Banning children from selected seating areas in flights may have sounded like a huge controversy a few months back when proposals were first put forth, with parents warning it was an excludent move that could set a dangerous precedent, but it seems the industry is warming up to the idea.
Regardless of the outcry, three airlines are now offering child-free ‘zones’ following a sudden growth in demand, with a hugely popular airline in Europe announcing adults-only seating only this week, under the pretext it will improve the in-flight experience for all.
As expected, the reception has been mixed:
Corendon Is The First European Carrier To Launch Adults-Only Seating
This week, Corendon Airlines officially became the first Europe-based airline to launch child-free zones in flights.
This comes amid several reports online of unsatisfied customers, who often complain of unruly children or screaming toddlers disturbing peace during flights.
If you are not a parent yourself, and if you’ve been unlucky enough to be allocated a seat beside or in front of an energetic five-year-old, perhaps you’re all too familiar with the non-observance of personal boundaries, screaming, and occasional kicking coming from the little ones.
If you ever walked into a plane crossing fingers you won’t be seated next to a family with small children, you’re in luck; you can now book a seat in a child-free zone flying with Corendon.
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How Does Corendon’s Adult Zone Work?
For now, the airline has confirmed the policy will apply to flights between Amsterdam and Curaçao, a trendy Dutch Caribbean resort island, when the peak travel season starts in November.
Dubbing it ‘Adult Zone’, Corendon has reserved 93 seats for travelers aged 16 and above, in a bold move that also excludes older children and pre-teens.
The zone is reportedly separated from the rest of the plane by both walls and curtains, and those opting for a seat in the Adult Zone will be required to pay an additional €45, or roughly $48 one-way.
Though Corendon is the first European airline to announce the service, other international carriers like AirAsia X and Scoot have had similar policies for months now.
Which Other Airlines Have Similar Policies In Place?
AirAsia X first introduced ‘Quiet Zones’ for their A330-operated long-haul flights. It is located in the front section of the aircraft, and it is more permissive than Corendon’s, with customers aged 12 and above allowed to book age-restricted seats.
It is sold as a more peaceful zone with reduced noise, and as it occupies the forward part of the aircraft, passengers paying for the privilege also get to disembark first.
Scoot, on the other hand, is Singapore’s low-cost carrier, and it’s been offering ‘ScootinSilence’ cabins on all of its 787 flights.
Similarly to its Asian rival, it has set a minimum age requirement of 12 for passengers booking adults-only seats.
Besides a child-free environment and the front-row seating, which means priority during disembarkation, the ‘ScootinSilence’ cabins feature additional legroom and more malleable headrests.
Corendon has surely been more restrictive by forbidding access to early teens, but according to founder Atilay Uslu, the Adult Zone will better accommodate travelers ‘looking for extra peace’ during their trip while also lifting a burden off of parents’ shoulders.
How Would Parents And Children Themselves Benefit From Child-Free Zones?
We often focus on the experience of the nonparent, solo traveler when discussing children’s behavior in planes, but as Uslu notes, parents will also feel ‘less concerned’ about disturbing others when knowing their seat is in a child-friendly zone.
‘They can enjoy the flight without worrying if their children make a little noise‘, Uslu added; after all, passengers who would normally raise complaints would have an opportunity to pay a small fee for a forward-section seat.
Naturally, not everyone is happy with how these airlines are responding to the growing anti-child sentiment, with some believing it alienates families and creates an environment of segregation.
On the other end of the argument, less conservative customers have argued it benefits both sides, as both parents and nonparents will be likely seated beside like-minded individuals, and this supposedly decreases the risk of tension and altercations during flights.
From now on, it’s up to airlines to strike that delicate balance between responding to customer demand and guaranteeing all passengers, irrespective of age, do not feel excluded.
Americans Approve Of Child-Free Zones
According to a survey conducted by Redfield and Wilton Strategies, almost 60 percent of American adults (out of 1,500 interviewees) support the introduction of child-free areas on public transport and see it as a ‘positive thing’.
At the same time, 27 percent disagreed, and 14 percent were ‘unsure’.
So far, no other European or American airline has announced adults-only seating, with budget airline TUI, the Dutch flag carrier KLM, and Transavia reaffirming they have ‘no current plans’ to follow in Corendon’s steps.
Either way, based on the survey’s findings, which clearly reflect a desire of the majority, we would expect more carriers to limit the access of children to certain parts of the plane at some point in the future.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com