If you’ve ever been on a flight with a screaming baby, you know the strain and stress that just one infant can put on surrounding passengers.
That’s led some airlines to institute certain kinds of “no kid” zones over the past several years — a controversial move that has dismayed young families as much as it’s thrilled business travelers.
And in case you’re wondering, there doesn’t seem to be the stomach for a baby-ban zone on domestic routes in the United States. But it’s been popular among a select group of international carriers…
Want a ‘no kid’ fly zone? Then fly these carriers!
AirAsia’s Quiet Zone was first launched in early 2013 and comprises the first seven rows of seating directly behind the premium cabin.
Only passengers who are age 10 and up are allowed in these seats.
Choosing to sit in the Quiet Zone is an add-on charge to your regular airfare. We searched one route from Honolulu (HNL) to Osaka, Japan (KIX) on the AirAsia website and found the pricing for Quiet Zone seats ranging from $25 to $55 extra.
In addition, we found this note on the website pertaining to infants:
“AirAsia and AirAsiaX limits the number of infants allowed on each flight as we carry a certain number of infant life vests on board each of our aircraft. ”
This Indian low-cost carrier became the latest airline to add segregated seating for kids in 2016.
Only children 12 and older are allowed in certain sets of its premium extra leg room seats, which are known as the Quiet Zones.
Rows 1-4 and 11-14 will serve as “Quiet Zones”. These seats will primarily only be assigned to passengers above 12 years of age.>>
— IndiGo (@IndiGo6E) October 5, 2016
Malaysia Air banned babies from first class in its Boeing 747-400 jets in 2011.
One year later, the carrier announced a policy forbidding children younger than 12 from sitting in the upstairs economy section of its superjumbo jet airliners.
Indeed, a cursory glance at both airlines’ websites reveals some uncanny similarities — right down to the color choices and cutesy illustrations!
But be that as it may, Scoot has another claim to fame for international travelers.
The ScootinSilence seating zone bans kids under 12, features adjustable headrests and is located at the front of all the carrier’s 787 Dreamliners.
It comprises 33 seats segmented off between business and economy class:
Scoot doesn’t list a cost for this special seating on its fares and fees page.
One recent media report from Down Under, though, suggests you could pay as little as $15 extra to enjoy peace and quiet on a flight between Melbourne (MEL) and Singapore (SIN).
Clark’s take on segregated airline seating for kids and families
Money expert Clark Howard has a long history with travel. Many years ago, he founded his own chain of travel agencies that he later sold, then he retired at 31.
But Clark’s never given up the travel bug. In fact, he travels about a third of the year either for business or pleasure.
During the ensuing years, he’s seen almost every possible scenario with babies and kids on planes — the good, the bad and the ugly!
“I’m not excited by the idea of segregating children. Travel has certain tension to it and I believe kids can sometimes help us take a chill pill,” the consumer expert says.
Clark recalls one particular instance when he was on a flight with a colicky baby.
“A group of passengers took it on themselves to help the mom, some even holding the baby. Boy, did they get a serene look on their faces as they held that child. Then the baby was passed to me and that child started kicking and screaming right away! I obviously didn’t have the right touch.”
Clark believes the debate about baby bans and special seating for kids obscures a more central reality of 21st century flying — that the real problem here is we’re being crammed into aluminum cans in the sky in seats that are way too small.
At a time when the average American is putting on more weight, you’d think seats on domestic flights at least would be wider. Instead, they’re getting narrower.
“Boeing is the king of this, trying to shoehorn us into seats that are just 17”³ wide,” Clark says. “And many airlines put the next row so close to us that it’s right up to our nose. So it’s normal that people are starting to feel cranky in a restricted space.”