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Singapore’s Scoot Airlines Creates ScootinSilence Child-Free Cabin

by on August 21, 2013 · 11 comments

in Airline Industry, Family Travel

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Singapore Airlines announced that it has created a child-free zone on its budget carrier Scoot Airlines’ planes and that passengers can “upgrade” to this newly dubbed “ScootinSilence” area – reserved for travelers 12 and above – for about $14.

Scoot is the latest airline to introduces a child-free zone on its flights, following in the flight path of rival Air Asia (based in Malaysia), which created a “Quiet Zone” on its long-haul intra-Asia flights in February, and international carrier Malaysia Airlines, which banned babies under the age of two from its A380 and 747 first class cabins back in 2012.

The child-free zone will be in Scoot's Stretch cabin.

The child-free zone will be in Scoot’s Stretch cabin.

Scoot operates 777-200 aircraft on mid- and long-haul routes. The ScootinSilence zone will be in a mini-cabin right behind business class, with 41 seats in rows 21-25. In addition to the hopefully more peaceful flight, the seats will also have 35 inches in pitch (about 4 more inches of legroom), so you’re getting a little added physical comfort as well.

970751-scoot

Personally, I don’t mind kids on planes. Partly that’s because I’m usually towards the front of the plane, where there tend to be fewer of them, and they tend to be pretty well behaved. Also, kids cry. It’s just a fact of life, and parents are usually good about trying to quiet them down quickly on airplanes so as not to disturb the other passengers – so I think we should cut parents some slack when traveling with their kids. And if a normal noise level is just too much for you, do what I do and get a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones like the Bose QC15 Headphones I bring everywhere with me.

However, survey after survey seems to support the creation of these zones by a majority of travelers. Last year, a Telegraph survey found that nearly 70% of respondents would favor a child-free zone on flights, and just last month, website GoCompare.com released the results of a survey on the biggest in-flight annoyances and misbehaving children ranked #1 and crying children ranked #2 – above drunk passengers, a rude cabin crew, and a chatty neighbor among other irritations. Personally, I say forget the crying kids – I’d love an airline that required you to get a rationality check from your doctor before letting you board.

Ever feel like your flight looks like this? A Sonic milkshake might not help!

Ever feel like your flight looks like this? A Sonic milkshake might not be enough!

We’ve all had experiences where parents aren’t doing anything and a child is just running wild on a plane or screaming their head off. I can understand how a screaming child (or one kicking the back of your seat) can get very frustrating very quickly. Especially if you’re on a long-haul flight and your prospects of getting any rest fly out the window, so I do think it’s interesting that more airlines are giving passengers the chance to opt out of that experience.

That said, I’m not entirely sure I’d pay to sit in a quiet zone. Airplanes are pretty compact, enclosed spaces, so there’s no telling how much sound would carry from other parts of the aircraft to the child-free zone.

However, I would consider it for this price and the fact that the seats in the zone are in a separate mini-cabin up front (from what I can see in these Jaunted pics) and you get more legroom. Because no matter how you like it, ancillary fees are becoming a bigger and bigger part of the flying experience these days, and while I am disappointed when airlines raise them on certain amenities – like when all the major US legacy carriers raised their ticket change fees to $200 this spring – I don’t mind paying when it’s something optional, and you actually get something for your money.

What I’m most interested in is whether any US airlines will follow the trend and start testing out child-free rows or even whole flights, though I don’t know of any that are planning it at the moment.

Would you pay $14 to sit in a child-free zone?

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  • tjh8402

    the biggest issue ive had with kids is not just the screaming but the seatback kicking.

  • LarryInNYC

    I always seat our family two-behind-two, so the kids would only be kicking our seats. In reality, they’ve never been seat-kickers and my biggest problem is generally adults pounding on the touchscreen IFE.

  • eupnrth8

    I took two Scoot flights last year. $14 to get a a child-free cabin is about 20% of what I paid for a flight between Gold Coast and Singapore. This is the nicest low-cost carrier I’ve been on.

  • Steve

    I have a baby and we’re taking our first international flight with him and I’ve always been pretty tolerant of kids except when the parents wouldn’t do anything if they were misbehaving. (That’s not to say I enjoyed sitting next to young kids.)

    Despite now being on the “other” side of the parent divide, if I were traveling alone, I’d pay $14 to sit in this zone. That’s very reasonable. Actually, I think parents might be the first to pay if they’re not traveling with their kids :)

  • Rob P

    Don’t noisy children in Singapore get caned?

  • John Adams

    I was in Scoot’s ‘People-Free’ business class two weeks ago on a flight from SIN-BKK. Out of 32 business class seats I was the only one. I hope they stay in business as it was a very nice flight.

  • leanne t

    as the parent of 6 yr old twins that have just had flight no. 160, i would like to give my children the option to get away from adults that obviously arent used to flying or find it stressful etc. they are awful to be near and as very well travelled children, i can tell you, my 6 yr olds could rival the points guy in getting around any aspect of airports and lounges. yes we go into lounges. Its about realistic expectations. i travel with them alone as my husband is typically going to and from other places as we meet up with him. If the airlines did more to accomodate kids, they wouldnt be such a problem. flight staff arent tolerant and dont manage them [delta staff have really kicked it up lately] and the airlines that havent made these provisions how to deal with them – to do kits, more entertainment across all ages, and serving them food first… yes first so that they are done and can get to sleep or activities quicker. why should my kids now have to put up with other kids that arent well behaved.. thats discrimination. kids cant help what the developmental stage is and for some like my kids, its a necessity not a choice. it doenst matter what you do when you travel with kids, someone always gets their nose out of joint… we travel long haul at least twice a year so we know how to travel with less stress. 90% of people dont yet they are making judgements. as tpg says, get some headphones and be realistic. they are kids and the big people need to show the way.. and this is not showing the way.

  • cotoneloc

    I’m a bit torn on this topic. While part of me would pay a lot more than $14 to not have my seat back turned into a bass drum or jungle gym I also question why I should have to pay a premium when I’m not the one causing the disruption?

    TPG, A child free zone is not just about noise control, it’s also about personal space.

    On a recent flight from LAX>OGG, I was seated in a middle seat with young girl to my left and her father across the aisle. Despite the fact that she only took up half her seat, she still managed to kick my leg every time she tried to get comfortable. When she finally tuckered herself out, she decided that my leg was a pillow and took a nap in my lap. When she awoke, she showed no concern for my laptop and nearly spilled a full cup of soda on it.

    First and foremost, her father should have been more cognizant of her behavior but I also think that the airline shares responsibility as it should have found them two seats next to each other so he would have been better able to control her actions.

    Thoughts?

  • Kimberly Rotter

    There’s a big argument for breastfeeding here. I almost never see breastfed kids throw a fit on a plane. It’s a very easy and available way to calm them.

    And I agree 100% with the commenter who noted that airlines should ALWAYS seat kids with their parents. I’d say up to age 14 at least.

    But I disagree with the suggestion that the parents of babies should be the ones to pay. We were all kids once. Anyone who resents their mere presence needs an attitude adjustment and a little acceptance.

  • Ryan

    Flew Scoot 6 months ago. Was quite impressed and their flights are INSANELY cheap.

  • Vitaly

    Many times I sat next to a child and had a wonderful flight just because I had a bit more personal space and full use of a seat handle :) Almost any type of noise can be helped with a decent pair of headphones.
    On the opposite spectrum, few times I had a change to seat next to some bug guys, whose shoulders where wider then the seat, and it was not a fun trip.
    Obviously it all varies, but I’d rather try my chances in a cabin full of kids.

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