Friday 6 August 2010

When 85% just isn't enough

'But what can be done to keep everyone happy? There have been suggestions that there should be family-only sections in planes where everyone with young children could sit.

One survey found that 85% of the 10,000 people questioned thought this was a good idea. Many of them were parents.'

That's from a piece on the BBC that explains 'Why flying with children can spoil a dream trip'

As someone that is regularly pissed off on a plane by small children screaming near me, kicking the back of my seat or turning round from the seat in front of me to dribble and look as though they are about to projectile vomit, I understand exactly how children can ruin a flight. As someone who once witnessed a selfish 'mother' change her little darling's soiled nappy on the seat next to her, I know that I would child-free sections on planes, or preferably child-free flights. So I was intrigued to learn that 'One survey found that 85% of the 10,000 people questioned thought this was a good idea. Many of them were parents.'

I was therefore interested to read the explanations as to why this had not happened:
"At Lufthansa we have no plans to separate cabins. Children are an integral part of life, on board as well. Of course, if we see that there is too much noise in one section and people are feeling unhappy, then we will try to reseat them in other areas of the plane, if possible,"
Children are not an integral part of my life aboard (or indeed not aboard) a plane. As for reseating people who are unhappy, how likely is that? On a full flight?

Tom Otley, editor of Business Traveller magazine, agrees that it is a difficult to envisage family-only sections.
"Many of the self-booking tools now allow you to select your seats, and if you as a family have selected your seats together and are then moved to the back of the cabin with all the other families, that's not customer choice, it's being imposed on you by the airline - and that wouldn't be popular,"
Crap! If there were child-free sections then seats in those areas would just not appear as available to families checking in, an easy bit of programming and a godsend to the traveller who prefers a civilised flight to flying in a f***ing creche.

The BBC article reports that I am not alone in wanting child-free flights:
'For some travellers even child-free sections would not go far enough. Just as there are adult-only hotels and holiday resorts they would like to see totally child-free flights on offer on busy routes. But again, do not hold your breath.


And Lufthansa's Aage Duenhaupt agrees: "I just don't think it's a valid option from a business perspective as we would end up losing bookings from families."'
Again, crap! What about the bookings you might gain from travellers who want a quiet flight, maybe they would even pay a little extra, I know I would? I won't ever fly to Mauritius again after a dreadful flight where the screams of brats kept me awake for a whole flight and left me more stressed after the flight than I had been before my two week holiday.

'So it seems that for now it is just a matter of crossing your fingers, remembering your earplugs and reminding yourself that you too were once a child.'
Indeed I was once a child but I was taught how to behave and disciplined such that I was a good little 'kid' in public. Too many of today's parents seem to have negligible parenting skills and seem to prefer to be their children's friend rather than parent.

Child-free flights please but as an experiment why not try guaranteed child-free sections on flights? How about starting in Business Class where there are normally two small cabins, one of which could easily be designated child-free and the other open to all. How about making all 747 top decks child-free? There are ways of achieving this if only the airlines had a bit of inventive spirit. If any airline needs to brainstorm, I am available...

For more on the child-free life may I recommend a perusal of and a read of Childfree and loving it by Nicki Delfago.


Anonymous said...

Oh you sad misanthrope.

You are probably heading for a lonely old age; and guess what, my sympathy meter is reading zero.

Not a sheep said...

Why am I heading for a lonely old age? Have you heard of a wife, family & friends? Are you relying on your children to look after you in old age? Have you any guarantee that they will?

Alex said...

We once took a 2 week old daughter in the first class cabin on a night flight from New York to London, much to the horror of the other passengers, but she slept the whole way and missed the in-flight move.

If you fly with SleazyJet or CryingAir, you get what you pay for, which is not very much and you can expect to mix with all manner of humanity.

If, on the other hand, you have paid a serious 3 or 4 figure sum to be transported in a metal tube from A to B, you have every right not to feel you are working as an assistant in a kindergarten.

Not a sheep said...

The nappy incident was on BA in Economy (sorry, World Traveller), the flight from hell to Mauritius was in BA Club...

Grant said...

Blimey, this has certainly got your goat, so to speak !
What gets me about some parents, not just in planes, is their utter inability to control their children and happiness to impose them on the rest of us.
It is as if it is some special ability to breed. I mean almost anyone can do it. Even the birds and the bees.
I am referring mainly to the British. I find most children of other nations much better behaved.

Grant said...

Mauritius ? Lucky you. I have always wanted to go but console myself with watching Mauritius TV by satellite in our flat in Gambia.
There are two advantages MBC is far superior to the BBC and Gambian children far better behaved than British !

Pavlov's Cat said...

As someone who once witnessed a selfish 'mother' change her little darling's soiled nappy

Yep happened to me in Business Class flying from Tokyo to London, Happened just after we had taken off and beginning to climb out, the stewardess begged her to wait till the seat belt light went off and she could use the bathroom, but she just carried on.

12 hour flight with the smell of excrement being constantly recycled, it seemed I could smell it everywhere for days afterwards.