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Could the Next Airline Fee Be For Childless Airplane Sections?

August 30, 2010 at 5:21 PM | by | ()

Repeated Jaunted experiments have shown that, next to "overweight passengers on planes" disagreements, nothing generates heat like "kids on planes" arguments. Both debates even have the same sides. On one hand, there are people who insist they shouldn't be miserable because they got an unfortunate seat next to an obese adult or a screaming child. On the other side, you've got overweight folks and parents who point out that hey, they get to fly too.

Now, thanks to suggestions coming out of a new study, there are renewed discussions about separating children from fliers who want nothing to do with them. "Family-only sections" are being bandied about, and there's even talk of "child-free flights!" Apparently surveys show that an overwhelming number of people without kids prefer not to to have their flights ruined by unruly kids. Fascinating! Even more fascinating, it turns out that the surveys are filled with stacked questions and all end up justifying a new round of airline fees. Strange!

What the study claims to show is that people would embrace an equitable fee-driven solution that pleases everybody without offending anyone. What it actually shows is that if you ask a bunch of people whether airlines should provide more "choices" and "freedoms" then you'll get agreement. That's because most people don't suspect that in the airline world "choice" is just another word for fee restructuring.

Anyway, here's the punchline at the very bottom of the article, coincidentally courtesy of the very firm that did the study:

'When tempers are frayed, a screaming child can cause a major disturbance for fellow passengers. 'If passengers are prepared to pay extra for child-free flying, perhaps the solution is a premium adults-only section, rather than a pre-allocated families section, giving airlines yet another extra they can charge for?

Which isn't to say that children aren't little squirming blood pressure machines. Or even that airlines won't one day offer people the chance to sit in blissful isolation (above and beyond business and first class options that are, umm, that). But as far as this study goes, you'd think they'd try a little bit harder with the whole making it believable thing.

[Photo: renfield kuroda / Flickr]

Related Stories:
· Crying-free zone: Childless passengers back family-only section on planes [Daily Mail]
· Travel Hell [Jaunted]
· Travel With Children [Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

Interesting Idea, but...

It's hard enough for parents with children, do we want to make them more uncomfortable? It just seems like it would give flying with children a greater stigma.

Absolutely, great idea. I'd pay.

As a single young adult with no kids I would be absolutely prepared to pay extra to guarantee no screaming children on a flight, particularly a long one. I am surprised the airlines have taken this long to come up with this idea! The first one that manages to do so will have my business for sure.