Planes just aren’t child-friendly. Their teeny ears can’t handle the air pressure. Their teeny legs are the perfect length for kicking the seat in front. Their teeny voice boxes are able to emit not such teeny, but very ear-shattering wails.
In fact the whole concept of sitting strapped in a seat unable to get out or up for long periods of time is almost anti-child. But we parents still need to transport these small people with us to take holidays and visit families. Kids will be on planes wherever there are kids and planes.
But it seems that children on planes is possibly one of the biggest grievances expressed by people on planes without kids – and more and more airlines are listening.
Another airline has announced it will be establishing kid-free zones on its planes.
IndiGo, the Indian budget carrier, is the latest to offer Quiet Zones aimed at business travellers, where passengers under the age of 12 are strictly forbidden.
“Keeping in mind the comfort and convenience of all passengers,” a statement from the airline read, “row numbers one to four and 11 to 14 are generally kept as a Quiet Zone on IndiGo flights. These zones have been created for business travellers who prefer to use the quiet time to do their work.”
This is not the first airline to attempt to segregate children.
In 2013 Singapore’s budget airline Scoot introduced a ScootinSilence upgrade for travellers to move to rows 21 to 25, where children under the age of 12 were banned from sitting. [Note the word "upgrade" - this is a privilege that doesn't come free.]
The airline's CEO, Campbell Wilson, said at the time: “No offence to our young guests or those travelling with them – you still have the rest of the aircraft.”
AirAsia X has also introduced kid-free zones, and Malaysia Airlines bans kids from first class and has also created no-kids zones in economy class.
Earlier this year an American airline, JetBlue, thought it was being really clever when it announced a promotion whereby each traveller would receive 25 per cent back from what they paid for their ticket for every baby that cried – ummm, five cried and every passenger got fully reimbursed.
An airline spokesperson, Elizabeth Windram, herself a mum of littlies, said one of the wisest statements about kids on planes at the time.
“People smile at babies everywhere, except on planes.” Ain’t that the truth.
But while some people believe separating the men from the boys, so to speak, only further divides the families from the childless, it seems there is some support out there for corralling kids into certain section of aircrafts.
Since airlines started setting up kid-zones, people have been taking to Twitter to express how they feel.
What’s your take? Would you pay extra to be in a kid-free zone next time you fly? Or do you think this is just another "us" and "them" debate between the child-endowed and child-free?
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