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If you’re looking for something to do with the kiddos that’s a little more exciting that the checking out the Santa Claus
imposter helper at the local mall—we’ve got an idea. An exhibit, "Merry Grinchmas! The Art of Dr. Seuss," is now doing its thing at the Children’s Museum of Houston. It’s one way to get into the holiday spirit, and we’re thinking it might just get a smile out of both the little kids and the big kids.
Things run through January 23, as visitors are welcome to check out the life, times, and artwork of Theodor Geisel—aka Dr. Seuss. Original artifacts, drawings, paintings, and a few reproductions will all be on display to show off over 70 years of creativity and color. The museum promises to show off some rare images from times between the 1920s and 1990s, and they’re saying its stuff most have never even seen before.
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Even in the middle of our Family Travel Week, it seems like some airlines are going the opposite direction of catering for the littlest flyers. Exiling children in the air started with Malaysia Airlines and then AirAsia, when both of the carries announced they will create a section of their long-haul aircraft specifically designed for travelers that choose not to be around children; in Malaysia's case, they've even banned children from flying in the first class cabins. Now, the newest child-free zone comes from Scoot.
Singapore's favorite canary yellow low-cost carrier is now reserving a portion of the economy cabin for those traveling without children. The ScootinSilence cabin has banned under-12s from sitting in rows 21 to 25 to make room for passengers coughing up $18 SGD (about $14 US) to have the privilege of sharing an armrest with someone closer their age.
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We can't ignore the fact that we see more and more children becoming frequent flyers nowadays. 2013 is the year for British Airways to cater to their smallest flyers with the addition of expanded kid-friendly products and services.
As much as we would rather not travel with children, it's inevitable and it makes sense for an major airline like BA to take the energy to ensure the youngest frequent flyers are taken care of and comfy both in the air and on the ground. Realistically, these young flyers will grow up and become full-fledged customers with their own spending power.
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"Should children be relegated to the back of the plane?" asks SFGate's The Mommy Files, to which we respond, "what, are we suddenly not allowed to strap the things to wings?" (we kid; obviously we don't advocate tying your baby below the far jet engine so that no one can hear its screaming temper tantrum, which probably wouldn't even be happening if you had raised it properly; how will the flight attendant bring the precious little crotch-snowflake its precious little orange juice if it isn't even inside the cabin?)
The issue is relevant again because AirAsia just announced that it's banning children from the first seven rows of long-haul flights, creating a Quiet Zone that travelers will be able to opt into by paying AirAsia's standard seat selection fee.
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It is an iron-clad rule in the airline industry that whatever Congress touches, it breaks. The best example is the tarmac delay law, which went from being predictably disastrous to being actually disastrous, and which Congress - at the behest of the shrill busybodies from Flyers Rights - tried to expand and make into permanent law. But let's not forget the U.S. government's plan to fine foreign tourists in order to increase tourism, which was actually a plan to fine foreign tourists so Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada could use their money to promote "Vegas-style tourism."
And let's also not forget Congress's repeated forays into a wide array of airline policies that they don't quite understand but that they're more than happy to bluster about: baggage fee structures, safety regulations, opaque fees, etc.
And so we come to today's Congressional brainstorm. It's being doneof courseFor The Children.
As we have repeatedly confirmed and often mention, and with the exception of the "overweight passengers in seats" screaming match, there is absolutely nothing that gets travelers riled up like the "kids on airplanes" debate.
Of the many reasons we have an entire travel with children category, there's the plain fact that everyone has an opinionand almost always a strong oneabout the controversy. Either you have to do it and you don't understand why people won't make allowances for you and your children, or you loathe traveler parents and can't stand the little crotch flowers they drag along with them. There are enough people in the latter group that Malaysia Airlines has evaluated the market and started banning children from huge sections of their airplanes.
Everyone's been next to the screaming child on the airplane. Your blood pressure instantly shoots up, and it doesn't take very long before you sincerely start to believe that travel with children on flights should be banned by law. The parents are almost always mortified, which somehow makes the entire spectacle even more annoying because in a very precise way it's all their fault, so what are they doing getting annoyed?
There was an incident a few years ago when Allegiant Air removed an entire family from a flight (parents and kids) because the parents couldn't or wouldn't get their adorable little angels under control. There's a reason why some people are calling for banishing kids to the back of airplanes.
Fast forward to last month in Vietnam, when an obviously harried womanaccompanying an tantrum-throwing childjust could not wait any longer to get off her Vietnam Airlines airplane. The flight was over and she had simply had enough. So she asked the man next to her, 29-year-old Le Van Thuan, to pop the emergency door and release the slide. And, because this story is awesome, that's exactly what he did.
Last year it took us until the end of January to open nominations for the stupidest traveler of the year. But now that we're living in the future, here in 2012, everything moves faster.
It's the first week of the new year and already there are stories of travelers whoif they aren't straightforwardly blistering idiotsstart off at least as idiot-adjacent. But then at the end there's a punchline that literally causes our blood pressure to spike, and that crosses the line into incandescently stupid.
The Fickes family of North Carolina has quite the broode. There are the two parents, Kathy and Jason Fickes. Then there's their 3-year old son. Then there are their 18-month old twins. Then there's their eight-month old baby. All six of the Fickes were traveling to Chicago to visit grandparents over Christmas. So far so good. The problem enters inasmuch as they tried to fit the entire family into a single row in coach on a US Airways flight.
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Traveling with children can sometimes be a pain, but Delta’s got a new idea that might make things a little better. For right now it’s only for unaccompanied minors traveling without Mom or Dad, but maybe eventually it’ll be open for all the little ones to swing by and blow off some steam.
The Delta Sky Zone is open in Atlanta on Concourses, B, C, and E, and it’s available to those little ones connecting all by themselves—or with a little help from Delta employees. Inside, kids have access to brand new furniture to bounce all over, XBOX 360s, and unfortunately some kind of educational materials. We’re thinking that there’s got to be some soda and chips thrown in their too, or at least a little tap water. Video games during a layover would definitely make us thirsty!
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Get your little plastic pieces ready, as it's finally almost time to hit new world's newest Legoland just outside of Orlando. It's not just any old land dedicated to Legos either, as this place is going to be the biggestas in 150 acresLegoland in the world. As you might remember the place was kind of Cypress Gardens for many many years, but on October 15 it will be officially transformed into a shrine of all things Lego.
It's park number five around the world for the Lego empire, as there's already a park in California along with options in Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In total there's going to be around 50 new rides, shows, and attractions, so there will be more to see than just crazy-nuts Lego creations. Although, we're pretty sure there's going to plenty of those too.
We’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of all things Lego to Florida, but now it seems like we might want to turn our attention elsewhere around the globe. The plastic pieces are on the move, and it looks like Malaysia might be welcoming the first Legoland in Asia sometime in 2012.
Apparently bulldozers have already been hard at work clearing around 75 acres or so for the new park, and its 40 plus rides and attractions that will make up the new Legoland Malaysia. This will be the sixth land devoted to Legos worldwide, so if you’ve already been to the other five, you better start planning your trip to hit up the latest and the greatest. There’s over 30 million plastic pieces to assemble, so you’ve still got a little bit of time to find a decent flight.
It's small, but very notable: US passport forms for children have been changed in order to accommodate families with two dads or two moms, by changing the "mother" and "father" headings to include "parent 1" and "parent 2." The new forms became available January 3, meaning 2011 begins just another governmental agency's acceptance (the Department of State, in this case) of same-sex couples. They may not be able to get married yet in all states, but being able to sign on as official parents of their children is a major step.
The Global Cocktails blog has quotes from the Family Equality Council in appreciation: