Skift Take

For U.S. flyers, children aren't the airborne scourge they're made out to be.

Editor’s Note: Last month we launched a new weekly survey series Skift Asks to test out  assumptions travel industry insiders have about various consumer travel issues, trying to bridge the disconnect between the industry and consumers. See previous Skift Asks here.

Important: The survey is not done on Skift readers, but general U.S. internet adult population, through Google Consumer Surveys.

A week ago Singapore Airlines’ budget carrier Scoot Airlines introduced its  “ScootinSilence” section, up to five rows of aircraft that do not allow children under 12. As special seats go, these kid-free rows come cheap at only $14 each way. Air Asia X already had similar sections on select flights. A survey done of the British public by travel insurance provider Gocompare found that the top two annoyances of British flyers were related to children.

With all this focus on children and planes, we decided to ask the U.S. public whether or not it would pay to avoid children on airplanes.

Turns out, U.S. flyers don’t have much of a problem with children. Either that, or they just don’t want to pay one more fee when they fly. More respondents said that they did not fly than said they would pay a fee to sit in a child-free zone.

This single-question survey was administered to the U.S. internet population from Aug 22-Aug 24, through Google Consumer Surveys, with 1085 responses. The methodology is explained here.

Key Takeaway: More than three out of every five respondents in our survey would not pay extra to sit in a child-free zone, and more than one in five say they don’t travel by plane. Less than 15% of all respondents would pay to sit in a child-free zone.


Key Takeaway: Whether or not flyers will pay to stay away from children is almost exactly equal between genders, with women being only 2.4% more likely to pay to avoid kids.

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Key Takeaway: The 65+ crowd is staying off of airplanes at a higher rate than other parts of the U.S. demographic. Respondents in the kid-having 35-44 range are the least likely to pay while the otherwise coveted 25-34 demo is the most likely to pay to stay away from children.

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Key Takeaway: People in the U.S. south, long stereotyped as being warm and welcoming, are more likely to pay to keep your kids away from them than any other demo. They’re also less likely to fly.

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Key Takeaway: Rural Americans are the least likely to fly, but also the least likely to pay extra to stay away from children.

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Key Takeaway: Respondents at the lowest end of the economic spectrum are least likely to fly, while wealth is no indicator of a willingness to avoid the under-12 set.

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Tags: family, fees, in-flight, skiftasks

Photo credit: A family gets comfortable in coach class. Lars Plougmann / Flickr

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