With U.S. airlines selling aisle, window and exit row seats for an extra fee throughout the aircraft, child-free zones could be a logistical nightmare even if it were a good idea.
Malaysia budget carrier AirAsia X introduced “quiet zones” on its A330-300 aircraft in February, and passengers 11 years old and under are banned from that section of the aircraft for the sake of “a little peace and quiet.”
AirAsia X CEO Azran OsmanRani tells Skift: “Our A330-300 aircraft all have the first Economy section seats (seven rows 7-14) separated from the other cabins by a galley and exit row doors, so they are distinct from other seats. The Seat map is available here. Only kids above 12 are allowed here.”
The idea has picked up some support among travelers in a UK poll, and on Twitter:
— Rahul Pandita (@rahulpandita) July 13, 2013
Child-free flights? Children remain the biggest in-flight annoyance for travelers – ahead of drunken passengers, http://t.co/0b27SWCpce
— MERCURYcsc (@MERCURYcsc) July 16, 2013
But, although AirAsia X is apparently happy with its kid-free quiet zones, if you think major U.S. airlines are jumping on the bandwagon, then you’d be mistaken.
Spokespeople for US Airways, American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines tell Skift the idea of child-free zones on their aircraft is not under consideration.
The most spirited defense of kids roaming its planes without seat restrictions comes from US Airways.
“No we have not considered offering any child-free zones on our aircraft,” says US Airways spokesperson Andrew Christie Jr. “We at US Airways value all of our customers, including our young adventurers, and our goal is to ensure all of our customers have a safe and pleasant flight experience with us regardless of where they are seated.”
Asked if United Airlines is considering child-free zones on its planes, spokesperson Rahsaan Johnson says: “Simple answer. No.”
There’s similar sentiment about the issue at American Airlines, with a spokesperson saying: “While this question has been asked of AA periodically, we have no plans to create child-free zones and do not have anything to comment on further at this time.”
Delta spokesperson Paul Skrbec says: “It is not something we are considering.”
Southwest Airlines isn’t considering child-free zones, a spokesperson says, adding that A-List RapidRewards members and passengers purchasing Business Select tickets board prior to family boarding, which occurs after boarding group A and before boarding group B. Presumably the early boarders can seat themselves away from the kids, who board later.
Spirit Airlines didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the prospects of child-free zones on its aircraft.
Meanwhile, AirAsia X CEO Azran OsmanRani provided some more comments about how its Quiet Zone program is doing since its launch five months ago:
“It’s working out great. Logistically it’s very straightforward as it doesn’t involve much.
“I think having the choice is great. We’ve had no complaints and many compliments. I think parents with kids have caught onto the idea that they have their zone they can sit in, and no longer need to feel guilty if their child cries because they can tell fellow passengers, that if they cared, they would have selected a seat in the Quiet Zone.
“Overall, there has been a slight increase in the take up rate of our seat assignment fee (people who pay to choose where to sit on the plane) but it’s not very significant.”
For more on how AirAsia X does it, consider how it describes its Quite Zone procedures:
AirAsia X Quiet Zone
Shhhh…everyone needs a little peace and quiet. That’s why we at AirAsia X have created the Quiet Zone for your peace of mind when flying with us.
Quiet Zone will be available this February 2013. Be one of the firsts to pick your seats now!
Why pick Quiet Zone?
|Located just after our Premium cabin from rows 7 – 14.|
|Minimal noise with no disturbances.|
|Soft ambient lighting.|
|No additional charges for Quiet Zone, only our Hot or Standard seat charges apply (RM 35 for Economy and RM 110 for Hot Seats).|
Who can sit in the Quiet Zone?
|•||Guests aged 12 and above.|
|•||Guests who are not travelling with guests under 12 (kid or infant).|
How to pick a seat in the Quiet Zone?
|1||Select the pick a seat option when you book a flight or check-in.|
|2||Ensure to choose a seat within the Quiet Zone area, rows 7 – 14.|
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Tags: airline seats
Photo credit: Kids like to travel. It's just that some adults don't necessarily enjoy their company on long-haul flights. Lars Plougmann / flickr.com