Airlines Make Kid-Free Zones In Planes (And It Doesn't Fly With Me)

Airlines Make Kid-Free Zones
28 October 2016

I see their looks as I approach the gate. Baby strapped to my chest. Toddler holding my hand. I struggle to remove our tickets from the giant diaper bag and a snack trap full of goldfish crackers spills on the floor. The other passengers won't meet my gaze, but I know what they are thinking. "Please please please please kind and beautiful gate agent. Don't seat me next to them!" Once on the plane, I apologize profusely to the soul who sits next to me. "It's fine," she says. But I know "It's fine" really means "I would rather stab myself in the eye with this plastic airline fork than sit next to you and your spawn".

Some airlines are now making it possible for adults to pay for the privilege of not sitting near me amd my drooling and crumb-covered entourage. Earlier this month, IndiGo Airline banned the age of 12 crowd from being seated in so-called "quiet zones" which are located in certain highly-desirable areas of the plane (think those seats with extra legroom). In doing so, IndiGo has joined several other airlines that have already implemented childfree areas in sections of their planes. And while no North American airlines have yet followed suit, I wonder if it is only a matter of time. There has been much buzz about whether this is a merciful act of genius. Or instead is banning children from merely being in certain areas some sort of age discrimination against those who are least able to speak for themselves - both with their wallets or their words?

Let's be honest here. I sometimes (ok pretty much always) wish that I could pay to sit in a quiet bubble while my children travel a safe, yet sound-proof distance away from me. Drinking wine in peace while flipping through a magazine. That is truly the stuff that dreams are made of. But, something about creating child-free zones in planes just doesn't fly for me.

Here's the thing. Unless you have your own private jet, airplane seating is like a box of chocolates (well actually more like Bertie Bott's Any Flavored Beans). You never know what you are going to get. Travelling with children is like wearing a flashing neon sign which reads "your flight will be terrible". But let's be clear here. Packing oneself tightly with adults by no means guarantees an amazing flight experience .

For example, I have been seated next to all of the following adults on planes as a result of my own spins in the seating lottery: Flatulence man. No shower for weeks man. Perfume-cloud woman. Extremely large man who itched himself throughout the entire flight. Snoring and drooling woman. Drunk man who sexually harassed the flight attendant. Woman who badgered the flight attendant for extra cookies and made racist remarks. Old man who told me all about his childhood, his years working in the factory and his painful bunions. Oh and yes, mom with baby. Only one of these people acted apologetic for any inconvenience her proximity to me might have caused me. And it certainly wasn't flatulence man.

Unless airlines are contemplating flatulence/perfume/asshole free zones on airplanes, I am not so keen on implementing child-free zones on planes. If it is ok to ban children from certain areas, will it eventually be acceptable to designate entire flights as adult-only? Might it become commonplace for those of us accompanied by tiny spawn be seated in the equivalent of the baggage hold?

But more importantly, by excluding our children from adult situations, we also exclude them from learning how to behave when they one day become adults (as children do). And I want my girls to grow to be polite, non-flatulent passengers of life who kindly offer to hold the frazzled mom's baby to allow her to enjoy a sip of water and listen attentively to tales of the old guy's bunions.

So, I won't apologize to you, my fellow passengers because you happen to have drawn the short straw of sitting next to me and my minis. But I will make these promises to you. I will prevent my children from kicking your seat back. If they cry, I will do my best to console them. I will change and dispose of dirty diapers only in the same place that you do your business. I will bring many snacks in an attempt to silence my children into a food coma. And I will share those snacks with you.

Perhaps you can keep your flatulence to yourself.

Do you think child-free zones on planes are a good idea? Why or why not?

TOPICS:   Vacations

13 comments

  • dilbert1977

    i think this is a great idea, sorry that you feel so strongly that others who paid to fly on the same flight may not want to sit near screaming children for a flight that could be from a couple hours to an 8-10 hours for an international flight. Why should you care so much if someone is willing to pay a premium to do so? 

  • Cheryl O.

    How can we expect kids to learn how to behave properly in society when society simply bans them from places.

    No wonder out works seems so messed up

    • dilbert1977

      Did you read this article? Where did it say it is banning kids from the flights?

  • Noahsmum

    I agree with your comments.  I've met more rude adults who are more like children.

    Adults have their moments just as children do. 

    It's not as if parents want their kids to act out and by people glaring it puts even more stress on the parent. 

    I've been on flights myself with my two young kids.  One was delayed for 5-6 hours and many commented how my one kid at the time was so well behaved.  yes there were kids that were unruly but I saw adults acting up more.

    As for paying more I guess I see the appeal of it and really can see more airlines following suit.  It's a shame it has come to this though.

  • Heather J.

    What about banning the person with a cough Or the person with BO The person who clicks their gum

    Society is not just adults.. and quite honestly kids fly better than some adults. Yet i bet its "those " adults who take issue with kids.. to thise people i say grow up.

  • tangarang

    I am a mother of young kids and I think it's a great idea to have Kid-free zones.  We shouldn't be expecting or forcing people to "suck it up" if our kids are unruly.. it's not a stranger's responsibility . Remember the kid free days?  I would've paid for kid free zones back then!   We are the ones responsible for bringing in the source of the noise/unruly behavior and it really is absurd to expect people to suffer for it and not give them a way out.  There are numerous opportunities in life for kids to learn how to be with adults but I think using the plane as a captive classroom is not the ideal place.  They won't be learning anything there.  People pay hundreds of dollars too and we need to be understanding .  The world doesn't revolve around us.  Yes there are unruly adults too, but the ratio of uncontrollable kids is usually higher than the crazy adults.  Give people a way out!  Why make others suffer?  

  • Sam P.

    Humam rights violation much?

    • dilbert1977

      Care to explain how this is a human right violation? I'd love to read it.

  • Tiggrr

    Imagine when the point comes that your children are all grown up. You and your hubby have decided to take a vacation on your own and look forward to the peaceful vacation that you could never have when you had a young family in tow. Now would you prefer to sit for hours on a plane beside a family of young children that you know will eventually fuss or even worse we know those kids that never settle down and are loud the entire trip Or would you rather pay a few extra dollars for a peaceful flight a few rows or even an entire section away. I would definitely pay the money and look forward to when this will come to Canada. 

  • lsanders

    I'm not yet a mom, and I'll be honest...I've been next to or near babies or small children on flights before and I have though "oh great..." and every single time the child has proven me so wrong and has been absolutely pleasant and adorable. Lesson learned not to jump to conclusions :) 

  • mcman

    While you may try to settle your kids and stop them from kicking the backs of chairs, other people do not. I spent a four-hour fight being kicked in the back of the chair, grabbed at through the chair, wacked on the head several times, my hair pulled, window closed in front of me at least ten times. These kids were never once told by their parents to stop because it was easier for them to allow their kids to bug the three people in front of them, then to deal with their own children. If I had the option, I would be more than willing to pay a premium to not sit next to children but what I am really paying for is not sitting next to bad parents.

  • scrliu

    LOL just because you don't like this new policy doesn't mean other people agree. Obviously if they are implementing this policy on airlines, at least some people must want it and be willing to pay for it. I look forward to this coming to Canada. Flights are expensive enough, I don't pay hundreds to have kids pulling my hair and kicking my seat.

  • elaine-a

    As a mom who has done a lot of traveling with little kids, I actually think this is a great idea.  A few times I have been seated next to people who made no attempt to hide the fact that they were disgusted to be sitting next to children.  While my kids were very well-behaved, I felt extreme pressure during these flights not to let them even talk above a whisper so as not to annoy these people further.  On one flight with an infant, I was seated next to a business man who made rude comments and when my baby cried briefly at one point because of pressure in his ears, I was so stressed that I'm sure it made it worse for my baby.  If someone feels that strongly about sitting next to my kids, I definitely don't want to sit next to them either!

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