Fed up passengers demand child-free flights

The New York Times devoted some of its coverage to another of those always controversial airline topics – children on planes.

Once again, passengers are apparently voicing their concerns about children in the cabin, and some of them propose to outfit planes with a child-free zone.

The article even mentions a frequent flier from Boston who has started a Facebook group called “Airlines Should Have Kid-Free Flights”.

Stories like this pop up at least once every six months, and the passengers they talk to have very little understanding of kids or the aviation industry.

When the Boston based frequent flier sat behind a screaming child on a flight from LA to the UK, he said:

“The parents were not doing a thing to stop it,” he said. “They were just sort of weakly smiling and giggling like, ‘Oh, what can you do?’ But give them a pacifier, do something to make them stop.”

This is the solution that comes from all people who either don’t have kids, or don’t understand them. Pacifiers only work on children that are used to using them, and even with one, the cabin pressure may be too great to stop annoying them. But of course, “do something to make them stop” is something these people think the parents didn’t try themselves.

In all my flying, I’ve come across plenty of screaming babies – and it is not fun, but I’ve come across more pompous frequent fliers who irritate me more than babies. Babies eventually get tired and fall asleep, but the loud business traveler is one that never knows when to shut up.

The concept of creating a child-free zone on the plane is another that will never work – simply because airlines are hurting enough as it is. Sure, there may be a niche airline that considers creating special seating areas for families, but the investment and ticketing challenges may prove to be too great for it to ever be a success.

Of course, a lot of these complaining passengers fail to realize that there is already a (virtually) child free zone on the plane – the business and first class cabins. Instead of demanding that parents do something about their kids, people who don’t like the sound of a crying baby should just pony up the cash and sit up front. Alternatively, bring some ear plugs and noise canceling headphones.

What are your thoughts?


[Photo courtesy of: Online Photography Course]