You may have missed it but this week an Indian Airline has introduced Child Free zones on flights. This seems to have split the traveling community straight down the middle with half saying “Hoorah, keep the screaming brats away from me” and the other half saying “stop being a pompous arse, you were a child once”.
It might not surprise you to know I am in the latter group.
I have been travelling with my children since they were tiny. The eldest two were born in Saudi Arabia and so their early years were spent flying to and from the middle east. And indeed around the middle east as we did our fair share of sight seeing. My youngest was born in the UK but frequently flew to France to spend summers with my parents. Flying has been a way of life for them. They hadnt been on a bus but had been on jumbos.
They did their fair share of screaming but also they did their fair share of sitting and playing, sleeping and just being oblivious to the whole thing. As did many of the other expats we travelled with. Yes a child my cry for part of a single flight, for a number of factors, but I have never heard of a child that traveled regularly and screamed for every second of every flight.
So I dont have an issue with children on planes. Ever. I would far rather see children being given the opportunity to see the world. To have their eyes opened to different experiences, and that starts on the plane.
What I would rather have banned from planes are the following:
Over stuffed cabin bags
Since airlines introduced this, frankly ludicrous, policy of charging people for to put a suitcase in the hold (how dare a passenger want to have enough clothes to wear for a fortnight’s holiday) we have all had to take everything on board with us. No longer will our trusty “this is my hand luggage bag” do. Nope. We now have to have a bag that is the exact size of that permitted and shove everything into it until it bulges. We then scan the small print to see if this airline also allows us a handbag in which we can then cram essentials. Forgive me for not wanting to flash my knickers to the world whilst I am trying to find my purse in duty free. This means that in the cabin there is now luggage everywhere. Woe betide if you are last on the plane, you haven’t got a hope in hell of putting your bag in the overhead locker near your seat. It will have to be carried off by the crew to a secret cupboard at the opposite end of the plane.
And then we have people trying to shove their bags in overhead bins, under seats and finding somewhere to shove their oversized duty free Toblerone.
I was even on a plane once where luggage was strapped into an empty seat.
I wish airlines would fix this issue and allow bags in the hold without the rip off fees, long before banning children.
The reclining chair in front
Now I am all for relaxing on a plane. The flights we do are often 8 hours and overnight so you need to recline the seat if you are going to get your permitted seventeen minutes of peace. But this only works if, when you recline your seat, the person behind you wants to do the same. It doesn’t work if they are still eating. Or using their table to hold their computer.
This is far more annoying than any crying child
The dithering boarder
You have just spent two hours in the airport before you get to the gate. You get to the gate half an hour before being permitted on board. You get called to board. Find your seat and THEN decide you need to find your headphones / pen / book / socks / lip balm out of your bag. So you stand in the aisle with your bag balancing on the seat whilst you rummage around for said item. Meanwhile 25 other rows of people are backing up because they can’t get past with you with their oversized hand luggage.
You, I would ban you from opening your bag and ferreting around before I banned a baby.
The 18 certificate films
It has always baffled me that these are allowed on planes. There is nothing to stop a younger person watching this themselves if their parent happens to fall asleep and doesn’t see them watch it. Or if they are watching over the shoulder of the person in front. I have lost count of the films I have watched that contain scenes that I really don’t think should be so easily viewed by those under 18.
The “I will laugh at anything” passenger
You know the one. The one who laughs out loud at every remotely funny thing during the film they are watching.
Ditto reciting the bits they know out loud
Ditto singing along to their own music.
Ditto their music being so loud that we can hear it.
THIS. This is more annoying than a small person
Kickers / Sniffers / Those with a weak bladder / readers of broadsheets that turn the pages and punch you in the face / arm rest hoggers
All of them. Far far more annoying than a small person having a bad day.
Can we please ban all of them before we pick on the kids?
Photograph inside a plane courtesy of Shutterstock