Indian budget airline IndiGo has announced plans for child-free zones on its planes and they’ve faced a lot of backlash – but is it justified?
Eight rows on its flights will be reserved for over-12’s only, for the “comfort and convenience of all passengers”. Many parents have blasted the company for its decision, claiming that it alienates families and causes more stress to an already difficult time for some travellers.
But what’s the problem? Families are not being made to pay extra for their kids, they’re not being kicked off the plane and there’s only eight rows they can’t sit in. We spoke to some people with and without kids to find out their views on the controversial plans.
“I think it’s a good idea on long haul/bigger planes. It can be a bit of a nightmare if you’ve got a 12 hour flight next to a baby. Also I don’t think it’ll make much difference to a family if they can’t sit in a certain eight rows, it wouldn’t bother me. I think it would be pointless on small planes though.”
“I think it is more about justifying the charge for choosing your seat or taking the chance of where you will be placed. They play on the fear you may not be seated with your child unless you pay to choose seating for each member of the party, and now they are trying to convince single flyers who previously may not have chosen a seat to choose one in adult only area.”
Francesca De Franco
“I’m a mum of 3 and think it’s a great idea. Nice for kid-free passengers; also nice for parents as they don’t feel pressurised.”
“Kid-Free zones sound like a traveller’s paradise to me. While I understand the need for whole families to move large distances, I don’t see the problem in me as a non-family man not wanting to go through the same trials and tribulations families do. I’m not saying kids can’t go on flights – fairly certain that would be discrimination – but kid-free zones seem perfectly reasonable. There are quiet carriages on trains, it’s a similar principle. Basically, misery shared is misery doubled. Please don’t share your misery with me.”
“I would rather sit next to a child than a drunk adult! What about flights during school holidays? Surely if 8 rows have to be child free then the plane might end up with empty seats when families would fill them but can’t have them?”
“I wouldn’t want to be stuck next to someone who clearly isn’t happy if your child was playing up so I would be all for it. If they want to pay a premium not to sit next to kids then I think that’s fair enough, plus saves parents the added stress of worrying about getting stuck next to people like that.”
“It does feel a bit insulting as a parent, like it’s being assumed that my kids will be badly behaved and it is a bit off-putting to me. My kids are no problem on a plane, but the amount of times I’ve had to deal with a rowdy stag do would make me pay to ensure that never happens again.”
“I have no problem sitting with well-behaved kids but I don’t appreciate the ones who constantly kick the back of your seat or lean over the top of it while their parents choose to be oblivious to it, so in those situations I would definitely prefer to be in a child-free zone and would pay for the privilege.”
Sarah Rose Gregory
“The people who request these spaces have sadly buried the concept of community and need children and people in their life more.”
“My only concern is my family sit together on the plane, it doesn’t matter where on the plane we are sat.”
“I’ve noticed a few airlines have specifically said they won’t be doing this and that they will continue to be family friendly, so I’ll just be sticking to those airlines where my whole family feels welcome.”