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The “Happy Baby” Seating Map Lets You Avoid Kids on Planes

Japan Airlines’ “happy baby” symbol has gone viral. If you’re new to JAL, the “happy baby” symbol is intended to let other flyers know ahead of time if their preferred seat might be near a small child and will ideally allow passengers unhappy with the arrangement to opt for a different selection.

The headlines announcing that Japan Airlines (JAL) has added a feature to its seat selection option allowing flyers to see where infants are located in the seating chart, might make it sound like the Japanese flag carrier is anti-child, but the feature is actually being billed as a consideration for parents traveling with small children. The general idea is that seatmates who know what to expect prior to boarding will be, if not more accommodating, certainly less obviously irritated by the seating arrangement.

“Every traveler has their pet peeves, but crying babies are almost guaranteed to grate,” CNN’s Jack Guy wrote this week. “Now Japan Airlines has revealed a new tool that lets you dodge infants when you book your seat.”

The airline actually describes the online tool in slightly different terms. The feature is sold more as a way of allowing fewer patient seatmates to self-identify.

“Passengers traveling with children between 8 days and 2 years old who select their seats on the JAL website will have a child icon displayed on their seats on the seat selection screen,” the carrier explains on its website. “This lets other passengers know a child may be sitting there.”

In fact, JAL is consistently ranked among the best carriers in the world when it comes to flying with children. The airline offers special services on the ground as well as priority boarding, low-allergen kids meals, the complimentary use of child safety seats onboard, specialized amenity kits for junior flyers and even free diapers upon request.

The airline says the “happy baby” icon might not always be accurate in cases when travel is booked as part of a tour or using award tickets, the seats are not selected through the JAL website or if there is a change in aircraft. There is one other situation in which the infant might relocate. Passengers traveling with an infant are given first priority for seats equipped to accommodate a bassinet, even if another childless passenger has already reserved those seats.

For more FlyerTalk on Japanese Airlines, head here.

Comments are Closed.
mvoight October 3, 2019

fairsha- I think the issue is it might cause pedophiles to sit closer to the child

txpenny September 30, 2019

USA should copy and add an icon for emotional support animals. Well done, JAL.

fairhsa September 30, 2019

As usual the comments are more interesting than the article. Luckily for those worried about privacy the name of the kid is not displayed, just a logo showing a kid. So I can't see how it violates privacy! And while I totally wish someone would bad kids from planes, I can't see the child abuse angle working any time soon.... sometimes babies do emigrate with their parents and I don't think sea voyages are that popular these days!

mhrb September 29, 2019

Thank christ why did this take so long?! If I've paid for a ticket I want to be seated amongst people who are capable of behaving in a public space.

mark2 September 28, 2019

Is an aircraft cabin big enough for it to make a difference how far you are from a crying baby?