Child free flights?

Katherine - posted on 11/19/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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Yes, I got this from the same source as the couple letting the internet vote on aborting...


What happened to the days when traveling was glamourous? These days, between the crushing costs, mile-long lines at security, and overpriced (not to mention totally crappy) food, flying leaves much to be desired.

But for some passengers, it's not the food or lines that make flying awful: it's being seated next to a wailing baby or unruly child. According to The New York Times, a majority of passengers now advocate a families-only section on airplanes. Almost 20% would even support child-free flights. A Boston man who started a Facebook group called Airlines Should Have Kid-Free Flights said, in the Times article, that (predictably) he would be willing to pay extra for child-free flights.

I've blogged about whether or not child-free spaces are okay before, and about a restaurant in North Carolina that banned screaming children. And flying and families also haven't exactly been mixing well in the news lately:

A woman sued Australian airline Qantas because a three-year-old seated next to her allegedly screamed so loud in the woman's ear the tot caused her bleeding and hearing loss.
A Southwest Airlines flight attendant took a baby away from her parents after she witnessed the mother slap the child midair.
A family recently started a blog called "Alaska Airlines Hates Families". Their story: A few minutes before departure, the couple's son had a poop blowout, and, with no place to change on the plane, the mother quickly rushed to a restroom to change him. When they got back to board the plane, however, their tickets had been given to standby passengers -- leaving them stranded and forced pay more than $1,000 to get home. Alaska Airlines eventually reimbursed the family, but only after they received media attention and started the pointedly-titled blog.
So, are child-free flights, or family-only sections, the answer? It seems unfair to limit flight options for parents who do make every effort to keep their kids entertained and happy on a long flight to punish those who don’t (and let’s face it – babies can cry uncontrollably and even well-behaved kids sometimes lose it). On the other hand, though, in a family-only section, parents wouldn't have to worry about dirty looks or pointed sighs from fellow passengers.

Would you like to have a families section on flights? Would you pay extra for a child-free flight when traveling sans kids?

I think a family section would be awesome. Then I wouldn't HAVE to worry about what Joe Schmoe thinks about my misbehaving kid. I wouldn't be judged so harshly and I wouldn't have to explain myself.

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[deleted account]

Super duper! Child free flights it is -- who wants those whining, ignorant adults next to them anyhow? LMAO!

Sarah - posted on 11/20/2010

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We're taking our 14 month old son on his first plane ride next week & I'm a little nervous lol. The flight is 2 hours long (which isn't too long), but I'm still worried about him getting restless. He usually doesn't just cry & whine for no reason, but this is a whole different situation for him, so we shall see. I reserved seats all the way at the back of the plane (don't know if that'll make much of a difference or not lol). I think "family friendly" flights would be nice, so that way I wouldn't have to worry too much if he does start crying.

Tracey - posted on 11/20/2010

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I would pay for a child friendly section that had dvd players, attendants in fancy dress, children's food, toys etc

Becky - posted on 11/19/2010

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I think the family section is a nice idea, but I'm not sure it would really help all that much. I guess you wouldn't have to be sitting right next to the screaming child or have them kicking your seat, but airplanes aren't that big. If a kid is screaming, you're still going to hear them! Ideally, the family section would be like first or business class, with bigger seats and wider aisles - I think kids would generally be a little more inclined to behave if they were a little less confined. And with the individual movie screens in th seats with a choice of kid-friendly movies and programming. Of course, that would either require restructuring airplanes or bumping passengers out of first class, so it's never going to happen.

If someone wants to pay extra for a child-free flight, I have no issue with that, as long as it doesn't limit my options for flights with my children. I probably wouldn't, unless it was for a really special occassion, like a honeymoon or something. But then, I love kids. Even other peoples'. Well, most of them. Some really are just brats!

I haven't actually flown with my boys yet. But, I did fly an awful lot, on some verrrrry long flights, as a child! And that was back in the days when airlines were a lot more welcoming and less strict. When they would take kids up to the cockpit and give them the little airline wing pins... All the cost cutting and security measures these days makes me really nervous about the idea of flying with kids. I think airlines are becomming less and less family friendly and customer friendly in general.

Nikki - posted on 11/19/2010

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I think it's a great idea too, my daughter has slept through every flight we have been on except one. She preceded to try and touch the man next to me continuously, it was a fun hour. I think it would be more relaxing for parents as well, I can imagine how frustrating and anxious you would feel if your child was really playing up on a flight, with everyone looking at you and being in such a confined space.

Amie - posted on 11/19/2010

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I think it's a great idea.

If I was traveling without the kids I'd definitely pay more to be on a flight without kids. Sorry, I just don't love your snot faced lil turd the way I love mine. I appreciate other people's children, I'll smile with sympathy when I see a full on meltdown but I will walk away if I can. Airplanes don't afford me the option of walking away from a kid in full on meltdown.

Jodi - posted on 11/19/2010

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We must have been annoying as shit last weekend - we were bumped up to business class on our flight because apparently they oversold the flight, and my daughter did NOT stop talking the entire way. Admittedly she was next to me, but I'm thinking those stuffy old men in suits all around us probably had a hard time of it, LOL.



However, I see no harm in having child free flights if they want to, but they should make sure they charge for the privilege!!!



To be honest, I have rarely had a bad experience with children on flights. My own kids have always been well-behaved when flying, even as babies I never had any problems. But then, my babies weren't big criers anyway. As long as they were well fed, well cuddled and had a pacifier or were entertained, I wouldn't hear a peep out of them.



But even other people's kids I've never had issues with. I think the one and only time was when I had 2 kids behind me who keep kicking the chair and standing up in their seats hanging over the top of my head. I did end up turning around and asking them very politely to sit down in their seats and stop kicking the back of the chair. Their mother gave me a filthy look, but I wasn't nasty about it, and they didn't do it again. They really were out of control, though.

[deleted account]

I think it is a great idea! Before we had our son I'd have probably went on one of the child-free flights as I always seem to get the little darling sitting behind me who thinks it's ok to kick the chair constantly!

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