(Image by Evan Henshaw-Plath)
A recent Frommer’s article raised this question, about whether small children should be banned from flying in Business or First class, if not from flying entirely.
The latter is impractical, for many reasons, but the former raises some interesting issues. If you’re paying for a business class seat, should you be subjected to the disturbance caused by someone else’s child?
And they do disturb. Pretty much anyone who’s flown has endured the crying or kicking or sneezing of a rambunctious kid. Even those who have children admit that their tolerance only extends as far their own; other people’s monsters are just unbearable.
Arguments for the ban used in the article go along the lines of:
“I pay a premium to sit in first or business class and I don’t want my to be disturbed by a crying, screaming or misbehaving child.”
“While I understand the parent pays as much as I do, I don’t disturb them by screaming or crying or misbehaving and I should not have to deal with their child if they are screaming or crying or carrying on.”
“Some children are absolute angels and some act like they are the spawn of Satan. While I understand a child’s or baby’s reaction to the change in environment is unpredictable, that doesn’t mean anyone should be subjected to it either. A person’s choice to have children and fly with said children does not take precedence over or trump my choice to not have children.”
All of these arguments are fair and valid, which is why Malaysia Airlines have banned young passengers on some of its larger jets, Ryanair announced it would begin offering child-free flights earlier this year, and other airlines are expected to follow suit.
It is important to note however, that often disturbances on planes are not caused by the youngest passengers, but by the most inconsiderate of adults.
I’ve had just as many flights with crying babies as I have had sitting next to loud, terrible music blasting from someone’s iPod, Chatty-Cathys forcing me into a conversation, fighting couples, loud teenagers, and plenty others. Should they be banned too?
What do you think?