Passengers in long flights often dread having to sit near a noisy child. Should airlines offer child-free flights or at least child-free seating zones in their planes? Vote and leave your comment below!
Noisy children: normal behavior or poor parental skills?
For childless passengers on long flights having noisy children around is a real source of stress. In fact a poll showed that in the UK 70% wanted child-free zones introduced in planes. Many people are less concerned with security issues than with the possibility of sitting on the plane near a family with babies, infants or small children. In particular people who need to work or rest during a flight are fearful of noisy children.
Who is to blame for noisy children? When a baby or child is restless during a flight and starts crying or making noises many fellow passengers, usually those who don’t have children, blame parents for this behavior. At the very least, they look at the parents and child disapprovingly, but some even complain to the flight attendants. Usually parents, aware that they will be judged in this way, quickly hush their children and try to demonstrate that they are trying to do their best under the circumstances. It is not easy to travel with children; for many it is a logistical nightmare. Some parents flying with their babies are so concerned that they are giving out a “goodie bag”, including earplugs, to passengers seated nearby in an attempt to win their sympathy should their baby make noise.
However, despite different parenting styles and skills, there are reasons why young children get upset in flights, and even the calmest and well-behaved children have “bad days” and start crying, talking or even singing loudly on a plane. Some children cry because a plane is also a source of stress for them or because they are more sensitive to changes in the cabin pressure. Weren't we all children once? Older parents also tend to forget how difficult travelling with their own children was and may not show sympathy to other families. Should passangers be less selfish and show solidarity to parents with small children? Sometimes a little help from other passengers may help distract the children and make the trip more pleasant for everyone.
Child-free flights and seating zones
So far no major airline offers child-free flights, although sometimes in private jets children are not welcomed. However, some Asian airlines such as Scoot Airlines, Singapore Air's budget brand, and AirAsia X are already offering "child-fee seating zones". These zones are cordoned off from the remaining passengers via a curtain, galleys and the exit doors, and under-12s are kept within. These seating areas offer some advantages. For instance, those sitting in these new restricted areas can work, sleep, read or enjoy movies more peacefully for a small price difference. According to these airlines, some parents are grateful of these measures as they feel less stressed and guilty if their child is restless.
However, these initiatives have also some downsides. One might argue it is unfair to penalize children and their parents, and possibly impose greater costs upon them by limiting the number of seats they can take, simply for being human. Couldn't this end up making more difficult or expensive for parents to travel with their children? Are child-free zones good initiatives or a sort of discrimination or apartheid? Children are sometimes a nuisance, probably for their parents more than for anyone else. But adults can also be annoying or disrupting. What about smelly people or drunk people or oversized people? Should we ban people from removing their shoes in the plane ? Why don't airlines control or limit alcohol consumption on airplanes too?
If you change your mind, you can change your vote simply by clicking on another option.
Child-free flights: should airlines offer kid-free zones to their passengers?
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