The wailing has stopped.
Airline passengers will be allowed to have their blankets now.
In the aftermath of a terrorist attempt to bring down an airline traveling from Amsterdam to Detroit, new rules were immediately put into place — restrictions that smothered any attempt to be comfy.
Cranky passengers — chilled to the bone in their bare feet and underwear — found themselves standing in security lines that stretched to the moon. Even after they passed through metal detectors — much to the embarrassment of screeners — folks found no warm welcome on board the plane.
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Traditional airline blankets were banned, and it wouldn’t have surprised me to see parents of toddlers engaged in a “blankee” tug-of-war.
Airline attendants forced to listen to adults whine about withheld amenities was bad enough, but can you imagine a child not having their “blanky,” “banky,” or “wubby”?
Unfortunately, I can. And if you think a madman is a terror on a flight, just wait until a little one is without their security blanket.
We experienced such a crisis back in the day when you could actually walk onto an airplane fully dressed. It was Christmas 1975 and our young family had changed planes in a connecting airport.
Buckled securely, we waited for the final passengers to be seated. Music played quietly in the background.
“Mommy!” our daughter Tiffany, age 2 1/2, exclaimed. “Where my blankee? ”
I searched the carry-on tucked under the seat. No blanket.
“Bill!” I frantically called across the aisle where my husband sat with Traci, age 5. “Do you have Tiffany’s blanket?”
He shook his head. And that’s when the wailing began.
Once I calmed down enough to capture the flight attendant’s attention, she heroically ran back into the waiting area to search while the engines hummed. When the cabin door finally closed, “blankee” wasn’t on board.
It was a painful flight for everyone listening to the sobs of a distraught little girl. But I’ll never forget the attendants’ kindness, both for holding the flight while a frantic search ensued and their subsequent efforts to console.
Today, airline crews are overworked and faced with challenges unheard of more than 35 years ago. Yet, they continue to smile.
And as we head into 2010, it’s comforting to know we’ll once again be offered traditional amenities on board.
These days, we all can use a security blanket.