Family-only section on an airplane? Hell, yeah, say airline passengers in a recent New York Times article.
Thanksgiving and the Holiday Travel season shifts into high gear next week. That equates to millions of babies and toddlers flying the “friendly” skies and many stressed parents working overtime to ensure a smooth flight. As a parent who travels often, we have talked about successful travel tips and best practices on this blog before. Check out our discussion with travel expert, Pauline Frommer, how U.S. Air bends over backwards for parents or this brash, truthful, and to the point list of airline travel tips by The Angry Sahd.
Something groundbreaking in the airline industry that I have never considered is a child-free flight or a family-only section of a plane. These two topics were front and center in a well-written and insightful article in the NY Times this weekend. Please Refrain From Tantrums Onboard by Douglas Quenqua dissects the child-free flight and family only sections in the airline industry. He concludes that both promising ideas will never “fly” with the major carriers in the airline industry based on lack of profitability and not wanting to discourage anyone from taking a flight.
Most interesting to me were these recent cases presented by Quenqua involving 3-year-old toddlers (since my little toddler is almost 2 1/2):
In July, Qantas settled a lawsuit from a woman who claimed that she suffered hearing loss after sitting next to a screaming 3-year-old boy on a 2009 flight from New York to Australia. (Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.) In January, AirTran removed an entire family from a flight before takeoff from Fort Myers, Fla., because their 3-year-old girl was hitting the parents, making noise and refusing to take her seat. And in March, a 42-year-old woman allegedly grabbed a boy (3 years old, again) for kicking her chair during a Southwest flight to Las Vegas.
These facts are an eye opener as well: While few travelers would advocate outright assault, a survey of 2,000 travelers released by Skyscanner, a fare-comparison site, in August found that 59 percent of passengers support creating special sections on flights for families. Nearly 20 percent said they would like to see airlines offer child-free flights.
Where do you stand? Are you in favor of a child-free flight or a designated “family-only section” if given the option?