I'm A Toddler Parent And I Think Child-Free Flight Zones Are... Fine?!

Maybe I'm a terrible person.
Oscar Wong via Getty Images

There’s been a lot of talk of child-free zones on flights this week – with people divided over whether it’s a positive or utterly hideous thing to implement.

If you ask me, I don’t really see what all the fuss is about.

The furore came about after Corendon Dutch Airlines announced it would be trialling an ‘adult only zone’ from November on flights from Amsterdam to Curaçao – for context, that’s a 10-hour flight.

At the front of the plane, there will be over 100 seats, including a handful with extra legroom, where children will not be allowed to sit (or, presumably, roam).

Tickets for these seats cost a little extra – between €45-€100 (about £39-£86) depending on whether passengers want more legroom.

Atilay Uslu, chairman and founder of Corendon, said the airline is “trying to appeal to travellers looking for some extra peace of mind during their flight”.

They added that the adult only zone can have a “positive effect” on parents travelling with little ones, as they can enjoy the flight without worrying if their children make more noise.

Other flight operators, such as AirAsia, have implemented child-free areas. So it’s certainly not the first time this will happen – and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Why are people so up in arms about it?

The general consensus among those who were opposed to the change is that there’s less tolerance for children and babies in public nowadays – and this kind of move only encourages that.

While I totally get where they’re coming from, in my experience, lots of people are still very tolerant – and in fact, extremely kind – towards parents and children, even when our kids are crying or having a full-on meltdown.

Now admittedly, emotions are far more heightened on planes – remember that guy who had a toddler-style tantrum because of a crying baby on his flight?

But on the whole, people are (mostly) lovely when you have your kids in tow. There’ll be an occasional eye-roll, for sure, but in my experience, eight out of 10 people will smile or try to help.

When our daughter cried on flights as a baby, people wouldn’t get up in arms about it – they’d try to distract her by making funny faces or talking to her. Maybe my experience is unique, but I’m not so sure it is.

I think of adult-free zones on flights like quiet carriages on trains. If people want a space to work or concentrate or simply just sleep, why is that an issue? I totally get that some people would pay extra because they don’t want their seat kicked or to hear a loud, shrill voice exclaiming: “Mummy, I need a poo!” for 10 hours straight.

I really don’t have a problem with that. And it doesn’t mean I hate kids – far from it.

“I totally get that some people would pay extra because they don’t want their seat kicked or to hear a loud, shrill voice exclaiming: “Mummy, I need a poo!” for 10 hours straight.”

Some people actively choose not to have children because it’s not for them, some have done the whole raising kids thing and just want a bit of peace and quiet, some might be going off on a honeymoon and simply want an uneventful, calm start to their trip, others might be on a business trip and need to work without overhearing a gazillion questions about Peppa Pig.

Heck, I imagine some childcare workers who spend nine or 10 hours with little ones each day would pull your arm off to sit in those zones. And that doesn’t mean they hate children, surely it just means they want a bit of a... rest?

It’s hard to keep kids entertained on flights and sometimes they can be loud and, well, a bit wild. They can be happy one moment and devastated the next. If you’re a fellow passenger who just wants to sink your teeth into a good book without a four-year-old careering down the aisle next to you, I totally get it.

Parents should be able to go abroad and have fun, and it’s not like children are being banned from flights entirely, so I don’t think it’s unfair to have adult only zones on flights.

Also, if there are people who simply aren’t very tolerant of kids aboard the aircraft, I’d be much happier in the knowledge they’re further away from me so they can happily keep their eye-rolls to themselves.