Earlier this month, a small, Turkish airline called Corendon announced a revolutionary idea. On one of its long haul flights from Amsterdam to Curacao, passengers will have to be at least 16 years old to sit in the front of the plane. This new, kid-free zone, one can imagine, gives frequent flyers a gleeful glimpse into a future where all airlines offer such a premium experience. Of course, travelers have to pay a little extra for the experience. Let’s look at “kid-free” and “quiet” zones – an experience also being marketed by AirAsia right now.
AirAsia’s Quiet Zone Explained
AirAsia has introduced the concept of a “Quiet Zone,” reserved for passengers over the age of 10 in rows 7-14. The idea is that one can escape the littles and perhaps catch a few zzzz’s or indulge in a good book without the annoying sounds of small children here! The cost for such serenity is a small fee of course.
Is this idea of a kid-free zone a flight of fancy, or a realistic solution to crying babies in the air?
The Dilemma of Tiny Travelers
Flying with littles can be stressful for both parents and passengers. Kids aren’t always in harmony with the travel etiquette expected in tight, shared spaces like airplanes. Just try reasoning with a toddler on a 747. As a parent, I can promise kids aren’t on your flying wavelength. They may or (more likely) may not get the need for quiet.
From nonstop wailing, crying and tantrums to poorly-timed bathroom breaks (or accidents), children can be a source of distress for travelers without kids – especially those trying to get some rest or work done during the flight. It’s a real bummer.
Enter the concept of a kid-free zone, or as AirAsia calls it, the “Quiet Zone.” This is a designated section of the plane where passengers over 10 can find serenity without kid noise. This idea has obvious merits.
The Practicality of the Quiet Zone
Creating a child-free zone does raise a question or two. Could it be seen as discriminatory? Does it put families into second-class citizen status? After all, families also have the right to travel and enjoy their journey, even if it does involve the noise of a rugrat or three.
On the flip side, introducing a Quiet Zone might be viewed as a reasonable compromise—a choice rather than a mandate. Families could still opt for seats outside this zone if they prefer, and those seeking a more peaceful environment would have the opportunity to do so as well.
Navigating the Friendly Skies
Perhaps a balanced approach is the key. Airlines might offer passengers a choice of reserving seats in either a Quiet Zone or a Family Zone. This would allow travelers to select their preferred setting based on individual preferences.
We could also encourage passengers to show understanding and empathy towards families traveling with young children. Perhaps parents could even be provided with tips and tricks to make the journey as pleasant as possible for everyone.
The idea of a kid-free zone on airplanes is an intriguing proposition, and airline innovations like Corendon’s and AirAsia’s set examples of how it could be implemented. However, the ultimate goal should be finding a balance that respects the needs and rights of all passengers. What do you think? Is it a good or even great idea? Or does this sort of policy create more division for travelers? Let us know in the comments below!