Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kid-Free Sections on Planes are OK with Me

I had a couple online conversations this week about AirAsia's announcement that they would be offering kid-free "Quiet Zones" on some of their long-leg flights. Lots of people I talked to were really angry about it. I'm really just fine with the idea. 

Robert Duffer, editor at the The Good Men Project's Dads and Families section caught wind of one of these discussions and asked me to write a few words about the topic. I gave him a thousand. Anyway, hop on over to my article and be sure to leave a comment. Feel free to disagree with me and tell me why you think I'm wrong. I fully admit to being a work in progress

- Dad (John)

Here is the link:

Child-Free Sections on Airline Take Flight Amidst Controversy

John Kinnear parses the praise and cries of discrimination on Quiet Zones in economy class sections


  1. I agree completely, not least because long haul flights to and from Australia are often 20+ hours long. I think adults have enough trouble keeping their shizz together for that long, let alone children, and you make a good case for why kids can't always be reasoned with or removed from the situation.

    I also think the comparison to Rosa Parks is offensive, frankly, not to mention really rather dense. Sorry for saying that about your friend, though.

    We're trialing noise free carriages on long distance trains as well as regular city trains here in NSW and Victoria now, and they've proven quite successful. Of course with trains there's more room, and the option exists to move yourself to a part of the train not classified as such, and I don't think anyone's talking about this curtailing personal freedoms in the same way.

    Nothing against kids, either, this stuff just happens, unfortunately. It's an option, not discrimination.

  2. We just found out that we are moving to Japan. The military is sending us over there with our baby who will be 4 months old at the time of the move -- and I am super stressed about the 14+ hour flight! BUT I am more stressed about bothering others than I am about anything else -- I think a "kids section" sounds great. The other parents are more likely to be understanding, and I won't feel as frantic or guilty if she is crying. Maybe they need to market this differently, and sell the non-quiet section as kid-friendly (different movies, diaper changing area, more snacks, etc.) in addition to selling the other area as a quiet space. I think the idea sounds great.

  3. I've traveled long distances via plane as a child, and as an adult traveling w/o children. As an adult, I LOVE to see a child free area of the plane! I'd pay $20 more to ensure I wouldn't be seated next to a young one with less predictable manners. Then again, if I wanted to travel cheaper, and didn't care about the noise, put me in the odd Kid-zone seats! It's actually a marvelous idea.
    As a kid, I never had issues w/ planes, but my brother did. (Ears... need I say more?) So he'd scream his head off. I'm sure my parents would have rather had a place to take him where it would be okay. Since airplanes don't have baby lounges, this sounds like a great idea.

  4. I think you did a great job laying out your argument. Sounds like some in the comments section still think this is discrimination, but I don't see it that way. Well done. :)

  5. I completely agree. As a non-parent but kid lover I love the fact that people who just don't want to be around kid-noise can choose not to. As you said, it's not going to be the Lost Boys rendition in the regular portion of the plane!

    I think it's important to recognize that it's not just children, young children that make noise on flights. This is for people who want to chat or be able to have the freedom to make noise. It makes sense not to allow a toddler/young child in a "Quiet Zone" because, as mentioned, their manners are still in developement.

    Great article, well written and I hope that flights don't hit crazy backlash from this decision!

  6. Kid free zones in planes = fantastic!!
    As a mother of almost 2 children (just 6 weeks to go!) I’d gladly pay the extra fee to not sit next to a little person (even though they may be incredibly well behaved with very prepared parents). If I’m paying out of my own pocket for a child free vacation, I’d spend the extra $50 to pick seats next to individuals who are less likely to vomit on me / try to eat my shoulder.
    On a 2 hour flight from Winnipeg to Edmonton our 1 year old decided to ‘give back’ the bottle of milk he’d consumed 30 minutes prior. No signs, no warning, no crying, just BLOUP, and he went back to watching the movie. My husband and I understood … $#!T happens, vomit happens. The 25 year old guy sitting in the widow seat next to us seemed less than thrilled. Bet you he’d pay the extra fee not to have to sit next to that smelly mess next time.
    Think of it … What’s the nicest/most expensive restaurant in your city? Do they have high chairs/booster seats? Not likely. Would you take your 2 year old there for dinner? Not likely. Your restaurants of choice right now include the ‘family casual’ type places. Not the ‘must have suit jacket’ type places. This is a choice you made when you decided to have kids. Now when you have a babysitter lined up for the evening, do you go to the same ‘family casual’ restaurant? Not likely. You go out for a treat to a nice ‘must have suit jacket’ type place, or a movie that’s not animated, or a play, or *shocking* to a bar/club/21+ establishment. Some places are just not geared for little people. Why should the plane be any different? I’m interested to learn if the people who are so against this are parents themselves? Or just the wishful thinkers.