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The Prospect of Kid-Free “Quiet” Cabins Reemerges

Airlines are again toying with the idea of adults only seating on flights long after carriers had varying degrees of success and failure experimenting with kid-free cabins just a few years ago.

The International Business Times reports that the idea of grownups only seating might be gaining traction once again. Indigo announced this week that rows 1 through 4 and rows 11-14 will be designated as “quiet zones” on all of its flights. Seating will be restricted to passengers twelve years of age and older. Much like past experiments of this nature, the plan is drawing both praise and outrage.

It’s not terribly surprising that the idea of reserving a section of seats on a flight for just adult passengers sounds good to many frequent flyers. Unfortunately, the prospect of banning families with children from certain sections of the plane is also considered insulting to certain other passengers. Airlines that experimented with kid-free quiet zones on flights a couple of years ago did so with very mixed results.

By late 2013, Malaysian Airlines, Thai Airways and Air Asia had introduced seating reserved for only passengers older than twelve years of age on at least some flights. The idea of adult-only cabins seemed ready to take the airline industry by storm, but airlines’ appetite for policing age-restricted cabins faded almost as quickly as it started. While there are still a handful of flights, mostly in Asian markets, with adult only “quiet cabins,” the idea is now thought of as more of a passing fad than a revolution in air travel.

While the controversial idea proved immediately popular with some travelers, in many cases, the logistic hassle of managing an age-restricted inventory of seats proved counter-productive, especially in situations involving equipment changes, flight disruptions or cancellations. More importantly, the extra limits on certain seats doesn’t create a penny of revenue for the airline and it alienated passengers traveling as a family.

US carriers were loath to segregate passengers based on any criteria other than willingness to pay extra. The concept of a no-children-allowed cabin remained popular in other regions of the globe, despite the potential drawbacks, but kid-free cabins remain an exception rather than the rule.

[Photo: Indigo]

Comments are Closed.
Ivelisse October 4, 2016

At least in AirAsia seems to be popular choice. Last month i took KUL-AKL-KUL and used the quiet zone option, i think i paid $25dlls per leg, it was worth, in one flight was 100% full and the other one maybe 80%. It's available in the AirAsia X long haul service which use the A330 and it's the part of the cabin which in a regular airline would be business. After take off one parent switched seats from the regular cabin to the quiet zone with his toddler, the kid started crying and promptly the crew came and told him to please move to his assigned seat, kids weren't allowed there. For a 12hrs flight to New Zealand (stop over in Australia included!), it was totally worth!! If this was available in more long hauls i wouldn't mind paying for it!!

dogcanyon October 2, 2016

"More importantly, the extra limits on certain seats doesn’t create a penny of revenue for the airline and it alienated passengers traveling as a family." Maybe or maybe not. If the seats otherwise would have been unsold but are instead filled with passengers fleeing other brat-infested airlines they certainly would create additional revenue. As far as 'alienating' passengers traveling as a family, what about passengers traveling as a family who ruin the flight for all those around them with their kids who scream and cry all night long on a transatlantic flight or those who allow their feral kids to kick the seats in front of them for hours on end and do nothing, even when asked to correct them? I have actually had parents cavalierly hold their sick kids up in the air facing backwards and allow them to sneeze all over the passengers in the row behind them. Stop being so politically correct and realize that there are two sides to this issue. Just because the mom and dad HAVE to put up with their brats' awful behavior doesn't mean they are entitled to ruin the flight for everybody else.

emcampbe October 2, 2016

Sorry, this just doesn't work. It's like the old days where there were rows you could smoke in in the back. If it was from row 40 - 45, guess what, if you were in row 39, or 36, it didn't matter that you were in a "no smoking" row. You can contaitn kids in certain areas of the cabin, but that doesn't mean you aren't going to hear a kid if they want to scream. As a parent who travels a lot with a toddler, usually well behaved, but we've had a couple of bad flights. And us being in row 8 didn't mean that folks in row 16 didn't hear her. Might work to keep the noise within a cabin where there are, say, suites in front of you vs. the bulkhead in economy. Maybe. But certainly, if all that's there is a divider wall and curtain, sorry, no. And certainly not on Indigo, where the cabin is one. On another note, doing this by age may not be much of a help. Here in the US, I've probably seen more screaming adults than babies. At least there is an excuse for babies, who don't really know any better. The adults who do so should know better, but don't.

1readyset2go October 1, 2016

I doubt it will catch on but I can dream!

JoeKayaker October 1, 2016

Google "westjet kid free flights video". Hilarious.