Remarkably, this “Practical Traveler” story offers absolutely no travel tips. What it does offer is yet another airing of the trivial concerns and gripes of privileged people, which is the New York Times’ specialty. The cruel injustice this time is the fact that several airlines require young teens, under 16, to (gasp!) be classified as unaccompanied minors. The best comment on this story, by Shannon of Chicago, is below:
Air travel is full of inconvenient and sometimes embarrassing regulations. We all have to deal with them. In the guise of treating her teens as more mature, Conlin is actually coddling them by swooping in to fix things for her kids when they whine.
This essay is illustrative of the subtle ways parents of a certain class reproduce an understanding that some people are better than others and shouldn’t have to bear the inconveniences that come with being human in a complex society.
She’s raising people who gun their sports cars to the front of the backed up traffic and force their way into the head of the line.
An adult knows how to handle a few moments of discomfort, whether boredom, embarrassment or the company of an unpleasant stranger. If her children are ever-so mature, they should know how to be respectful and pleasant, making a situation they don’t enjoy a bit better instead of worse.
Much more eloquent than what I would have written: Shut up, lady, and be glad you have enough money to pay for a flight to summer camp. My summer activities growing up were pretty much limited to things within driving distance.