Are child-free sections on planes a good idea?

Should planes introduce child-free sections? (Getty Images)
Should planes introduce child-free sections? (Getty Images)

What's happening?

Last month Turkish-Dutch airline Corendon announced it will be creating a child-free section on flights between Amsterdam and Curacao in the Caribbean, starting in November. The 93 adults-only seats, reserved specifically for passengers over the age of 16, will be situated at the front of the plane, separated from the other, younger, passengers by walls or curtains. A seat reservation will set wannabe passengers in the grown-ups only zone back €45 per single journey (around £39), while an XL seat costs €100 (around £86) each way.

Commenting on the move Atilay Uslu, founder of Corendon, said the company was introducing the adult-only zone to "appeal to travellers who are looking for some extra peace and quiet during their flight."

"We also believe that this can have a positive effect on parents traveling with small children," he added in a in a press release. "They can enjoy the flight without worrying if their children make more noise."

Why's there a debate?

Flying with children can be a stressful experience for both parents and fellow travellers. The thought of potentially having to share an enclosed space with a baby who can't be calmed down or a toddler who has taken to continuously kicking the passenger in front isn't fun for anyone, but is banning kids from certain parts of the plane the right move?

Earlier this year, Newsweek published results from a poll of 1,500 adults asking if there should be child-free areas on public transit, specifically on aeroplanes and trains.

Interestingly, the survey found that a majority of people were in favour of the idea, with 59% of those quizzed agreeing that a child-free zone on planes and trains would be a positive thing.

Just over a quarter (27%) disagreed with the idea of adult-only zones and 14% were unsure. According to the data, younger people tended to be more in favour of family-free zones more than those in older age groups, with 69% of 25 to 34-year-olds agreeing and 49% of 45 to 54-year-olds with the idea.

Would you pay extra to sit in a child-free section of a plane? (Getty Images)
Would you pay extra to sit in a child-free section of a plane? (Getty Images)

What's next?

Corendon aren't the only airlines introducing child-free sections. AirAsia X have introduced "Quiet Zones" for their long-haul flights, with customers aged 10 and above allowed to book the age-restricted seats at the front of the plane.

Scoot, Singapore’s low-cost carrier, has been offering "Scoot-in-Silence" cabins with a minimum age requirement of 12 for passengers booking adults-only seats.

And with the results of the above survey it seems there's a demand for more airlines to follow suit.

The Perspectives

Planes don't need child-free zones

"Do people travelling alone or with other adults not realise that every parent who is boarding a plane is hyper aware that none of their fellow passengers want to spend the whole of their flight listening to a baby cry or a child whinging in the seat behind them? Believe me – neither do we! There is no need to make us feel worse by introducing child-free zones – what are we, the modern-day equivalent of lepers?" Sarah Whiteley, Metro.

Why shouldn't we avoid the issues?

"I have been on flight three hours or even long haul with a baby in front of me, behind me and adjacent to me screaming throughout the entire flight. And I know it's not the baby's fault, but why not avoid all the problems and all the stress and put me up front?

"Airlines haven't bothered to configure the aeroplane and you've got everybody dotted around higgledy piggledy and families are everywhere," Kate Mulvey said on BBC's Today programme.

Put your headphones in and get over it

"I have had many flights where my children have vomited all the way home. I've had chairs replaced because one child wet their pants. But the point is, it's a short amount of time. And I find that children aren't the worst people on planes. I've been on planes with like six guys from a stag do all in Dolly Parton dresses, drinking, smelling dreadfully. Honestly, just put your headphones in. Get over it. It's fine." Helen Thorn from ScummyMummies, said on BBC's Today programme.

Some people believe adult-only sections on planes are a good idea. (Getty Images)
Some people believe adult-only sections on planes are a good idea. (Getty Images)

It would put parents at ease

"Airlines positioning flights or areas of the plane as ‘family friendly’ would put a lot of parents at ease. I’m due to fly abroad next week with my two under three and already feel a little nervous. If I knew that I'd have others who are sympathetic to how tricky it can be to travel with toddlers and babies on the flight it would really help. Traveling with kids is hard going and not having people tutting or giving you annoyed looks would make flying a little less stressful." Hannah Hardman, told Yahoo UK.

Everyone will be more relaxed

As a parent, I've experienced an overtired toddler having a full on meltdown while being strapped to me and felt the eyes of the other passengers burning into the back of my seat, and heard the tuts. It makes you feel even worse, really puts your parenting skills to test and is horrible being stuck in a confined space while feeling like that.

Having separate areas will mean that parents don't have to worry about all that, they are all in the same boat (plane) together and there will be more support where everyone is sat altogether. Parents will be more relaxed, which will help their child feel more relaxed.

Also, it will stop there being tension when passengers don't want to give up their window seat for a child or swap so families can sit together." Kirsty Ketley, told Yahoo UK

It would be better for everybody

"We’ve got business class, we’ve got first class, why can’t we have a family section? Surely that would be better for everybody? You’ve got miserable, moany people like me who do not want your delightful children wailing in my ear for my flight." Kelly Rose Bradford told ITV's This Morning.