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  • Did You Know? Airline Passengers in Some Flights May Choose to Sit in Child-free Zones

    Some commercial carriers have introduced "quiet zones" in their flights for a stress-free flying experience
    by Lei Dimarucut-Sison .
Did You Know? Airline Passengers in Some Flights May Choose to Sit in Child-free Zones
PHOTO BY @SPmemory/iStock
  • Summer break is one of the most anticipated times of the year, especially for busy parents (a bit redundant, we know) because it's an opportunity to come up for air (breathe!) and take a much-deserved holiday to recharge.

    Family trips are exciting and, for the most part, fun, but we parents are aware of the challenges of being with babies / toddlers 24 hours a day x the number of days (or weeks) the vacation will last — and this commences with the trip to your destination.

    Tired, sleepy, or hungry kids cooped up in a vehicle for a long trip can get restless, cranky, and noisy. If you dread that, so do other people, especially if they have to sit next to an inconsolable, screaming toddler.

    If your family getaway involves a plane ride, better go and check the airline's policies on having kids on board. Beginning a few years ago, several air passenger carriers have been quietly (pun intended) introducing child-free sections in their flights, following clamor from their customers.

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    Some of the airlines that have given passengers an option to be seated away from kids are:

    Air Asia X, a budget airline from Malaysia, advertises a "Quiet Zone" in their long-haul flights where one may enjoy "gentle ambient lighting" and "minimal noise with no disturbances." These seats are available for passengers 10 years old and above, and sell for an additional $25 to $55.  

    Low-cost Singaporean airline Scoot has a section in some of its flights where kids 12 years old and below are not allowed. The seats also have an adjustable headrest and offer more legroom.

    IndiGo, a budget airline from India, reserves rows 1-4 and 11-14 in some of their flights for business travelers. These sections are off-limits to children 12 years old and below.

    In 2012, Malaysia Airlines has declared the upper deck of the economy section of Airbus A380 as kid-free zones to allow business travelers a more restful and enjoyable flight. Those who are flying with kids 12 years old and below, therefore, may only book seats in the main economy cabin on the lower deck, or in business class.

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    Luckily for us parents, there are people (and airlines) who understand. 

    In 2016, low-cost American airline JetBlue made having kids on board bearable — and rewarding — for passengers flying with them. In time for Mother's Day, they launched the first-ever "FlyBabies" campaign where everyone on board received 25 percent off a future flight each time a baby in the same flight cried. That meant a free round trip ticket for all passengers if it happened four times! But the bigger message it gave to travelers was really to be more considerate of parents with young kids. 

    As not all of us can afford to hand out noise-canceling headphones to fellow passengers in first class the way Hollywood celebrities George Clooney and his wife Amal did when they flew with their then-6-month-old twins Ella and Alexander to London, here are some tips that might minimize the possibility of your toddler wailing inside the plane:

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    How to handle a fussy toddler during a plane ride:

    1. Time your feedings well.

    Some moms who frequently travel with their kids recommend delaying breastfeeding, if possible, until before the flight takes off to address the problem of ear pain during ascent.   

    2. Surprise him with toys he has never seen before.

    These don't have to be pricey toys — just your mini-soldiers or cheap squishy toy will do. You're going for novelty here, so don't bring out everything in your arsenal all at once. 

    3. Bring snacks.

    An unfed child is a problem waiting to happen, so bring some of his favorite snacks, even the ones you rarely let him indulge in (but avoid the sugary stuff). trust us, you're gonna need them. 

    4. If all else fails, take a walk. 

    The short trip may distract him, or help him release that pent-up energy.

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