Would You Pay More to Fly Child-Free?

That’s a question at the heart of a new debate reported in the New York Times. In a recent survey of 2,000 travelers, 59% said they’d support creating special “no kids” sections on planes. One-in-five said they’d like to see airlines ban kids altogether – by offering “child-free flights.”

You can probably guess why so many people love this idea: Because next to crashing, many travelers say their biggest fear of flying is sitting next to a screaming, kicking kid! These days, children are seriously testing the patience of passengers who’ve been frustrated by long security lines, high baggage fees, and crowded flights. For example: In March, a Southwest Airlines passenger allegedly grabbed a boy who’d been kicking the back of her seat during a flight to Las Vegas. Over the summer, a woman sued Qantas Airlines after suffering hearing loss – from sitting next to a screaming child on a flight from New York to Australia.

What do airlines think of creating “no kids” zones on planes, or offering child-free flights? David Castelveter is a spokesman for the airline industry who says no-child policies are unlikely to happen any time soon. That’s because airlines are having a hard enough time being profitable. So the last thing they want to do is try something that might discourage families from flying!

So what should you do if you get stuck flying next to a screaming kid? First, experts say you need to be respectful of the fact that crying babies are no more fun for parents than they are for you. If you’re that worried about traveling near noisy kids, then pack a set of noise-canceling headphones in your carry-on bag.

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