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The One Thing You DON’T Want To See On An Airplane

“Mommy, these microphones don’t work!” my 3-year-old daughter exclaimed as she ripped off a pair of oversized airline-supplied headphones in disgust during our most recent flight to Hawaii.

Note to self: Pack kid-sized headphones for next airplane ride.

“Alvin and the Chipmunks” was the in-flight movie selection for this particular leg of our journey and my daughter couldn’t have been more thrilled.

“Hurry Mommy hurry!” she cried as I hastily tried to make adjustments to the plane’s complimentary (see: cheap) headphones. “I’m missing Theodore eat his waffles.”

“You can see Theodore eat his waffles right on the screen,” I replied.

“But, I can’t hear him burp,” she countered.

Note to self: Never argue with a 3-year-old.

After a few minor adjustments I returned the headphones to my daughter and she happily resumed watching the mischievous chipmunks launch their music career.

Happy to have a few minutes to myself I briefly shut my eyes (I had been up since 2 a.m. completing last minute packing), but as usual that didn’t last long.

“Mommy, Mommy, I just saw a mouse!”

It was my daughter again. Only this time not only was she shouting over the movie she was also clawing at my sweater and trying to scurry onto my lap.

“Honey, Alvin is a chipmunk not a mouse,” I groggily responded thinking that at 3 years old my daughter had simply got her rodents mixed up.

“No, I saw a real mouse,” she said very matter-of-factly.

“Where?” I cried.

Now I was the one scurrying.

“Down there.”

My daughter pointed to the metal strip on the floor of the plane next to her window seat.

A mouse? In an airplane? I have to admit the idea was not that far fetched given the stories I had read on the questionable cleaning practices of commercial aircrafts.

Still, I tried to reassure my daughter that it was unlikely that she had seen an actual mouse roaming the plane. In the end she remained on my lap where she ended up falling asleep and I kept my feet propped up on the empty chair in front of me… just in case.

THEN… I came home and found this story:

A few days ago an Atlantic Southeast Airlines flight was grounded because a mouse wanted a free ride to Atlanta.

This wasn’t Mickey wanting a lift to Florida. Airlines officials grounded the plane for more than five hours in Des Moines, Iowa after a flight attendant spotted the rodent prior to passengers boarding the 5:50 a.m. flight. According to news reports, about 30 passengers were kept waiting at the gate until the plane finally left about 11:30 a.m.

“The safety of our passengers is our number one priority,” an ASA spokeswoman told reporters. “Our maintenance team was called. They inspected the aircraft, which is why it was delayed.”

Interestingly, the airlines spokesperson would not confirm whether the mouse was removed before the plane took off, but she said a safety inspection was completed to ensure the mouse hadn’t gnawed through anything that could cause safety issues.

Can you imagine your flight being delayed nearly six hours because a four-legged critter boarded before you did?

So let that be a lesson to all of you parents flying with 3 year olds… don’t argue with them… especially if yours has excellent vision like mine.

Traveling with children in the near future? Check out these blogs for helpful tips on making your next flight a smooth one:

More Must-Have Items to Pack When Traveling with Children

Have Duck Will Travel

Traveling With Children-Learn From My Mistakes

Flying with Children: Layover or Not?

Tips To Remember When Traveling With Children

Flying With An Infant

Avoiding A Bumpy Flight

Even More Tips To Remember When You Travel With Kids

More Tips To Remember When You Travel With Kids

Traveling With Young Children: More Dos and Don’ts

Traveling With Young Children: Dos and Don’ts

In Flight Diaper Changing Etiquette

Are Airlines Becoming More Family Friendly?

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About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.