Dear Abby: I am a frequent international traveler with a problem. I always pack food for myself to take onboard. My trips are often 20 hours or longer and involve several planes. I find many people neglect to pack any food and they wind up asking – or begging – me to give them some of mine. It’s very awkward for me.
On one flight, I overheard a woman tell her son, “Go ask that man for some cookies,” and the kid did come over. How do I handle this? There are times I have to spend five or seven hours in an airport after midnight waiting for the next flight, and that food is my reserve.
– Not Stingy In Florida

Dear Not Stingy: I’m glad you have given me the chance to remind travelers that the food on airplanes isn’t what it was years ago, particularly for passengers flying coach. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead and bring something onboard – fruit, candy, a sandwich – especially when traveling with children.
Of course it’s hard to refuse someone in a situation like the one you described. I suppose you could have told the child, “Didn’t your mother warn you not to take food from strangers?” But then you’d have to live with the image of a hungry child sitting two rows back.
Sometimes you do have to “just say no.” Explain that you have a long layover and need the emergency provisions for yourself. It may not win you many friends, but then, you are not running for office.

Widowed are still here

Dear Abby: I wish there was some way to make families understand that because someone has been widowed, we shouldn’t stop caring about them. So why do they stop inviting us to family functions? Is it because they didn’t care for us in the first place?
– Left Out in Iowa

Dear Left Out: There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to your question. However, I suspect that in many cases it’s because the widow’s presence is a painful reminder of the family member who is “missing.”

Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.