Child Free Flights: How the childless can be less of a pain in the… rear.
Air Asia has just announced that that they will be offering child-free quiet zones on some of their flights. As someone well out of the baby-toting years of parenthood, I can see how this will be appreciated by the many folks on flights who don’t have toddlers and don’t “hear the music” as my husband puts it.
I don’t enjoy ill-behaved children. As a parent, however, I realize that it’s a bit more complicated than it appears to the casual observer to keep a kid sane, happy and socially acceptable on a 30 hour marathon around the world. I’m not opposed to a few rows of “quiet seating” as it does more than isolate the childless from the irritating child, it isolates the irritating adults from the parents who are doing their level best, with more or less success, depending on the flight.
We can all agree that parents should do their best to make sure their kids are cooperative on a flight. But the flip side of that is that people traveling without young children (which is most of us, frankly) could really stand to work a bit harder at not being a pain in the ass and perhaps even stretching so far as to be part of the solution.
- We were all children once, and someone extended extra grace to us on hard days, could we not do the same?
- Could we not give haggard parents the benefit of the doubt? Trust me, no one is more invested in that child’s happiness than the parent.
- Would it be the end of the world for us to, perhaps, say an encouraging word to the parent, instead of shoot a dirty look?
- Here’s a revolutionary thought? Why carry a little package of wikki stix in your carry-on, to share with a kid who is just about at the end of his rope? Or maybe a some crayons, or a booklet of stickers?
Would that be too much to ask?
Quiet-zones on flights are one part of the solution, but another part is treating children like people, not pets, and remembering what it was like to be little and out of control of your environment. Why not be a blessing to a struggling parent instead of one more critic, and find a way to be part of the solution?
It’s just good karma.