A radio station recently ran a poll which asked: Should there be a separate section on flights for babies so they don't disturb everyone else?
I can see why this is a divisive subject, I once was that person who wanted the flight to be part of the fun of the holiday, who wanted to sit back, relax and enjoy a film and a g&t in chill mode. The last thing I could be bothered with once I'd stuffed my bag in the locker, was a seat kicker. But then I became a parent, and I realised the anxiety that comes with flying with kids.
So, SHOULD planes have separate sections for parents and the smug child-free? Look, I guess in theory it's a good idea and works in the favour of both parties. On the one hand you take the noise and the kick in the back away from those who somewhat cruelly object to children being allowed to go on holiday with their parents (the HORROR) but you also take the stress away from parents who are desperately willing their offspring to behave in the confined and limiting space of an aircraft.
But here's where I object - I am NOT from the 'children should be seen and not heard' school of thought. I feel that - within reason - children have the right to occupy space in all
situations, and in allowing them to do so, we are teaching them how to behave and take responsibility. I also feel that adults should be more tolerant. Kids are entitled to travel, parents are entitled to want to take their kids on holiday. In fact, in some cases kids NEED to travel. My husband is half-Maltese, lots of his family live there, he also spent a good chunk of time working abroad, and as a result we have flown plenty of times simply to visit family or to visit him. Why should my daughter be ghettoised in a separate part of a plane in order to go visit her dad? Would we do this in other places? Would we insist kids sit in the kid section of a bus? A train? A restaurant? What happens if your child is well behaved and someone else's isn't? And I'm sure if you were to ask any flight attendant what THEY think would happen if there were to be a child-only area on a plane, they'd anticipate a bunch of parents excited to be on holiday who take their foot off the parenting brake and allow the kids to run amok in the kid's area because 'hey, it's the kid's area, they're ALLOWED to make noise here, right?' and no flight attendant wants to play child minder at 30,000 feet. So maybe keeping the kids integrated encourages better behaviour from kids and parents alike.
I don't however have any issue with the idea of adult-only planes. I know many holiday resorts and hotels trade off that concept as a selling point. Although I do wonder, if a bunch of adults who no longer feel they have to behave appropriately in front of fellow child passengers, would actually behave worse than the kids?!
If you ARE worried about how your kids might behave on a flight - here's our top tips for preparing to fly: https://www.seatkickers.co.uk/post/flying-with-little-ones
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Written by Amy Clowes
Amy is Seatkickers' editor, she lives in Manchester with her daughters aged six and seven months. She loves interiors, jogging, writing and travelling. Her favourite places include Miami, Biarritz and Cornwall.