Anyone who has flown long distances knows that upset children can make a long flight seem even longer. The majority of kids on planes are well behaved with the odd kicking of a seat or crying. Unfortunately there are some times when children are left to wail unchecked or feel the need to practice their soccer kicks on the back of your chair while their parents tune out and watch a movie. This usually happens right when you need to get some rest!
To address this uncomfortable scenario AirAsia X has unveiled a “Quiet Zone” on their flights which can only be occupied by passengers over the age of 12. The image below from AirAsia’s website shows the location of the Quiet Zone.
AirAsia X, a discount air carrier, is the second carrier to provide a child free zone after Malaysia Airlines introduced a similar arrangement on its A380s in April. AirAsia doesn’t service Canada directly, however if you are traveling in Indonesia, Thailand, China, Vietnam, etc, they are a great budget travel option.
There is a small fee of approximately $11 for seat selection. When factored into the total cost of the ticket, an extra $11 to select a seat in the quiet zone is quite reasonable. Here are two flights to illustrate:
Flight 1 – Short Haul
From: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
To: Bali, Indonesia
Flight Duration: 2 hours
Cost: Flight $275 + Seat Selection $22 = $297
In this scenario, purchasing seat selection will add 8% to your trip cost. Since the flight is only 2 hours long and I tend to be frugal (or cheap as my wife thinks!) I would probably skip selecting a seat in the Quiet Zone on this one.
Flight 2 – Long Haul
From: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
To: Sydney, Australia
Flight Duration: 8 hours (overnight)
Cost: Flight $405 +Seat Selection $22 = $427
In this scenario, it might be well worth the added 5% cost to ensure you’ll get a good nights rest on a long haul overnight flight.
Quiet Zones On Canadian Carriers?
The question remains, are Canadian carriers going to pursue similar child free zones? To find out I contacted Air Canada and WestJet via Twitter. I was pleasantly surprised by how fast they got back to me, within a couple of hours!
SheThnksImCheap: @WestJet Hello WestJet! Are there any plans for child-free seating zones in the future? http://t.co/nExLVAIQ 6:12am, Sep 29
WestJet: @SheThnksImCheap Not at this time, sorry! 11:47am, Sep 29
SheThnksImCheap: @AirCanada Hi AC, are there any plans in the works for child-free seating areas? http://t.co/nExLVAIQ 6:10am, Sep 29
AirCanada: @SheThnksImCheap Hello, we’re not aware of any such plans at this time. 9:31am, Sep 29
It would appear that Canadians won’t have the child free option for a flight on these two carriers.
Are Quiet Zones A Good Idea?
While I like the idea of Quiet Zones on flights as an option for passengers, parents might not be so enthusiastic. Passengers in the regular seating area may have a higher concentration of young children around them which could lead to more disturbances. By providing a premium service to some passengers, others may be negatively affected.
The idea doesn’t seem to be gaining much steam yet since it’s only been implemented by two airlines. The whole topic seems like it could be a public relations nightmare if not positioned properly. Have you ever heard of child free areas on buses, trains or boats? On the other hand, I have heard of some restaurants that do not allow children.
So what do you think, should there be more child free areas on flights and other methods of transportation?
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