Tag Archives: children

Would You Pay For Child-Free Zones On Your Flight?

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Photo courtesy of Ann Fisher, via Flickr.

This is a topic I’ve written about several times. There are the folks who want peace and quiet on their flights, and there are the parents who wan their children to pipe down, but can’t seem to make it happen.

So I wasn’t surprised when I saw a poll by online travel agent Globehunters that found that 53 percent of UK travelers would like to see more child-free zones on planes. I suspect the numbers would be higher among U.S. passengers. 63 percent of the UK travelers who wanted more child-free zones said they would pay extra to ensure a more peaceful flight.

Malaysia Air has child-free zones on its Airbus A380s.  Air Asia charges approximately $13 for its child-free zone, while Singapore-based low-cost carrier Scoot Airlines charges $15 for the privilege.

The  survey found that British travelers are more than ready to pay for seats away from children, with 41 percent of people that wanted more child-free zones on planes saying they would pay upwards of $16 to be seated in one. And no surprise here, it also found there was greater demand for these zones among more frequent flyers, with 69 percent more than happy to see more child-free zones on planes.

Travelers over age 50s were eager to leave traveling with children firmly in the past, with 64 percent in favor of more child-free zones on planes. There was far less enthusiasm from people that usually travel with their children, with just 28 percent in favor.

RELATED BLOG POSTS

Why Child-Free Zones Are Not A Bad Idea

Warning: Moms Want More from Airlines

Why Babies In Laps On Planes Is NOT A Good Idea

AirAsia X Becomes Second Airline To Offer No-Kid Zones 

Inattentive Parents Are “Most Annoying” Fliers, Says New Survey

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Photo by Ben Hogan, via Flickr.

As a well-traveled person with and without my eight-year-old, I read with interest a new survey by Expedia.com that ranked “Inattentive Parents,” at 41 percent and “Rear Seat Kickers,” at 38 percent ranked first and second on the list of “Most Annoying / Offensive Airplane Etiquette Violators.”  And I believe these findings 100 percent, so I’ll focus just on them.

During my travels alone, I’m always amazed at how many inattentive parents I see on flights. It’s as if someone flipped a switch and after the aircraft door closes, it means parents can just shut down. I’ve seen children running down the aisles, screaming and yelling, playing their electronic devices loudly, and kicking the backs of seats.

I look over at the parents, and they are reading books, taking a nap, or watching something on their electronic device of choice. And when anyone has the temerity  to ask the parent to actually do the job of — wait for it — parenting, you are made to feel like the bad guy. I actually had one woman tell me that she had no control over her own child, who insisted on kicking the back of my seat during an early-morning flight from Baltimore to San Francisco. One stern “sit still and stop kicking the seat” from me and there was no more kicking from said child.

I’m not child expert Dr. Spock, but I was raised by old-school parents who did not tolerate bad behavior in public. I took my first flight when I was six. My sister and I were dressed, complete with hats and white gloves. We knew that we had to address all adults and ma’am and sir, that we said please and thank you, and we were never to act up in the cabin.

I’ve been flying with my daughter since she was 10 days old, and I can’t tell you many compliments I get on her behavior. What’s my secret? It’s all about preparation. I carry a food bag with all her favorite snacks. I make sure her iPad is 100 percent charged, and I carry a Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Duo where I can power two electronic devices. I bring along one or two of her books in case she wants to go old school.  So when a child is able to keep him/herself occupied, you won’t see any of the annoying behavior on flights.  See? Simple!

So take my poll and tell me what you think are the top five most annoying flyers!

 

Why Child-Free Zones Are Not A Bad Idea

What? You want to ban me from your section?

The travel/aviation interwebs was all abuzz after Singapore-based low-cost carrier Scoot announced it was offering a new cabin, with 41 seats, that will be a child-free zone, reports Opposing Views.

It joins Air Asia X and Malaysia Airlines in either banning children in business/first class or having special child-free zones. You can read my blog post about Malaysia Airlines here.

Now before you start sending me the “why-do-you-hate-children” comments and email, I am, myself, the mother of a seven-year-old. She’s been my travel road dog since she took her first flight — on Delta Air Lines — when she was 10 days old. She earned her first Rapid Rewards travel voucher before the age of two. And she has a passport, so this kid travels.

My kid also knows *how* to travel, and I always am well prepared for every contingency. I would have no issue sitting with her in business or first class, because she has known how to behave on a flight since she was a baby.

But unfortunately, my kid is the exception, rather than the rule. In my decades of travel, I have seen it all with kids — screaming, running down the aisles, kicking seats, talking/singing loudly, playing incessantly with tray tables, and pushing flight attendant call buttons, to name a few.

And I have seen parents sit silently, refusing to lift a finger to offer an alternative or discipline their little angel. I’m at the point where I pack an extra pair of headsets and an audio splitter so that my daughter can share her iPad movies with restless children. I have plenty of snacks, coloring books and crayons that can be shared. I also carry noise-cancelling headsets when I’m traveling alone.

If parents just prepared their children for travel, made sure they were amused and fed during the flight, and disciplined their little darlings beforehand, then these airlines wouldn’t have to take these extreme measures.

I love my daughter to death but — gasp — there are people in the world who don’t particularly like children. They would like to sit on their flight and not have to deal with a child gone wild.  So bravo to Scoot for offering these folks a child-free option.  Please take my poll, below, to weigh in with your thoughts.

 

Warning: Moms Want More from Airlines

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I’ve been traveling with my seven-year-old daughter since she was 10 days old.  And it has always been a complete pleasure.  You know the drill, especially on Southwest Airlines — you see a parent with a small child and you inwardly recoil.  It’s OK — I do it too.

But because my daughter has been properly trained and because I’m always prepared, flying with her is a delight. If I had a dollar for every person who has complimented me on her good behavior, I’d be living in the Caribbean.  But I understand why parents are apprehensive.

So it was with interest that I read a new study by Fly.com that found 72% of moms believe airlines do not always adequately cater to families traveling with children, and many feel the airlines have become much less family friendly.  The survey found that 51% believe it is unacceptable for airlines to ban parents with elite status or tickets from bringing young children into first-class airport lounges; 30% did not like airline decisions to prevent children from sitting in certain seat rows, and an overwhelming 69% were unhappy about the elimination of pre-boarding for families traveling with little ones.

The survey found that mothers feel flying with children is stressful, with 68%  rating their level of stress as moderate to extreme.  The leading cause of anxiety is fear that their child will disturb other passengers.  In fact, moms were more concerned about their child disturbing others than they were about their child’s physical and mental comfort during the flight.   Other findings include: 65% of mothers believe there is a negative stigma attached to flying with children; many moms with young children have already flown more than 10 times with their child: 24% of moms with children age 5 and under, and 35% with children in elementary school; and 64% of moms will likely be flying with their child/children in 2013.

And if you or someone you know are among those who will be flying with kids in 2013, please allow me to offer some tips that may help make your trips better.

  • Prepare your children. It happens again and again on flights I’m on – children who have never flown and are confused and even scared. Take time to tell them what’s going to happen, and act things out.
  • Amuse your children. Please bring their favorite toys, games, DVD player, iPad, coloring books or whatever it takes to keep them occupied during the flight.  I’ve taken to bringing extra for other children on flights, and I always have takers.
  • Choose seats in advance – or buy one Early Bird Pass if you’re flying Southwest Airlines. You naturally want to sit with your child (I hope) on a flight. Always take the option to choose your seats in advance. Shell out that $12.50 each way on Southwest to ensure that you get seats together and don’t inconvenience your fellow passengers.
  • Carry a food bag. Airline food has gone the way of the dodo, so bring their snacks. Kids get very cranky when they don’t eat.

AirAsia X Becomes Second Airline To Offer No-Kid Zones

You want me to sit where??!

Back on June 28, 2011, I wrote a blog post about Malaysia Airlines’ decision to ban babies in the first class cabin of its Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 fleets. I’m a mother who’s been traveling with her daughter since said child was 10 days old and frankly, I applauded the airline’s decision.  And now fellow Malaysian carrier  AirAsia X has become the second airline to ban children — but this time in economy.

The carrier says it will reserve the first eight rows of economy class on its Airbus A330 for passengers over age 12, reports the LA Times.  The section will be designated a quiet zone, with special ambient lighting.  The good news is that travelers will not have to pay extra to sit in the special section.

While I agreed with the policy created by Malaysia Airlines, I’m not sure this effort by AirAsia X flies with me.  It’s one thing to ban screaming children from a cabin where you just paid $20,000+ for your Los Angeles-Kuala Lumpur flight.  But if you’re like me and sitting in coach with the kid, you should be able to get the seat that you want.  Something about creating an elitist atmosphere in egalitarian economy just doesn’t sit right with me.  So — do you think this move by AirAsiaX is the right one or are you like me, feeling a little hinky about it? Tell me about it!! (And yes, that is my daughter!)