You’ve been there. You’re tired, jet-lagged, just want to go home, but two rows over a baby with the healthiest lungs imaginable is testing them at full force. Or the three-year-old behind you is pounding the back of your chair with his light-up sneakers. Or (my own personal nightmare) the kid in the seat next to has turned green and is reaching for the air sick bag.
At some point we’ve all been on a flight disturbed by kids, but now a movement is beginning to persuade airlines to provide childfree flights or at least family only sections. I must say, I can’t quite decide where I stand on this.
Over the years, I think I’ve had relatively good luck with babies on flights, but when my luck has turned, it’s turned big. This summer we flew from LA to Vancouver on a flight that had connected with one from Fiji. There were lots of families on board and the whole three-hour trip was like a bad day at the Whacky Warehouse. The flight back was no better and we’ve vowed not to fly that airline again, at least not on that route.
But a childfree flight? The NY Times article prompted this letter to the editor, and while I don’t wholly agree with her argument (yes, all babies cry, but that doesn’t mean they should be taken to restaurants, the movies, or on long-haul flights) she makes some good points. Childfree flights feel elitist and while I like the idea in theory, I can’t actually see myself paying more for the privilege. And a family section on a plane? Remember the days when planes had smoking sections? Confining children to one section is like giving them carte blanche to run riot.
I think this debate is going to go on from some time. Where do you stand? Would you pay more for a childfree flight or do we all just need to get along?