Meet an old friend of mine, Ian Blunt, from my Rhodes University days. He has recently joined his girlfriend on an exciting new adventure in the USA. After his not so peaceful flight to Miami, he wrote this blog post which is very interesting. Have a read and let us know what you think:
Flying in peace: would you pay extra for a child-free zoned seat?
If you’ve ever been travelling you’ll know the one thing that makes eyes roll, fists clench and teeth grind more than anything else – crying babies. Passengers worldwide dread being seated near or worse next to a travelling parent child combo. It is more often than not a one way ticket (pun intended) to a night without sleep and a headache upon arrival. This doesn’t only go for newborns; young squealing kids can be just as bad if not worse – cause they can kick.
To a certain degree I can forgive (maybe not forgive…but understand) babies making a noise as it can be attributed to discomfort or pain that they have not experienced before. But little kids that kick and scream and switch their tears on and off at a moment’s notice – I cannot let off. The bottom line is that if you are the unlucky soul caught in this situation, then the office desk you so badly wanted to escape is about to seem like a paradise you’d like to escape to.
I recently fell victim to a “squealer”. A little boy, about 2yrs old, screaming and crying out for attention the whole 8hr flight. I pinched my fingers to the top of my nose at one point, shut my eyes really tightly and wished to disappear off that plane – no luck.
By the time I landed I was shattered. The first few hours of my arrival were spent yawning, leaning against cab windows and rushing to coffee stands to get my caffeine crutches. This sparked my memory back to a conversation I had with someone not so long ago – ‘Would you pay a bit more to fly child-free?’
I think I would.
At this point in time there are no airlines that I can pick up offering this – in fact, the opposite. Domestic flights on some airlines encourage people with children by offering a ‘children under 2 fly free’ policy. This increases your chances of regretting the entire trip. Air Asia has a ‘Quiet Zone’ on flights where they cattle herd all parents and children into one area (aka Hell) – which isn’t 100% sound proof, but it seems like a step in the right direction.
Travelling isn’t cheap to begin with so adding costs is never going to go down well. But they could offer the same price and simply say – this is a ‘child-free flight, disallowing anyone with a kid under a certain age on board.
Is that discrimination?
Are we going to hear all about how ‘unfair’ that is in the news?
Personally – maybe because I don’t have kids – I don’t see anything wrong with that. But maybe paying a bit more for peace and quiet is the way to go…but why are people not offering it?
If you could avoid ruining your journey for a little bit extra would you take this option?
What are your thoughts?