Some airlines have created cabin classes to avoid the mix of cantankerous babies and intolerant travellers. Photo/Getty Images
“Why aren’t there any adult-only flights? I would pay SO much money.”
Such was the fate of a woman whose three-hour flight was punctured by the cries of an unhappy toddler.
With her noise canceling headphones not working, Tiktok creator Mo couldn’t help but share the pain in a viral video.
“The child was WELL over 5, and they sat directly behind me while kicking my chair while the mother slept,” she added.
More than 70,000 viewers have sided with her since she first posted the clip last month.
Unfortunately, no matter how much you’re willing to pay, there are currently no commercial airlines that offer an adult-only experience.
That doesn’t mean airlines don’t see the appeal as well. He’s featured in Ryanair and Westjet’s April Fool’s Day jokes, suggesting that budget carriers know a baby-free cabin is high on many travelers’ wish list and would charge for it if they could.
A mischievous social media campaign to ‘ban babies in business’ fell on deaf ears, with most airlines saying it was not a practical option.
But short of chartering your own private jet, is there any way to be sure you’re not sitting in front of – and within walking distance of – a hyperactive child?
It’s a pet peeve for passengers, especially in the wee hours of a pan-Pacific flight to Auckland. And for travelers with kids, who can’t help but recoil in embarrassment when their little one tears through a sleeping travelers cabin like a pint-sized hooligan.
Wouldn’t a nursery class cabin be in the interest of everyone involved?
That doesn’t mean some airlines haven’t tried.
Here are five airlines that promise child-free zones for passengers with a low tolerance for toddlers.
No more tears: airlines with child-free zones
Air Asia X
When Air Asia’s low-cost subsidiary announced it would arrive in New Zealand from November, the budget Trans-Tasman flights weren’t the only thing catching travellers’ attention.
Since 2013, Air Asia X has offered a “quiet zone” cabin class forward of the economy section. Open to passengers aged 10 and over, for a small fee passengers can reserve seats to ensure quiet. Occupying the first seven rows of their Airbus 330s, it promises to be an oasis for children.
Of course, that comes with the caveat that adults also reduce noise.
The Airbus A380 double-decker fleet owned by Malaysia Airlines has fitted a child-free cabin on the upper deck.
The airline is also one of the few to have taken the decision to ban travelers under the age of 12 from traveling in first class in their A380 or 747 fleet. However, babies are still allowed in the class cabin. business, which can accommodate six cradles.
Japan’s national airline courted controversy in 2019 by allowing passengers to choose seat selection away from infants under 2.
Although not strictly a baby-free cabin, the airline’s online reservation system still displays a smiling baby icon which sensitive travelers should avoid. Although the airline says it’s not a perfect system “it lets other passengers know a child may be sitting there”.
Singapore Airlines’ low-cost sister company offers a “ScootinSilence” entry fee to be seated away from children under 12. There is a specific quiet zone between business and economy class on board Scoot’s A320 fleet. The carrier also says it has the advantage of quick disembarkation before economy class seats. Hush!
One of India’s largest airlines has seen the lure of an infant-free cabin class, preventing travelers under the age of 12 from booking seats in rows 1-4 and 11-14. The airline has said the zones were “created for business travelers who prefer to use the quiet time to get their work done.”
Although it was pointed out that some of these seats were around rows with emergency exits, where babies are not allowed to sit anyway.