We've all been on a flight where we are stuck in an unideal situation, and every time that happens, it seems that there is some sort of child antics that are making it worse. But is a child-free flight a solution, or adding to the problem?
Here were some of the answers.
Silence Is Golden
On some east coast trains Amtrak made "quiet cars" where silence is king. I'd support "quiet flights" where the only sounds are the engines, occasional pilot announcements (if entering turbulence, etc.) and the flight attendants' cart wheels wobbling down the aisle.
This Is Worse
I would prefer flights without people who stand in the isle while people are boarding.
Commercial Flights Are Already So Expensive
I wouldn't go out of my way to support or avoid it. I'm going with the cheapest flight at the best time that works for me. I'd rather spend my money on a fabulous dinner and drinks once I get to the destination. Plus, you know the airplane is going to suck anyways, spend the least amount possible and knock yourself out with some anti-anxiety meds.
Children Aren't The Problem
A perfect flight is one where:
- Everyone checks in their luggage except for a small carry-on.
- Overweight people get appropriately sized seats instead of taking half of their neighbour's seat.
- You have some space between your knees and the seat in front of you.
- The seats have restricted inclination so no one has to have someone else's head in their lap.
- The wifi actually works and is free.
- The outlets work and can charge your device.
- The snack and drink is actually a "snack and drink" not 1 oz. of warm soda and 3 pretzel sticks.
- Your fellow fliers took a shower that morning.
- People are generally quiet and polite.
Doesn't seem like much to ask for, but to get all this on a transatlantic flight would cost you upwards of $10,000 per seat.
What Is A Child?
Im 100%for child free flights but in this case "child" cannot be simply defined by age. If there's a 2 yr old that is behaved and not causing problems, then I'm cool with that. The 40-year-old dude that is yelling and hollering needs to be outta there.
It's Really The Parents
When I was around 16 we went on a family holiday to Barbados. This started with a one hour flight from Edinburgh to London Gatwick where we'd catch our flight to Bridgetown.
So in the check in line at Edinburgh there's a family, 2 parents, one daughter maybe my age, possibly a wee bit older, and three kids under 10. The wee ones are running around all over the place while the parents seem to ignore them. We think "fine, it's the general British Airways checkin, they're probably flying to Heathrow."
They weren't. They were two or three rows behind us.
We get through Gatwick connections and security and don't see them so they're probably at a gate across the airport.
Yeah they weren't. As we're boarding the plane we see them sprinting towards the gate. And of course they're in the two rows in front of my family. Oh and this is an 8 hour overnight flight so we're in for a night of no sleep.
The kids were out of control, screaming constantly, climbing over the seats, running up and down the aisle (even into first class much to the anger of the first class stewardess) and no matter what other passengers and crew say, the parents just won't do anything. That was a very long eight hours.
Thankfully they weren't staying at our hotel and we were staying for the unusual length of 12 night so there was no chance they'd be on our flight back.
Take a guess what happens next.
Luckily they were right at the back for the long flight and nowhere near us on the short jaunt back up to Edinburgh.
In short, I don't support child-free flights, I support sh*tty parent-free flights.
The Children Were Never The Problem
I've had more problems with adults being loud and obnoxious than children. I'm not really for child-free flights, but I've also never had a bad experience with children on a flight.
Crying In Real Time
I log probably about 100 flights a year for work. Kids aren't really a problem. The worst was a kid crying most of a cross country red-eye. But that was years and years ago. Most kids will cry for 5-10 minutes at a time.
And if it really bothers you, a decent set of noise cancelling headphones will run $300 tops. Far less than an airline would charge you for 2-3 "child-free" flights.
I used to fly frequently and now fly only once or twice a year. Children? Occasional problems. Rare even. Adults? Basically an inversion of that. Person of size, elbows, kicks to the seat, grabbing the seat to stand up, smelly, using the tray table as an elbow rest and can't sit still, the list goes on. How about child seat discounts?