the brunt of luggage-lugging, and 2) When we families purchase seats for each kid, we are entitled to bring along one carry-on and one personal item PER TRAVELER, just like everyone else on the plane.
(Also incredibly helpful was Everson’s link to a Consumer Reports piece about carry-on restrictions, and how some airlines exempt kid-related items such as medical equipment, diaper bags, and food.)
I won’t summarize the entirety of Everson’s piece here; I encourage you to click through and read it for yourself. Bottom line: It was brilliant. It railed on behalf of all family travelers. And it proved the hypocrisy, stupidity, and venom of this ill-conceived effort to make others look dumb.
I encourage you to fight this mean-spirited #CarryonShame campaign, and see shaming in general for the passive-aggressive hatemongering it is. I also encourage you to take positive and constructive action when you see carry-on violators. Quietly ask gate agents to enforce airline policies. Write letters to airlines about specific violations you’ve witnessed. This is the way to respect others and engineer change. Anything else is just trolling for attention.