Should Airlines Have Designated Baby Free Zones?

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AirAsia, a budget airline in Southeast Asia has begun offering a “Quiet Zone” in its airplanes that is designated for passengers twelve and up. This area is separated from the rest of the airplane by the lavatories and bulkheads in order to prevent the Quiet Zone passengers from being disturbed by the sounds of young children.

We are flying from Boston, Massachusetts to London, UK in a few months. I’m terrified to say the least. I’m a horrible flier as is. Add kids and I am teetering on the fringes of parenting sanity. I flew with my daughter when she was eleven months old and while I didn’t lose my mind I was a sack of nerves. She was a breeze to fly with since she was still nursing. This time around it’ll be me, my husband, my two year old daughter, and three year old son who has never flown before. I’m scared.

I am scared of the looks I know we will receive as we settle into first class with two toddlers. I’m nervous that my kids will be afraid and make loud noises of the screaming variety. I’m terrified that some fool with make a comment about said loud noises and send me into a crazy momma bear tirade mid flight requiring me to be forcefully restrained by air marshalls. The pilot would then have to call F-18s or something to escort us to some podunk airport where the angry police people will be waiting with their handcuffs for me. These are real fears. This could happen!

Airplanes are not kid friendly. Everyone is on edge and silently hoping that there will be no screaming babies for the duration of the flight. Trust me I know how it is. I was once a non child having passenger too. There are few things worse than the woefully sad yet blood curdling screams of children in an enclosed inescapable place. However kids are people. They deserve respect and so do their parents. Segregating them to their own section sends the wrong message. It tells society that they are a nuisance and to be avoided. They are not.

We’ve been blessed with kids who behave well most of the time but they’re kids. Excitement or frustration is bound to happen perhaps midflight. So what? Deal with it or get a private jet. You can even pitch in on a private jet share with another family. Yes, I’ve looked into it.

There are plenty of people I find equally or more annoying than loud children. You might have had the misfortune of being seated next to one of these characters at one time. They include: drunk loud talking person, open mouthed breathing snorer, the chair divider hog, the airplane pervert, or everyone’s favorite – the loudly praying crazy person convinced she is going to die (that’s me by the way). These people are crazy annoying yet they get to infest the entire aircraft with their menacing and obnoxious behavior. Why don’t they get their own irritating person section?

Life isn’t always pleasant and neither is flying. Disturbing sights and sounds can be found while using any means of transportation. I won’t even get into some of the things I’ve seen on the Boston subway system. It is inevitable and unavoidable. Flying is no different. I don’t think domestic airlines should partake in this Quiet Zone madness to appeal to the child hating masses.

Children aren’t going anywhere. Learn to live with them. I know some parents aren’t as considerate about their children disturbing others but some male fliers aren’t considerate about not looking down my shirt. Let’s call it a fair trade. Life is full of little inconveniences. I’ll try my best to keep my kids from drowning out that Justin Bieber you’re bumping and you do your best to not fall asleep and breathe in my face. After all, that’s what life is about, a little bit of give and take.

Words By: Veronica Armstrong
Veronica Armstrong is a photographer, blogger, and freelance writer whose stories spring from the cinderblock walls of her married graduate student apartment. You can find her on Google+ or see more of her writing and photography on her blog.

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