Child-free flight zones: what do you think?

(294 Posts)
HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 07-Feb-13 10:26:32

Morning. We've just seen this article in the Telegraph about a Malaysian airline which has launched 'quiet zones' on selected flights, where children under the age of 12 are not permitted to sit.

It seems that a recent poll of Telegraph Travel readers also found that nearly 70% would support the introduction of child-free flights.

What do you think?

Should people have the right to travel without being 'disturbed by noisy children'? Or not?

TooMuchRain Fri 08-Feb-13 12:03:43

I think it misses the point that children are far from the only annoyance when flying, I have had rubbish flights because the parents of the child behind didn't stop him/her banging the tray up and down or kicking the seat - but also because the person sitting next to me drank for the first hour and then snored for the rest, while falling into my seat and another lovely long-haul next to someone who vomited for about 10 hours...

I have had some hideous flights, but none related to children. Except where it has been for useless parents.

My children are a delight (!!) on flights. Seriously, they are generally good, and love flying. But as others have said, this doesn't always make for an easy flight - I have had to work bloody hard! And DH once read Where's Spot about 100x (and that was only coming back from Dublin!)

I hate the idea of being coralled with other badly behaved children / useless parents.

However, when I am on my own, it is like flying first class (not that I have done so) because all I have to do is read my book and ignore others. When I hear a squawking child, I think, "HURRAH, it's not mine!!!"

Other people's kids don't tend to annoy me. If they are screaming or making a mess, need their nappies changed or require feeding or entertaining, then it's not something I have to do and I just feel empathy with their parents. My child can be a total angel or a holy terror...being 2 and all!

But i have to say people who hate kids / find them annoying or offensive are annoying and offensive to me.

Trills Fri 08-Feb-13 14:43:50

Children are not the only group that are annoying but they are easily identifiable.

higgle Fri 08-Feb-13 14:45:34

A no fat people flight for me please, I'm sick of having a sweaty body pressed up against me for hours on end.

GreenEggsAndNichts Fri 08-Feb-13 15:01:24

fedup you're right, it takes a whole lot of work to keep a child happy on a flight. Flying now for me is far more exhausting than it ever was- not only is it physically tiring but just having to have my brain switched on the entire time is very draining. DS has, touch wood, been excellent on flights so far (transatlantic, to visit family, and shorter flights as well) but it's always a dance of stickers, colouring, games, etc to get him that way. And does he sleep on an overnight flight? heck no.

I also concur, the sound of someone else's child acting up is just the sound of someone else's problem, to me. smile Even if I don't have DS with me and am pretending I'm childless and fancy free. Before I had DS, the vast majority of my irritations on flights (and I flew quite a lot) were caused by adults. Or large groups of teenagers (not hating on teens btw, I did a few flights at that age in groups and remember the excitement of it all).

I would love to request the no-reclining zone. I'm tall but I assume my legs must be exceptionally long or airlines are so fucking focused on profit margins that they cram seats in to inhumane levels, because a reclined seat always bashes right into my knees. Excruciating for a long-haul flight.

Still18atheart Fri 08-Feb-13 15:50:34

I think the idea is great, Could they have a none reclineable seat zone too??

WhatKindofFool Fri 08-Feb-13 17:47:54

I think old people and anyone with mobility problems should be banned from flights. They just get in the way as they are too slow.
Also, certain nationalities who eat too much garlic - they smell.
Men, generally too - they fart too much.
Actually, I think everyone should be banned except for me and my family.

BuntyPenfold Fri 08-Feb-13 21:21:01

I don't mind noise, but I can't stand the back of my seat kicked or swung on. Please someone arrange a solution for this.

Allowing more legroom would sort that. Sometimes there isn't even enough room for my legs and I'm sure my knees in the back of the seat feel like I'm kicking it. So, if you book yourself into 1st/business/premium economy you should be fine.

WhatKindofFool Sat 09-Feb-13 10:37:44

Agreed Dragon.

Want2bSupermum Sat 09-Feb-13 10:59:40

GreenEggs The best advice I can give for flying with children is pick your flight times carefully. I will only do direct when possible. DH likes to fly up to his parents from Copenhagen. I insist we take the train so DD gets a chance to run around outside.

The other thing to remember is that there are no discounts for children now on most flights. People should be thanking families who fly. I joke with DH that if he wants 4 DCs we will need a private plane. It will certainly be cheaper.

To the poster who said children can go in 1st/business... not with SAS. It is up to the crew to decide if you can sit there. They took one look at DD and decided to put me in economy. I had DD in her PJ's and ready to sleep. Would have been a much better flight for everyone if we had been in business with both of us on a flat bed.

exexpat Sat 09-Feb-13 11:34:57

I think it's outrageous if you have paid for business/first that flight crew can reseat you in economy, even if they offer compensation - you chose to fly business, and if you had known you would be moved, you could have booked with a different airline which doesn't have that policy. Does SAS make it clear when you book that that can happen? I would have been livid. (my days of flying business with the DCs are over, but we regularly flew Virgin Upper Class and Qantas business when they were little and were never made to feel we shouldn't be there)

I think it's a fabulous idea, but TBH don't think a 'quiet zone' on a flight will work - it needs to be an entire section of the plane, bulkhead-to-bulkhead. We flew a military transport flight once, they divided the plane in half - front section was solo fliers and medevacs, the back section - about 2/3 of the plane - was families. There was an impromptu 'creche' anywhere there was a space i.e in front of the doors, they had child-friendly programmes on for the entire flight, and when someone's baby was screaming, they got sympathetic looks instead of annoyed ones.

I know they won't do that on commercial flights, but it was the best flight I've ever been on.

coorong Sat 09-Feb-13 12:15:20

I agree it's the parents not the children who cause the problem. Some parents think the cabin crew are child minders and board the plane expecting them to look after their children. The parents get on the plane, stick their headphones on and simply ignore their children for the entire trip, while the kids kick the seats, stand up, jump up and down. It's unbelievable. I've asked parents to ask their children to stop dropping their books on me, and the parents response is pretty dismissive.

I've travelled every year or so to Australia with mine (since they were 6 months) but's it's a marathon. I spent 6 hours playing showing the eldest (at 18months) how to do up and undo her seatbelt .. over and over and over .... but she was quiet. Since then we take loads of little things, watch lots of videos and keep chatting very quietly.

The worst thing was a young, drunk couple, who kept dropping their 6 week old on the floor!!! it was too turbulent to use the cots and she kept sliding off their laps onto the floor.

I've always hated the kid-kicking-your-seat thing. Whilst I will agree that adults can do many annoying things on flights, nothing annoys me as much as the kicking and I've never had an adult kick my seat. (I'm not sure it's anatomically possible given the ridiculously tiny amount of legroom in cattle class!)

I've always done my best to avoid kids on flights because of the potential kicking, and now that I have a DC of my own I would be extremely annoyed if a flight attendant tried to move me into an area with lots of other families. I would be almost guaranteed to have a DC behind me then.

My LO is too young for kicking, but when she's older I will be enforcing a zero-tolerance policy with regard to her kicking anyone else's seat. I'll also be working hard to make sure she is quiet but happy and entertained throughout the flight. So far we've been on two 10.5 hour flights, when she was 5mo, and she was an angel (although keeping her that way was pretty exhausting for me - she barely slept at all!). Naturally I appreciate this will get harder as she gets older! Despite this I fully agree that it's the parent's responsibility (as far as possible) to keep their DC from being antisocial. Being forced into a "family zone" would put me at the mercy of the parenting skills, or lack thereof, of all the other people with kids on every flight I use! Why should parents of well-behaved* DCs be forced to sit with badly-behaved DCs?! What makes this more acceptable than a person travelling without kids having to sit by badly-behaved kids?!

*Please note, I believe 99% of DC (including my DD) are "well-behaved" some days and little terrors on other days! I'm not suggesting there are separate types of "well-behaved" vs "naughty" DC, I'm simply referring to their behaviour for the duration of the flight they're on.

MariusEarlobe Sat 09-Feb-13 14:33:14

I am torn,

On one hand if my dc where younger I would feel more relaxed flying if they were not going to annoy anyone other than other parents who hopefully are more likely to understand.

On the other hand the last two flights I have had the ones causing the problem were the oldies! Having a strop at the air steward, swearing and being abusive!

I do think under 12 is harsh. Possibly 8 and under.
When we flew last my ten year old sat quietly on her console the whole flight while we had our seat kicked constantly and had parents of a four year old and a toddler sicking nursery rhymes for four hours each way and who let their son run up and down aisle and he kept jumping on dd and roaring at her.

Maybe we should do like one of the Asian flight companies who have hello kitty and kids themed planes and great child facilities and sky nannies on board, a small child on a plane for 10 hours in a small space with nothing to do is a recipe for disaster.

JugglingChaotically Sat 09-Feb-13 14:57:44

Ok. This will get me flamed.
I travel lots - work not choice - and badly behaved children drove me nuts. I will say they were in the minority as most were lovely.
So when I had first DC I wondered if I would feel the same about mine on planes. I did! So they behave. There was nothing I could about sore ears when little on way up and down - I fed them when tiny, gave them something to suck when older - but other than that they are brilliant. Because they know both I and DH will flip if they aren't.
Yes we plan well, take things to occupy them, plan meals, chose best flight times etc.
DD 1 was foul once - and was banned from TV on the connecting flight. She has never done it again.
To be fair, it all became much much easier (for DH and me!) when DC1 and 2 old enough to read and better still when we could carry kindles rather than bags of books, colouring, playing cards etc. toys that didn't have tiny bits so I had to crawl around picking them up!
We all take turns with DC3 and all cnt wait for her to read properly - close now, can't waitsmile
So no. I would be v sad if they banned DCs or corralled them in special areas.
I'm with the others who find badly behaved adults worse!
And I should probably have name changed for this .....

littleducks Sat 09-Feb-13 15:37:55

I would worry about the safety point if view. If all the vulnerable parties are grouped together, (without exta staff to help) . I would worry that people with children particularly more than one child per adult would find it more difficult to evacuate the plane in case if an emergency.

EauRouge Sat 09-Feb-13 15:44:33

Wow, I never thought of that littleducks. It's a very good point! I don't think every row of seats has extra oxygen masks either.

CaptainVonTrapp Sat 09-Feb-13 15:48:09

Why do people feel flying for work makes them more entitled?

On the contrary, you've not even paid for your own flight and you're being paid to be there.

No one is on that flight for 'leisure' just as a means of transport to get them to a destination which may be work, family, holiday etc.

Travelling for work is still a choice. Choose a new job if you don't like it. Video conference. But don't imagine yourself to have more rights than anyone else on the plane.

Same applies to parents obviously. Plan for the trip, get stuff they can entertain themselves with, plenty of attention (rather than getting pissed up and ignoring then). Offer rewards for good behaviour at the destination.

RedToothBrush Sat 09-Feb-13 15:52:18

Travelling for work is still a choice. Choose a new job if you don't like it. Video conference. But don't imagine yourself to have more rights than anyone else on the plane.

Hahahahaha! Sorry but I just nearly died laughing at that one.

Its as bad as the 'children are a lifestyle choice' argument.

Both are bollocks.

CaptainVonTrapp Sat 09-Feb-13 16:02:45

Clearly children are a choice although I don't really see why people keep dredging this up.

They're here, they're people and they need to travel just as much as everyone else needs to travel. Not to mention they have paid virtually the full fare like everyone else.

rubyrubyruby Sat 09-Feb-13 16:06:04

Jus because its suggested that people would have the option to travel in a child free area doesn't necessarily mean that all the families will be lumped in together though does it?

Not everyone would choose the child free area.

CaptainVonTrapp Sat 09-Feb-13 16:17:58

No its not an option its a 'rows 1-7 no children allowed'

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