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Separate airplane sections for those annoying kids?

U17347486Before I had kids, I was one of those people who dreaded a flight near kids.  Of course now that the shoe is squarely on the other foot, I have incredible patience for all parents flying with children.  As do many other people, I have been delighted to find.  Except the man in front of us on our last cross-country flight who asked the flight attendant to have us moved - and mamas, trust me on this one, we were having fun but we were seated and definitely not crying.  And not a word to me, mind you.  So infuriating. 

But this is an age-old issue - that we've discussed before - so not one to really write about, you know?  Until I heard this recent NPR piece on the idea of creating separate sections on planes for children and us parents. Which he likens to a separate smoking section.  No really, he said it.  And the guy who ran this 25,000 person (admittedly informal) online survey has no kids - natch! 

I guess the reason I find this worthy of urbanMama space is the decidedly anti family friendly feeling it gives me, the sense (yet again) that children are not embraced as part of our society, but rather a nuisance for many.  Too loud, too messy, too something. Ugh.  Why can't we all be friends?  Just don't quarantine me, thanks. Next we'll have separate sections for people with loud i-pods, large bodies, long legs, bad breath, to name other potentially 'objectionable' qualities that might just get you quarantined in the air.  My, my.  What do you think?

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That's funny, I was recently thinking about a family section.

Except in my mind it wasn't a quarantine situation. I was envisioning a changing station near the back of the section--no more worrying about changing kiddo in the tiny bathroom, or on the floor of the aisle. There would be a kid-friendly movie (ideally with free headphones)--no more exposure to questionable PG+ movies, yet the rest of the airplane could still watch whatever. A drink cart with scaled-down kid-friendly beverages (I always hate it when the flight attendant offers my kids soda) and snacks, and maybe even some crayons and paper.

And the best of all--so much less anxiety about traveling with the kids. So much of my pre-travel worries is about who the kids might annoy on the plane. If I knew I'd be surrounded by other kids, I'd definitely be a ton less stressed about potential kid noise.

Airplane travel is an infringement on personal space, period. There are a lot of reasons to make it roomier, snackier, friendlier...the industry has narrowed things down, quite literally, so that it kinda sucks now, doesn't it?? So I fully agree with you: there should be tolerance for people of all walks of life, races, whatever. It's life, deal with it.

I vote for a section for everyone who is or ever was a kid. People who hatched out of their pods, fully grown with no compassion or sense of humor ought to be seated on the wings.

I think I would welcome a family section for many of the same reasons k would want one. In addition to what she is trying to avoid, I would love not to sit by a couple of men drinking way too much and talking about things that are not really appropriate for kids to hear. This has happened a couple of times.

I think we have been lucky. I remember only once feeling like someone was getting upset with us. We were stuck waiting for take off and it was taking a really long time. Adults around us were getting nervous, one in particular was ringing the flight attendant demanding to know what was happening. Of course all this anxiety and missing a nap made our almost two year old upset. While my partner was trying to calm her the same man stood up ready to tell us off! I gave him the evilest look and his wife made him sit down. She later apologized for his behavior.

Of course with the cutbacks we probably do not have to worry about offers for free soda or movies anymore.

I think families flying with children who have paid for a full-price seat (those over 2 yrs old) should be given accommodations out the wazoo by the airlines--my child who is barely 30 pounds is consuming a MUCH smaller allotment of jet fuel than a full-sized traveler and ends up packing much more lightly than even a business traveler.

In general, I'm totally repulsed by the lack of tolerance for kids and families. I've also spent too many anxiety-filled moments worrying about how my child might tick off another stressed-out flier.


I was flying NW recently and was told that we were in the kids section (back of plane). I don't know if the childless people in this section knew that.
All I can say is it is public transportation. If we as parents could make our children happy and quiet all the time we would.

My daughter is only a few months old but I'm dreading when we're ready to fly. Honestly, I'm hoping to put it off as long as possible but I know it's a reality eventually.

Family section? Sure! Airplane travel is horrible now it might be nice to do a volunteer segregation. I mean, we do it naturally in the waiting area right? I think that if all of us with kids could hang out in the back of the plane (engine noise is louder-lulls 'em to sleep) and not worry about the looks, the comments, etc- those hours of being cramped and finding ways to entertain them would pass by a lot quicker.

Recently on NW to Orlando- purchased seats in first class (for the extra room) with two babies in laps. Everyone was awesome except the woman seated next to my husband. "I didn't pay for this" she says, "I did!" says he. Neither baby made a peep and the flight crew carried them around showing them off. The captain held one while I put the stroller together!

I loved the comment about smoking section, made me feel like he never heard of business class.
Crying, kicking the seat of sitting there or staring out the window the whole way-fly wherever you want, when you want, how you want without freaking out, we all paid the ticket price!!
Gotta try that first class sometime :->
Too much family too far away to drive.

When my kids were littles I preferred to be on the back of the plane. Closer to the washroom, closer to the attendants in case I needed a second set of hands and the white noise generated by the engines drowns out some of the low level fussing and whining.

I think it's a great idea but should be voluntary. My daughter was a really good little traveler, she wasn't very fussy as a baby. I kept her pretty occupied as a toddler. People would frequently thank us at the end of a flight, often sheepishly, because they have given us death glares when we boarded.

That said, I didn't often want to be segregated in the kids section on SW because parenting styles are different and I was annoyed by some children's parents while traveling with my own. Just cause I have a kid doesn't make it okay for your kid to kick my seat for hours. Just like the guy who leans his seat all the way back.

I always had more problems with flight attendants than fellow travelers. One told my 3 year old that she would be sucked outof the plane if she used the restroom. At the beginning of a cross-country flight. The car seat issue. The offering the child soda and sweet treats without my consent.

I completely agree with Protest Mama. My daughter, now four, has been a little jet setter since birth, as both sets grandparents are back east. She slept through flights as an infant and was really very patient with the whole process as she got older. We too had other passengers gush over how pleasant she was to travel with and lavished her with praise for being so delightful, which of course, just made her even more delightful. The last flight we took back east, she got airsick mid-way and actually asked to go to the bathroom, waited in a line of about ten people while trying to surf the turbulence and then puked in the toilet.

All that being said, the back of the plane is way more fun for both of us. She makes friends with other little ones, and often helps by playing with babies and toddlers who might otherwise be bored and cranky. I've been able to swap supplies with other parents; wipes, snacks, stickers, toys (since nothing is more entertaining or special than what is not yours) and no one bats an eyelash if a baby starts wailing or if the travel-weary toddlers lapses into their whiney voice.

I would absolutely love it if they showed a "back of the plane" movie. Our last flight, they showed The Bucket List, and however savvy my kid might be, she's got a few years before she's old enough for Jack. But more than anything, I wish they'd bring back the kid fare.... Seeing as they're charging for blankets and pillows now, I won't hold my breath!

In Germany (and I'm guessing the rest of family-friendly Yurp), they had special "kinder" compartments on the trains. They were wonderful! We got to hang out with other families and the child-free people who chose to sit in the compartments clearly enjoyed traveling with families. During our Lufthansa flight from PDX to Frankfurt, the flight attendants bent over backward to make us comfortable--seating us along with another family behind the bulkhead, where they hung bassinets for our wee ones.

It does feel as though there is a war against children and families here in the US. Babies mustn't eat in public, rambunctious children must be drugged into quietude, all us self-absorbed parents who made the selfish choice to bear the next generation mustn't expect any "special privileges."

Ugh.

In Germany (and I'm guessing the rest of family-friendly Yurp), they had special "kinder" compartments on the trains. They were wonderful! We got to hang out with other families and the child-free people who chose to sit in the compartments clearly enjoyed traveling with families. During our Lufthansa flight from PDX to Frankfurt, the flight attendants bent over backward to make us comfortable--seating us along with another family behind the bulkhead, where they hung bassinets for our wee ones.

It does feel as though there is a war against children and families here in the US. Babies mustn't eat in public, rambunctious children must be drugged into quietude, all us self-absorbed parents who made the selfish choice to bear the next generation mustn't expect any "special privileges."

Ugh.

My husband and I have been travelling with our son since he was 3 months old. We've been very fortunate, and have had great folks sitting around us who would smile and make faces at our precocious little guy. The only time we had any problem was when we booked first class flights for a trip to Michigan. We figured we needed all the space we could get. A woman in a seat across the way was completley bent.

We actually enjoyed ignoring her completely, and having fun with the ohter passengers around us. I think by the end of the flight she was feeling a bit disliked by everyone.

A family section would be nice for those choosing to be in that area, but I'm concerned that if one was created it would become mandatory, which I would definitely be against.

What I find interesting is how those same people seem to LOVE babies, and even if they don't love them, they still like them. At what age does a baby go from being cute and adorable to being just plain annoying to many? My son is 18 months and still pretty endearing to most people he encounters, but I fear his days are numbered as a little magnet and that he soon will be repelling people.

Bring on the family section! I love all the ideas K mentioned. Brilliant. I've never encountered a nasty person on a plane, but I'm always on the look out. I've gone so far as to pass out chocolate in a wide circle around us, and even a $5 coffee gift certificate card to the poor woman in front of my kicking toddler. I would be THRILLED not to worry that my 4 year old is watching Kung Fu Panda (like she did 2 weeks ago-I mean, how do you stop that one!) or, possibly worse, The Chronicles of Narnia on the way home. C'mon, just a bit violent for all these little guys. I would be THRILLED to have an actual changing area, cups with lids and straws, snacks the kids would eat and other families with kids to play with, and best, not to be anxious about pissing someone off.

We fly quite a bit and unless you are seated first class, I say it is totally fair game. And if I get glaring looks, I tend to glare right back and wonder what these folks truly expect. We paid for the seat, same as you.

Flying is no longer as glamorous as in days past, so I say suck it up, put on some headphones, watch the cheesy movie, and order a glass of wine. That's much more than I am entitled to as a mother of 3 kids, just trying to get to Atlanta from PDX while I'm fishing around my friggin bag for goldfish and cheerios while my baby spits up on me. Yeah, they have it so rough. wah. Bless their hearts.

I flew down and back to San Francisco a few months ago on United (without my 3 year old) and was appalled at what was on the screens: a long trailer for "Hellboy 2" and promos for "Chuck." I don't have any problem with adults choosing to watch those - Chuck can be pretty funny. But this comic-spy spoof promo was showing people shooting guns at eachother and punching four men in the face. The Hellboy 2 was trailer was very graphic.

People tell me that you just don't give the kids headphones - then it's no big deal. Sorry, but I disagree. I don't want my child seeing those images and there are abundant child psychologists who will back that view up.

So when I flew down to the Bay Area with my 3 year old two months later I booked our flight with Alaska since they had no media screens on those short haul planes.

So...where am I going with this? I suppose I'd welcome a family oriented area in a plane, but I certainly wouldn't sit there if it's nonstop screen time to just get them to be zoned out and quiet.

I pick up a bunch of new books that are saved for the plane, several snacks, it works for us. Knock wood!

It's an interesting discussion....I love the idea of having my toddler play with other kids on planes and family-friendly fare, but I also don't like the move towards segregation of families from the rest of society. Just the other night, we were at a (very casual) Portland restaurant and told that one side was reserved for people on "dates" and that families were invited to sit on the other side of the place. And it wasn't a five star fancy place, this was the kind of dining experience where you order your food at the counter. Just thought it was kind of weird to be told so plainly where to sit because we had a kid.

So while I like the idea in theory of flights with fun family sections, I'm starting to worry that families are going to get stuck at the back of the plane, so to speak, everywhere soon...Not sure if it's more for the convenience of families, or so everyone else can avoid having to deal with other people's kids. Shouldn't kids be part of general society, and learn how to behave as such? And shouldn't adults be a little more tolerant of children (as long as said children aren't kicking others' seats for the entire flight)?

It's an interesting discussion....I love the idea of having my toddler play with other kids on planes and family-friendly fare, but I also don't like the move towards segregation of families from the rest of society. Just the other night, we were at a (very casual) Portland restaurant and told that one side was reserved for people on "dates" and that families were invited to sit on the other side of the place. And it wasn't a five star fancy place, this was the kind of dining experience where you order your food at the counter. Just thought it was kind of weird to be told so plainly where to sit because we had a kid.

So while I like the idea in theory of having my amazing-non-napping toddler sit in a plane for 14 hours straight without getting glares during an international red-eye flight, I'm starting to worry that families are going to get stuck at the back of the plane, so to speak, everywhere soon...Not sure if it's more for the convenience of families, or so everyone else can avoid having to deal with other people's kids. Shouldn't kids be part of general society, and learn how to behave as such? And shouldn't adults be a little more tolerant of children (as long as said children aren't kicking others' seats for the entire flight)?

All these anti-children adults... use to be children themselves. If children did not exist they would not be here either.

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