Some Airlines Are Creating ‘child-Free’ Zones On Flights

Totally brilliant or completely unfair—what do you think about this policy?

Air travel nowadays is not the most pleasant experience. It’s expensive, time consuming, impersonal and generally nobody’s favorite way to spend a day. And even if you adore children (maybe you have a few of your own), the last thing you want is an antsy kiddo kicking your seat or a fussy baby crying next to you for the entire flight. That’s why some airlines are designating kid-free zones on their planes.

Most recently, budget Indian airline IndiGo announced it would have no-children areas on flightsAir Asia, Malaysia Airlines and Singapore’s Scoot Airlines have all implemented kid-free zones on their planes in the last few years. Currently, no U.S. air carriers offer this option, but some exhausted travelers might appreciate it.

There are, however, detractors who say this policy is discriminatory and unfair to parents who have no choice but to travel with their children. Others just think it’s an unnecessary addition to the numerous rules that govern flying—after all, kids are part of life, and headphones exist.

Photo by Lars Plougmann
Photo by Lars Plougmann

Simon Calder, travel editor of The Independent, told the BBC in an interview a few years ago that he thinks flying with children is just part of travel, and people need to deal.

“I very, very much think that people need to be tolerant,” Calder said. “If they don’t like it, I have two words for them—ear plugs. We are living in the 21st century where people have iPods.”

Of course, it’s not that kids aren’t allowed at all on planes with child-free zones—they just can’t sit in certain sections. In 2013, Singapore’s Scoot Airlines instituted the ScootinSilence upgrade, which bars kids under the age of 12 from sitting in certain rows. In 2011, Malaysia Airlines banned infants from first-class flights and implemented child-free zones in economy class a few years later.

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Would you pay extra to know that you won’t have to sit next to a screaming baby or in front of a kicking toddler? Or do you think sometimes-disruptive children are just lemon juice in the paper cut of modern air travel?