The Super-Friendly Skies

“You look like you could use some help.”

I didn’t think we looked particularly clueless, but the female flight attendant evidently thought otherwise.

We were standing in one of the last rows near the back of the plane, expeditiously performing some typical pre-flight air travel tasks: putting down our three toddlers, stuffing the overhead bins, taking wipes and baby food out of backpacks, all while keeping the aisle free, the kids busy and their noise level acceptable.

I presume that had we been a traditional male-and-female couple, no one would have noticed us. But two men traveling with three small children do attract a good deal of attention.

As soon as the flight attendant had identified us as gays with kids, she scurried down the aisle and offered the aforementioned help. Not waiting for a response, she picked up Levi, our then 3-year-old, and decamped with him to the galley. From time to time a few of her words drifted our way: “So handsome! And a dimple!” She didn’t permanently bring him back until a few minutes before landing.

Meanwhile, another flight attendant had already begun entertaining our daughters. She brought cookies. Vegetable chips. Coloring books. Airplane pins. Almonds. Wine for us. She peppered us with questions. “How long have you guys been together? How long have you had them? They are twins?”

Twenty years ago, it was the male flight attendant who would give us a bottle of Champagne and sneak us into business class. This time around, it was the women who showed interest. The plane only half full, the all-female crew lavished attention on our brood and us the entire flight.

Sometimes we do like a little discrimination.

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