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No kidding: Japanese airlines offer seat maps to avoid bawling babies

46 Comments
By Toru Yamanaka

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46 Comments
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Great news! Not a big fan of JAL but maybe now I will be. I've been hoping for a children-only section. If airlines could separate smokers from non-smokers, they can surely separate children and accompanied adults from non-accompanied adults.

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

I have to deal with an annoying kidwho was kicking me on a recent flight. Delta, take notes.

"Will airlines also have maps for obnoxious passengers that drink too much, remove their shoes, hog the armrest or recline in my lap?" added another.

People get annoyed over the most trivial things...

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Good, people with kids would also like to be separate from people who get enraged by children's noise. Much safer. Win for everyone.

Next it would be great if they had an alcohol section. I've flown the pacific more times than I could even count and drunk idiots have bothered me more than any other obnoxious people or children ever could. Especially drunk servicemen.

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I'm okay with this, but fun part will be how to distribute these sections on the plane and pricing?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As a parent with 2 young kids who sometimes has to fly with them, I’d like to say to all those whining about how hard it is to fly next to someone with kids: (insert joke about how weak they are here).

I’m not sure how useful this will be in practice though. Nobody wants to sit next to young kids on an airplane, so if the flight is full you’ll still have people sitting where they don’t want to.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

This seems like such a pathetically selfish thing to do. If people are so stuck-up they cannot handle being around children they should fly business class. I've flown with my children and sat next to children on long flights. I remember one flight with a hundred or so elementary school kids going on a school trip. That's what you get when you fly economy class. Get over yourselves!

2 ( +12 / -10 )

"Will airlines also have maps for obnoxious passengers that drink too much, remove their shoes, hog the armrest or recline in my lap?" added another.

Recline in your lap? Just scream, call the attendant and say he touched you. Problem solved

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Stupid. Babies cry sometimes. Live with it. All these selfish complainers have apparently forgotten that they were babies themselves once. I have no sympathy for these baby haters.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

Empathy is sadly dieing, we were all screaming babies once remember.

5 ( +13 / -8 )

I have no problems if people want to avoid sitting near kids. But as a father of one small child (and another on the way), I have a hard time sympathizing with travellers who get annoyed by small kids and babies. I do, however, feel for parents travelling with young children, especially on long haul flights. It’s not easy. I’ve been vomited on during a shinkansen ride - and I mean completely covered - and had to scoop up vomit off the floor with my bare hands as passengers were boarding in Nagoya. And my wife got covered on a flight from Tokyo to Toronto. Who has it worse, travellers with kids or travellers without?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

As a parent who survived traveling with young kids, I have to say that it is also torture and embarrassing for the parents when their kids scream. Luckily we found ways to calm them down fairly quickly, sort of. Usually it was from being super tired being in a strange place. A binky was a godsend for the air pressure, although not always helpful. Parents who ignore their kids drive me nuts.

JAL's plan probably won't work if a baby is placed at the last moment next to someone who wanted to avoid sitting next to one. Might cause more rage than it intended.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Who has it worse, travellers with kids or travellers without?

Travelers with kids chose to have and travel with those kids.

The travelers who chose to live or travel without, but are exposed to it anyway, have it worse.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

"...we were all screaming babies once remember.

Correct, and...? if I had the choice way back then, I would have chosen to have my own kiddie section rather than annoy others who wanted to sleep and relax. That's called consideration and empathy.

As mentioned, JAL's move is a win-win. Having a separate section would be an even bigger win-win.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

People get annoyed over the most trivial things...

I assume you are referring to the people who are annoyed that JAL and ANA offer this helpful info on their seating maps, as opposed to people who would justifiably prefer not sitting next to an infant or toddler for a 12-hour flight.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Good grief, is bawling babies such a serious problem for some people? How about earplugs ( wads of wet tissue work best ) and some alcohol / sleep aid tablets? Works for me.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

So, here is the thing....

When I was single and would travel long haul, I never wanted to be near families with young kids, but recognized that they had to travel like I did.

When I became a parent and we flew with our baby / young toddler, we had no choice but we also did everything in our power to try to minimize the inconvenience to other passengers that was related to our child.

I always wish that more passengers were sympathetic to parents of babies / young toddlers, but I also wish that some parents tried to do more to minimize the impact of their child on those around them.

But, with that said, I think what JAL is doing is not only reprehensible, but actually almost criminal.

When we make reservations, we give the airline our personal information. They hold that information. In confidence. When other passengers make reservations, they generally know nothing about their fellow travelers. They just know whether adjacent seats are reserved or now.

However, what JAL is disclosing is personal, distinguishing information of one passenger to other passengers.

So, if its OK to let other passengers know which seats have toddlers under 2, then anything is justifiable. How about the following:

-- Seat occupied by a child over 2.

-- Nationality of seat occupant.

-- Gender of seat occupant.

-- Age of seat occupant.

I mean, if its OK to let other passengers know that a seat has someone under 2 yo, then there is no basis for not allowing the above.

Because this is all information the airline has when reservations are made. And JAL has no issue with disclosing passenger info to another passenger based on this policy.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I can vouch for the embarrassment as a parent viewpoint.

This may work well. My concern is the expectations it creates. Presumably they will always be some chance of ending up near a baby. If people think they can now avoid babies, they will be less tolerant of them if they find themselves near one. The existence of the system justifies/hardens the "babies are a nuisance" opinion.

I personally think the expression "pleasant flight" is an oxymoron and should be abandoned. They're buses with wings. Being stuck in a chair for 12 hours is never pleasant. It doesn't matter how many movies, drinks, packets of peanuts, and mini chocolate bars you throw at it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As a parent who survived traveling with young kids, I have to say that it is also torture and embarrassing for the parents when their kids scream. (...) Parents who ignore their kids drive me nuts.

Nailed it. Screaming toddlers aren't the issue, entitled parents are. You'd have to be a massive dh (I know there are a few) to have a go at a visibly sorry mum/dad trying their best to calm their crying child.

Been in this situation many times, usually mums apologising 'am so sorry' etc, me 'no need, not easy/it happens, he/she'll be fine once...'

Different story with entitled/indifferent parents who don't give a flying -- or worse, come up with gems 'everyone's looking at ya, mum doesn't care' etc.

Nightmare parents rather than nightmare kids imo.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I remember taking my young toddler back to the midwest so my dying father could see her one last time. She was pretty quiet but did cry a bit during turbulence. It was an emotional rollercoaster for me in general, but also the snotty looks, tsks and eye rolls didn't help.

Guess I shouldn't have taken that trip, you know, for other passengers comfort. Noted.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

DUMB COMMENT EVER

. If airlines could separate smokers from non-smokers, they can surely separate children and accompanied adults from non-accompanied adults.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

I once took a flight while I had a hacking cough. I had my mouth and nose covered with a handkerchief the entire time. At one point, the guy sitting next to me turned and asked me nicely if I was sick. I told him I couldn't get rid of this cough caused by my cold. Then he snarled and abruptly said 'well I don't want it.' I stood up in the back of the plane the rest of the flight.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Lucky u didn't pay any extra for changing seat ;) (united airline)

stood up in the back of the plane the rest of the flight.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Not to be preachy or anything, but again as a parent of formerly young, potentially noisy kids, I used to take both of my kids all by myself back to visit my folks in the US. It isn't just babies that can be annoying it is toddlers and nursery school age kids and even elementary school aged kids. By the end of the flights, I was usually plum exhausted from entertaining and distracting them so they would stay quiet. One flight, a man came up from behind me when we were disembarking and thanked me. He said he was full of dread when we three first sat in front of him, but that he was amazed how quiet my kids were. I must say, those kids activity books they stack in bookstores before holidays are great! Unfortunately, dads usually have to put the puzzles together, but my son loved helping me. Ha. The art of distraction.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I can find no scientific data on the internet for this (probably because it would harm profits), but I think one should NEVER take a baby or toddler on an airplane in the first place. I fought with my wife over this the last time I visited home. I did not want to go because I was worried about our kid's ears, with our kid not yet talking and therefore unable to describe problems. Well, I found no data to back me up, so wifey wins and gets her freaking trip. Going was not so out of the ordinary but I did feel I had to do more soothing than usual. Then 3 days in we get sudden crying of intense pain out of nowhere and we cannot find the problem. And of course its on a Sunday night. We find a doctor and the doc stays its an ear infection. And we are due to fly again in a couple of days but had to extend our stay at great expense. And now its been years of ear problems, an operation with full body anesthesia, constant and probably useless medicines, and super stretched out ear membranes and therefore thin easy to perforate.

I personally never minded babies and small children on airplanes and would volunteer to soothe them if people cannot seem to manage.... if I thought they would trust a strange man with the task. I found certain songs really did the trick. But my simple answer is just don't. Wait until the kids are at least 4 and can be reasoned or bargained with a bit and can tell you if they are having problems and what kind.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Never go anywhere without several sets of headphones. They will block out any annoying noise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The airlines can easily make one flight all kids and accompany adults only. If those who wish to tolerate the screaming toddler can freely make a purchase. Nothing is worse than when you pay full price for a business class seat and still have to put up with the ruckus on a 13 hr flight. No I shouldn't be forced to wear noise canceling earphones. It is rude for parents to even take a child on such a long journey. It is not cute and certainly we pay enough to have our needs taken care of not taken he services away because of someone else screaming brat that a stewardess has to take limited time away from us full paying passengers. Better idea parents with screaming kids, pay the price their your kids not ours and get yourself a charter.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

The travelers who chose to live or travel without, but are exposed to it anyway, have it worse.

Only someone who hasn't traveled with kids would say that. All you have to do is block out the sound with earplugs or earphones. Parents don't really have the liberty of blocking out the sound, and have to actually take care of the kids on top of that.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

all airplanes companies in the world should be force to make a section for kids, its the worst thing that could ever happen when those kids start crying and screaming.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Can they also tell us the location of 'wide' people? I prefer to have 100% of my own seat, not just 80%.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I can block the noise of screaming children, snoring, and toilets with my headphones. I can't stop the middle aged passenger punching the back of my seat because they underestimate the sensitivity of the touch screen. I can't stop the guy elbowing me in the side because he's taking up both the arm rests. Babies are the least annoying thing about flying tbh.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Travelers with kids chose to have and travel with those kids.

The travelers who chose to live or travel without, but are exposed to it anyway, have it worse.

That's called being a member of society. It doesn't only revolve around your own interests, but around societies interests.

Be thankful somebody is having kids, so these grumpy childless passengers will have young taxpayers to help support them when they are grumpy old folks.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Firdtly, only one comment previous to mine tonsay this info to other passengers should be illegal. It is in my country.

Secondly, I have travelled enough to say that people are part of the problem of screaming kids. With empathy, I can reduce the time a baby is crying.

Lastly, instead of being egotistical, one shall remember that "no baby no future" (especially Japanese). It is called to go on with life.

JAL presenting babies as necessarily a discomfort, typically Japanese.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Stop moaning about crying babies next to you on a long haul. Get upgraded if you can not stand it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Old problem badly solved. Budget airlines AirAsia has a "Quiet Zone" in the front of the plane for a modest extra fee since at least 8 years. I fly them regularly for work assignments for that reason. "Quiet Zone" is a much better name and solution, not only excluding passengers with babies, which of course causes controversy. Problem solved without fuss.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Only someone who hasn't traveled with kids would say that.

Incorrect.

All you have to do is block out the sound with earplugs or earphones. Parents don't really have the liberty of blocking out the sound, and have to actually take care of the kids on top of that.

It was your choice to have them, therefor any associated stress is entirely deserved.

Those who have chosen not to have them, or not to bring them, do not deserve such stress, nor be required to purchase or bring child-neutralizing equipment.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

@Disillusioned:

I take it you haven't flown business class. Every flight I've been on in the last twenty years has had children under five in business class.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

People who complain about babies, argue about taxes going to childcare, argue about paying for education, argue against leave for mothers/fathers after birth, are clearly ignorant to the fact that they were once kids, and not only do we need to have kids, it's the fundamental underlying base instinct that permeates through almost all of us.

So if you don't like kids, ok. Good for you. Don't really care. Boo hoo.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Korean air does it right. Great kid's meals and toy packs with color books, stuffed animals and a blanket.

The one thing that could help out a lot is to have info packs for the parents on how to equalize inner ear pressure for the wee ones. This would eliminate most of the crying.

As for the kicking and what not, that is generally older children and business men. A good attitude adjustment for the parent is best served.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Korean air does it right. Great kid's meals and toy packs with color books, stuffed animals and a blanket.

The one thing that could help out a lot is to have info packs for the parents on how to equalize inner ear pressure for the wee ones. This would eliminate most of the crying.

As for the kicking and what not, that is generally older children and business men. A good attitude adjustment for the parent is best served.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I can sympathise with travellers on air planes it must be difficult to tolerate such annoyances, but by the time your in baggage reclaim area, your probably forgot about your ordeal, I remember on one flight a kid in front of me bounced, rocked his seat continuously I could not focus on the blinking TV screen it was making me feel nauseous so I (accidentally ) jammed my knee in the back of his seat, he soon stopped probably due to his bad back!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I’ve read about parents who apologize in advance when gettin settles in their seats, and even pass out some kind of snack to surrounding passengers. A bit over the top perhaps but waaaay better than the parents who ignore their kids and let them do anything they want.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why should the passengers need to wear headphones? A strap-on pacifier for the baby would do nicely.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I prefer a train style family compartment (2 benches facing each other in a walled room with sliding door). Put that on planes too. Walls are thin - they won't lose too much space

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@garypen

Travelers with kids chose to have and travel with those kids.

The travelers who chose to live or travel without, but are exposed to it anyway, have it worse.

The same could be said for people like you. People without kids also choose to travel despite knowing that there will probably be children on the same flight. You don’t want to be near children? Stay home in your little adult world.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Perhaps it should be the other way around. People traveling with children should be able to choose seats away from selfish twats who are likely to become irate if the kid starts acting like a kid. Dawg forbid!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

It was your choice to have them, therefor any associated stress is entirely deserved.

Those who have chosen not to have them, or not to bring them, do not deserve such stress, nor be required to purchase or bring child-neutralizing equipment.

Whether it is "deserved" or not doesn't make it "worse". Please debate my actual response next time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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