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A crying baby at 30,000 feet is a common, much-documented travel experience (some might say nightmare) that every traveler has had to put up with at one time or another – or sometimes it feels like on every flight! In fact, almost one third of plane passengers say they would be willing to pay extra to be on a child-free flight according to a TripAdvisor UK survey and there is even a section on YouTube of plane passenger reacting to shrieking babies.
No one is saying it’s parents’ fault (well, not usually) – after all, babies cry. A lot! So do a lot of toddlers. But it’s tough being enclosed in a small space for hours at a time with a screaming child, let alone several of them.
That’s why Malaysia-based AirAsia has come up with its own approach to try to make the most passengers as comfortable as possible. It has created a “Quiet Zone” that will be offered on its long haul-flights starting this February, specifically on AirAsia X flights to China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia and Nepal. The zone is a 7-row section of the plane where no one under age 12 is allowed. According to the company’s website, the area offers minimal noise, few disturbances and dim lighting for a more peaceful trip. “Because we know that sometimes all you need is some peace and quiet for a more pleasant journey with us,” AirAsia says on its website.
Sitting in the “Quiet Zone” has no extra charge other than the standard fee that applies for picking a seat anywhere on the plane, which can range from $11 to $35.50 depending on the section.
If you’ll remember, Malaysia Airlines banned babies from its First Class cabins (babies are defined as passengers under two years of age) last year, later deploying a child-free upper deck economy section on its A380 service, leaving many to wonder whether this pioneering move would… take flight.
Now this can be good news or bad news, depending if you are the parent, or the one stuck in the seat next to a screaming child or in front of the toddler who’s prone to kicking them.
No such rules or sections are available on US carriers yet, but I wonder whether it’s only a matter of time.