There’s nothing worse than getting onto a plane, wanting nothing more than a bit of shut-eye, to discover your seat reservation is next to a family with children on the brink of apocalypse.
This is the exact argument made by those who are now campaigning for airlines to introduce child-free flights, giving travellers the option to be rid of the noise and general disruption of kids, which can be especially tiresome on long-haul flights. Let’s explore some pros, cons, and alternatives to this age-old travel nightmare.
First and foremost, those looking for a peaceful flight and the prospect of some sleep on-board will have a far greater likelihood of getting just that now.
Parents would also feel a lot less embarrassed when flying, knowing that the tutters and finger-waggers that would normally be directing disdainful looks their way are now likely on another flight. It can be very difficult to control children in a cramped and ear-popping environment, and parents will know that keeping the reigns on their children can be tough at the best of times. At least this way, they’ll know that they aren’t ruining other peoples’ trips, and aren’t being judged on their parenting methods.
Children are part of humanity: we were all one at some point. Segregating flights may seem like an archaic solution to those who have campaigned for so long for equality and integration in public places. Perhaps we should just learn to be more tolerant.
Airline tickets are all about demand. As soon as one flight is in more demand than another, prices will go up, meaning that those unable to afford a child-free flight will be forced onto a kiddy-plane. They will be as grumpy and as judgemental as ever, perhaps even more so as there are fewer like-minded people on board now.
Also, on routes or airlines where demand is less, these flights may not be provided. This would result in exactly the same problem as we have at the moment, though presumably those used to kid-free flights would be even more disapproving now that they know what the blissful alternative is.
What’s more, there is no guaranteeing that a kid-free flight will be a comfortable one. I’d happily chose a child to sit next to over someone with travel-sickness, bad personal hygiene, or body mass encroaching on my personal space any day. These problems will still remain, and airlines may expect a higher compaining rate from customers who are now expecting a hitch-free journey.
“Why not pay for Business Class?” one may ask. If you fork out the ton of money for Business and discover that there are still children in the cabin, your despair will be far greater. And, believe me, if you thought misbehaving kids in Economy were bad, the rich spoilt kids in Business will be your worst nightmare.
A sensible alternative would be having a family-friendly section of the plane, where those with kids can reside judgement free. However, even this would cause problems, as flight with less kids would have to squeeze normal passengers into this area to fill the flight up. Likewise, flights with more families would have to allow them to over-spill into the quieter sections of the plane. And how about if you are a parent with a well behaved kid? Should you be forced to sit amongst the screaming chaos?
As you can probably tell, it is a very complicated issue. Personally I think that there is no alternative feasible enough to implement. My opinion is that if you aren’t tolerant enough to put up with a particular section of our society, you should source different methods of travel.
Have you got any horror stories of travelling with kids, either as a passenger or parent? What are your opinions on the matter? Do you have any ideas for alternative solutions?