Have you heard about the Facebook page “Airlines Should Have Kid Free Flights?” The description reads:
How many times have you got on a plane, for business or pleasure and had your flight disturbed by endless crying or screaming or by having the back of your seat endlessly kicked? While everyone has the right to fly I think that there should be some ability to separate out , by flight or by seating area, the people who do not want to put up with the constant and annoying disturbance. The technology exists. A check box while booking or a warning at seat assignment perhaps? As I am careful to avoid bothering the people around me when I fly, I really just want the same consideration – I just want to be able to fly without having my chair kicked, my hearing damaged and my sanity shattered.
How many fans do you think the page has? At the date of publication: 1,099.
In the past year, there have been several pieces on this subject. In January, Matt from LandLopers.com wrote a blog post about the topic. He actually didn’t condone special sections for children, he condoned sections for “bad” parents, meaning parents who can’t control their children’s behavior in the air (more in gest, but the blog raised a very productive discussion amongst other bloggers). Just last week USA Today wrote an article entitled “Should Airlines Create Separate Sections for Kids, Larger Sections?” that stated that a poll taken in August by Skyscanner found that 59% of fliers supported a section reserved for families. It also revealed that a survey in January of 1,000 business fliers based in the United Kingdom by the Business Travel & Meetings Show found that 74% said they would like to see some flights bar children from the business-class cabin.
So, a few days ago when a press release cited that Ryanair is going to offer child-free flights, it brought a flurry of wonder on the web and social media. Was it the truth or an April 1st joke?
According to the Los Angeles Times, the press release cited “a Europe-wide survey of 1,000 passengers” that shows that Ryanair passengers would pay more money to fly child-free. It pointed to these as respondents’ top complaints:
1. 50%: Parents who expect “special treatment” because they have children
2. 25%: Parents who allow children to annoy those in seats behind
3. 15%: Parents who board late and expect others to accommodate them
4. 10%: Parents who allow children to run in the aisles or kick seats
Stephen McNamara, Ryanair’s head of communications, is quoted in the press release as saying:
“When it comes to children, we all love our own but would clearly prefer to avoid other people’s little monsters when traveling. While half our passengers would like us to divide our cabins up into “adult” and “family” areas, it is not operationally possible due to our free seating policy, with optional priority boarding. However, with clear demand for “child free” flights, Ryanair will introduce child-free flights on high-frequency routes from the start of our winter schedule in October.”
Whether this be a joke or not, as it clearly could have been a marketing scheme to draw attention to the airline on April Fool’s Day, which has recently had flight prices increase and new surcharges added, what parent wants to hear that it would even be a consideration? Traveling with children isn’t always easy, but it’s easier with the support of the airline and eveyone around us. Children are just as entitled to travel as anyone else. What are your thoughts? Please comment below.