Kid-Free Zones on Airplanes = Fail

by Matt Villano

Kid-Free Zones on Airplanes = Fail

Earlier this week, another airline announced that part of its economy cabin will be kid-free. When is this ridiculousness going to end?


My blood pressure goes up every time I read about airlines considering kid-free zones. Naturally, then, when I read about AirAsia’s announcement this week to reserve the first seven economy class rows as a “Quiet Zone,” I nearly had a coronary.


“Quiet Zone,” of course, is their euphemistic way of saying that this part of the plane is reserved for guests 12 and older. If you haven’t hit puberty, you can’t sit there. Period. (Actually, the airline says it reserves the right to allow children to sit there for “operational, safety, or security reasons.” But still.)


Granted, this ridiculous news is happening halfway across the world; after Malaysia Airlines made similar news in April, both of the carriers that have promised kid-free zones are in Asia.


Still, quite predictably, American news outlets salivated over details of this latest announcement.


Selling point No. 1: No extra fees! AirAsia promises no extra fees for guests to sit in this section, except for the additional cost for seats with extra legroom. Selling point No. 2: No kids within earshot! Because bulkheads and bathrooms separate this section from the rest of the plane, people in this section likely will sit nowhere near any of kids at all.


The way these stories are written, the way the comment fields are filled with hatred from flyers fantasizing about trips without youngsters—it truly makes me sick.


How would people feel if an airline touted special sections excluding people for similarly arbitrary reasons?


As the situation gets more ridiculous, I can almost envision the day jetBlue reserves four rows for people with less than 2 percent body-fat, or the day Delta charges extra for passengers with DNA that links their ancestors to Eastern Europe. In fact, it’d be downright awesome if United would set aside part of the cabin for passengers with an IQ over 140.


I know I’ve spewed some of these suggestions previously, and I surely will voice them again.


Who knows? If airlines continue to treat us family travelers as Hantavirus-carrying pariahs, maybe I’ll go buy a megaphone and start stumping in real life for one of these wacky notions, just to make a point.


The more ink we give to this issue of kid-free zones on airplanes, the more absurd the whole thing gets.


Haters, if you really want to fly without the “threat” of screaming children nearby, max out your credit cards and go by some jets. Otherwise, suck it up! We family travelers have every right to fly with our kids, and we’ll be damned if we let you or any insignificant regional Asian airlines take that away from us. Ever.