Low cost airline bans under-12s in new child-free zone

It’s not the first time that an airline has introduced rules around where children can and can’t sit on a plane, but this time have they gone too far?

Anyone who’s ever taken even a short flight with children – let alone a long haul trip – knows how stressful the situation can be. The combination of bored or tired children, an enclosed space and discomfort from changing air pressure can be enough to send even the most well-behaved children over the edge and that’s before you’ve even factored in the normal levels of crying most babies achieve every day.

Some airlines have gone to great lengths to make flying with children more of a pleasure, like Etihad’s Flying Nanny service. But it seems that even greater numbers are making it more and more difficult to fly with children. In 2013, discount Asian airline Scoot followed the example of its rival AirAsia by banning children not just from first or business classes, but from a cabin area directly behind business class too.

Child-free quiet zones

And now budget Indian air carrier IndiGo has made a similar announcement, with a new policy banning children under 12 from their newly instituted “Quiet Zones”. The Quiet Zones (rows 1-4 and 11-14), which include the exit rows, have more leg room and larger seats than the rest of economy class, and also come at a slightly higher price.

Reaction to the new policy has been mixed, as these tweets on the subject show:

Opponents of the scheme argue that it discriminates against parents, effectively removing their choice to purchase more leg room, and questioning whether it makes any difference to other passengers’ comfort anyway, since children are still allowed in all the surrounding rows.

IndiGo carries approximately 40 per cent of India’s domestic air traffic, so this is a policy that affects a large number of families.

What do you think? Is it a reasonable decision?

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