But Idea Is Probably Unworkable In Practice
we're against children flying... but many on the ANN staff admit to
a sense of dread whenever we see a family with a baby or young
child seated near us on a commercial airliner. Apparently, we're
not alone -- a new poll by airfarewatchdog.com reveals the
frustration most passengers feel when seated next to an active
child or crying baby while flying.
When asked "Should airlines have a section of the plane reserved
for parents with babies and smaller children?" 10,170 or 58% of
respondents answered, "Yes, they should have done this long ago,"
while 27% answered, "Yes, but they never will and it'll never
work." Only 15% answered, "No, this is a bad idea."
The group also notes in comments posted on the Web site's
message boards, some parents with small children said that they
would be in a more understanding and supportive environment were
they to sit with other families rather than next to business
travelers and adults traveling without children.
Admittedly, such seating would be almost impossible to implement
in practice. Air Transport Association spokesman David Castelveter
tells the site children-only sections would be "logistically
difficult" to implement, such as in cases where a passenger
requested and paid for a seat in an adults-only section of the
plane but was forced to sit in the children's section due to an
oversold flight or the substitution of a larger plane for a smaller
Officially, airfarewatchdog.com remains neutral on the issue...
but site creator George Hobica adds that "even a kids-only section
would not prevent truly unruly kids and their parents from being
booted off a flight, as happened on a recent Southwest Airlines
flight to Phoenix when a mother traveling with her four children
was unable to keep them in their seats."
If you want to take steps to avoid having your flight
interrupted by a screaming toddler, or hyperactive five-year-old,
airfarewatchdog.com recommends adult passengers bring a good pair
of noise-canceling headphones, and sitting either in the first of
two exit rows available, or in the row ahead of an exit row.
Granted, you won't be able to recline your seat (not that you
should anyway, really) but you also won't have tiny feet pummeling
your seat back, as little ones can't sit in exit rows.
Business travelers and other should also take very early morning
flights (5:00 am or 6:00 am, if they're available) since parents
can rarely manage to dress, feed, wash, and otherwise organize
infants and toddlers in time to catch flights that early in the
The site also guardedly recommends speaking up. "Talk to the
guardian of the offending child, politely but firmly. Admittedly,
this doesn't always work. Ask a flight attendant to speak with the
parent, or to reseat you. If the situation is really horrendous and
only business or first class is available, ask to be upgraded if
seats are available."
If all else fails, Hobica says, "Just grin and bear it. Or start
wailing, kicking and screaming yourself."