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Are Child Free Flights the Answer for Grumpy Travellers?

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We've all been there. Found ourselves stuck on a plane for x hours with a screaming baby nearby. It's not nice, in fact, it's downright unpleasant...but it happens.

It's understandable even, we know those little ears have never had to deal with massive changes in air pressure before...so of course they are upset. It bloody hurts.

In fact I still don't deal with my ears popping very well, even after 28 years of long-haul travel...sometimes I wanna cry! But even the most understanding of us, find a screaming child hard to deal with during a flight.

So it's not surprising that results in a recent study by Holiday Extras, revealed that 48% of UK holidaymakers would favour child-free flights. In their summer travel survey they asked nearly 20,000 customers for their views on the idea of child-free travel and 35% said that 'children are the worst thing about flying in the summer'. Oh dear.

Do you agree? I mean we all know it's awesome to take kids on holiday and of course even nicer to take them to visit family members, but it seems it's not so nice for other people on the flight. I don't think I'm the only person who, as I'm boarding, does a mental check around the waiting area to see how many young 'uns are going to be on the plane. And, of course, I realise that all of that changes when you become a parent. You begin to empathise with those poor couples trying to deal with their unhappy travelling babes. So are the rest of us just being grumpy bastards or are we just looking for an easy ride?

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In the survey, it was revealed that, in fact, many passengers were actually thinking from a parental point of view. 48% said that if separate flights were an option, it would 'help ease the pressure on parents and kids, and would improve their journey'. So maybe we're not so selfish after all?

But I must point out that out of most of the questions asked, it was women who felt most strongly about it all. 49% of ladies said they had a problem with children being on flights. It was also a larger amount of women who wanted their swimming pools free from kiddies. So before we can say the maternal vote is getting lost here, it's actually us gals who want the peace and quiet. So maybe we are a little bit grumpy? Or are we just being realistic?

You may or may not already know that you genuinely can book a child-free flight on some airlines.

Scoot, Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines currently offer child-free zones for passengers who especially want to keep their distance (for an extra fee of course). So do you think this option could be adopted in the West at all? Or is it best kept to Asia?

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US writer Keli Goff recently wrote about this on HuffPo.com and said it was not so much about bad kids on flights, it's actually more to do with bad parents. Parents cannot tolerate people who don't want to be near their 'beautiful, angelic' children. And 'other people' just simply do not want to tolerate screaming kiddies as they travel.

So is the problem just that we are all people-intolerant?

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I mean nobody likes public transport mainly for the fact that 'other people' annoy us. You've only got to hop on the Tube here in London to see the looks of passenger animosity. We all hate being in proximity to others, especially on journeys and even when we meet nice people on our way, it definitely takes us a while to warm up to them. We just don't like strangers. Maybe in reality we all just want to be left alone, to plod along in our own little impenetratable bubbles.

So if you could pay for it on your journey, wouldn't you prefer a little peace?

Unlike buses and subways, planes allow us to be picky. We can pay for extra legroom and first class treatment, so what's wrong with really pushing the boat out and having some guaranteed quiet adult time? It's fine by me.

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I don't think it promotes segregation at all. But others will beg to differ. When I put this question to my readers I got a real mixed bag of results. Once again, mostly women answered and I must say the majority were all for child-free flying. Seasoned travellers told me of awful flights they had been on, thanks to children and parents causing them grief.

One mother told me, she thought the child-free zones were a good idea. She even came up with the concept of companies offering themed-flights for families. Things like Winnie The Pooh for example, bright colours on board and fun toys, as a way of making long haul flights more enjoyable for everyone. I thought this was a wonderful idea!

On the other hand this same mum also told me how, she too, had to ask a parent to try and silence their noisy child and she was not afraid to do so. Because sometimes (not all the time), it can just get a little bit too much for us all (even the mamma's).

Other people, without kids, said how they thought it was a terrible idea because travelling 'encourages a child's development' and that 'children deserve to be involved in every part of everyday life'. Which I totally agree with too but I think this is about finding a focus on personal comfort, not segregation.

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Just like people choose to use quiet zones on trains and maybe for the very same controversial reasons that kids are often not invited to weddings - some people just like to be within their own adult-orientated bubble....it seems elitist and unfair, I totally get it, but it may just be the modern 'grumpy' way.

What do you think? Are we all just travelling grumps?

Around the Web

Budget Asian airline unveils child-free zones - Telegraph

BBC - Travel - Will child-free flights go global? : Family

Airline launches child-free zones - AOL Money UK

Child-free zones on airplanes gain support in UK - Skift

Airline launches child-free zones

Budget Asian airline unveils child-free zones

Budget airline creates child-free zones on their planes for a £10 upgrade

Crying Kids on Planes Spawn Child-Free Zones, Flight Nannies

The kids moving out is a rite of passage we're being denied