Malaysia Airlines is becoming the Kim Kardashian of family travel news; it seems they can’t help but grab headlines.
The latest: This week, the airline announced that it will launch a kid-free zone in the economy section of the upper deck on certain flights starting July 1. This, of course, comes after the 2011 ban on children in first-class cabins on certain flights.
According to an airline spokesperson, under the new policy families traveling with kids under the age of 12—including lapchildren—automatically will be allocated seats in the main all-economy lower deck.
The corporate PR machine has tried to spin the new approach as a positive, essentially emphasizing that a) Families with children are welcome in the rest of economy class and b) In the event that hundreds upon hundreds of families book a flight, some of these families may actually be seated in the kid-free zone after all.
Still, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to read between the lines, and it seems that Malaysia truly doesn’t like us family travelers.
I get that Malaysia is serving its customers; a lot of business travelers fly these routes, and generally these travelers don’t have the patience for dealing with kids being kids (read: occasionally crying, pooping in a diaper and other totally ordinary things of this nature) on the plane.
Still, as I’ve written before (here—sort of—and here), I can’t help but wonder what kind of fallout the airline would suffer if it segregated other groups of potential customers (No fat people! No grown-ups with acne! No people with moles!) in similar fashion.
Furthermore, I know plenty of teen-agers who behave far worse than most 7-, 8- and 9-year-olds (and some 3-year-olds, for that matter).
In short, the discrimination seems entirely arbitrary. And in this blogger’s opinion, it sucks.
What’s your take? Rave, rant or run wild in the comment field below.