Bad parents oppose kid free flights?

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Bad parents oppose kid free flights?

Keli Goff: Why Bad Parents Oppose Kid-Free Flights

I've long believed that people who claim they don't like kids are misguided. It's not that they don't like kids. They just don't like bad parents.
I was reminded of this when I had yet another semi-silly discussion with well-meaning parents (on the fabulous HuffPost Live, no less) who believe that not only should their world revolve around their kids but every other person on the planet's world should too. Apparently some parents are up in arms over the movement towards child-free cabins on airlines, which some anticipate are merely serving as a possible precursor to child-free flights.
Here's a million-dollar question: what's wrong with that?
One would think that after the appalling story of alleged racist Neanderthal Rickey Hundley, who is accused of assaulting a crying baby on a flight, that more parents would applaud giving jerks like him the option not to fly anywhere near children (or humans in general for that matter) but no. There are parents who believe their children should be welcome everywhere -- even in places where people are willing to pay not to be near them.
Despite the fact that there are already couples-only resorts, (not to mention nudist resorts), opponents of child-free options tend to ramble on about things like "intolerance." But the definition of "intolerance" is "unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of different races or backgrounds, etc."
Hmmm. So if someone is willing to pay for extra legroom for a more comfortable seat, and that same someone is also willing to pay for a child-free cabin to increase the likelihood of enjoying a quieter seat, but your superior opinion is that your kids are adorable and every person should be forced to see them as adorable too, and therefore should have to sit near your kids whether a person wants to or not, that would make you... what's the word? Could it be "intolerant?"
We all have to do our part to make living in this society as civil as possible. I agree with parents who get offended when adults swear in front of children on airplanes, or even loudly in a restaurant or movie theater. It's rude and it's tacky. But by the same token if you bring your five-year-old to a rated "R" movie, you're a bad parent. (Cue the obligatory: "And just how many kids do you have Ms. Goff, the parenting expert?" To which my standard reply is, "I've never been convicted of a crime, or been the victim of one, yet I write about the criminal justice system regularly and no one seems to think I need to have served jail time to at least have an opinion.") But if an adult chooses to swear at a rated "R" film, and your children hear it I would think that's unfortunate, but also your fault. (And for the record I saw the very R-rated Bad Santa in a movie theater and there was more than one small child in the audience. I shudder to think what they thought of the anal sex references.)
The same goes for if you try to force your children on to adults in other domains in which they don't belong. If New York can prohibit adults from visiting playgrounds (and ticket them for doing so), then airlines should be able to prohibit children from certain cabins -- as long as passengers are willing to pay for them, and as long as families are afforded just as many opportunities to fly comfortably to their destinations. Amtrak trains already have quiet cars, which are not explicitly child-free, but prohibit any noise above a whisper and explicitly prohibit cell phones. To be clear, I'd actually rather sit near a crying child than some loudmouth on a three-hour cellphone call while traveling, but that's me. I don't have a right to dictate how someone else defines traveling in comfort, and neither do you.
Even if you're a parent.
Because just being one, doesn't make you a great one. It doesn't make you perfect and it doesn't make you supreme commander of all things good and right in the world. It just means you've had the courage to take on the hardest job in the world, and for that I applaud you. But it doesn't mean that if I'd like to sleep on a cross-country flight I should be made to feel guilty for admitting that I don't want to sit next to your kid and am willing to pay a premium not to do so -- as beautiful, bright, and brilliant as they may be.

Go.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I completely agree. I think it's nice to be offered just like I'm not offended by adults only restaurants. There are times I would pay extra to not hear kids while we were out on a rare date night because I hear my kids all the dang time. What is there to be offended about by this? Take another flight? Sit in the kid friendly cabin?

First world problems.

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

Oh man. While I can see the article's POV, I personally would loathe flying on an airplane full of children just because I have a child. I don't agree with the 'bad parent' thing either. Granted, there are a lot of sucky parents, but then there are children who are special needs and while being special needs does not make a child bad, it is very much a challenge. Unfortunately, people automatically want to call parents bad or the child a brat when they don't know the whole story.

I'm not sure having family with kids air travel could even happen, logistically. Would they fly only at certain times? What about emergency flights because a family member passed away? What if it's for medical reasons to fly to another hospital asap?

The article is mostly wishful thinking.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I took it as there would be one cabin that you couldn't have children in but the rest of the available seats you could?

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

The "my child is a precious snowflake and the world should accept and revolve around them" thing is bs and drives me nuts. Children need to learn that their are expectations of behavior in certain places. Some of those places are optional - like restaurants and movies - and some are not - like planes. If someone wants to pay extra to avoid children in non-optional places like planes they should be able to do that. As long as my ticket price stays the same.

I do think that there are (optional) places that children should not go until they are old enough to behave. Small kids do not belong in movie theatres and fancy restaurants. They won't enjoy themselves, nor will the people around them. DD is 4 and we recently went to a grown up restaurant for DSD's birthday. (The first time since she was a baby that we didn't go to a kid place.) The entire extended family took turns entertaining her so that she wouldn't be bored and make a ruckus. We felt it was our responsibility to make sure she was good, not everyone else's responsibility to put up with her. She may be my precious, but she is no snowflake that needs coddling. There are expectations in this world and there are places she won't go till she can meet those expectations.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

There's something about the tone of this article that rubs me the wrong way (we should be supporting child free cabins so psychos won't assault our children? Should we also have women free places so that psychos don't assault women? Or maybe we could blame assaults on psychos instead?) But aside from the tone, if people want to pay extra to not have to sit with kids, that's fine with me. I probably wouldn't do it, but I can understand why some people would want that and it doesn't really bother me. I will say that I find the tone of a lot of the "child free" stuff to be off putting, like all children are monsters and all parents are jerks and people shouldn't have to be subjected to even being in the same room with people they dislike (despite the actual behavior involved.) But I don't disagree with the content of the message usually.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

I do not like the way the article is written, but agree with the basic premiss overall. There is definitely a large number of parents that do not think their children should be required to act appropriately in social situations. (just spent the weekend with a family like that)

Dh and I are heading to Bora Bora this summer to celebrate our 15th anniversary and I might be willing to pay for this option. I wouldnt on a normal basis for regular flights, but I am really looking forward to some kid free times.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

I do not believe it is any more fair to discriminate based on someone's age than it is to discriminate based on the color of their skin. If a child is so badly misbehaved that he or she needs to be kicked of the plane, then that is one thing. To punish all children and parents of children just because of your age is very discriminatory.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

"mom3girls" wrote:

Dh and I are heading to Bora Bora this summer to celebrate our 15th anniversary and I might be willing to pay for this option. I wouldnt on a normal basis for regular flights, but I am really looking forward to some kid free times.

Congratulations!

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

I can see the appeal of childfree cabins, although pretty much all flying I have done has had one cabin...

Robbie is a good flier, his first plane trip was at 13 months and other then trying to jump into the flight attendants arms when we were leaving (she was trying to high five him, he thought she wanted to hold him...) you would have not known he was on the plane. I am a horrible flier, the pain I get in my ears from cabin pressure (and I do everything I can to stop the pain) makes me want to scream.

The one thing that I do disagree with is the mention of the jerk hitting the baby on the flight as a reason this service is needed. If he had not been drunk as well as a jerk then the incident might not have happened. I might get a lot of flack for saying this but alcohol should not be on planes at all.

Children do need to learn acceptable behaviour and will not learn it if they are not exposed to different situations. The parents that drive me insane are not the ones you can see that are trying to deal with whatever behaviour but the ones that let their kids make a huge fuss, wander around restaurants, disturbing other people and then get mad when their child gets hurt or someone else has to comment to them to look after their child. I have sisters like this. The worst offender commented on how well Robbie was behaving at our niece's wedding (he was 2) while the other kids were running around like banshees (including her grandchildren), I simply said that we have expectations and if Robbie was acting out or needed a break we would have taken him out.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I'm all for it. We are headed to Hawaii this spring which is a long trip from the east coast and I'd absolutely opt for this. There are many services that people can pay to upgrade or opt for out of convenience ~ this is just another!

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I do not believe it is any more fair to discriminate based on someone's age than it is to discriminate based on the color of their skin. If a child is so badly misbehaved that he or she needs to be kicked of the plane, then that is one thing. To punish all children and parents of children just because of your age is very discriminatory.

It's not discriminating. You can still bring your kids on the flight it will just have 1 cabin without kids. Reminds me of smoking/non smoking sections when they existed.

Is it discrimination that there are adult only resorts? Or that there are places only kids can go (I'm still a bit peeved that I can't go and jump in a our local Pump and Jump Wink )?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"Jessica80" wrote:

It's not discriminating. You can still bring your kids on the flight it will just have 1 cabin without kids. Reminds me of smoking/non smoking sections when they existed.

Is it discrimination that there are adult only resorts? Or that there are places only kids can go (I'm still a bit peeved that I can't go and jump in a our local Pump and Jump Wink )?

If there was a plane where there were some seats or parts of the plane did not have young children I do not think it would be a problem. If they limited it so that people could not fly on certian flights or the amount of seats available to children it very much would be discriminatory.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

So if an airline wants to offer so many child-free flights a day you think that is discrimination? Hmmm...interesting.

I'm thinking these would be especially popular for places that fly to places where a lot of adults travel. Las Vegas for one comes to mind (not that kids don't fly to LV but....work with me here Smile ).

I think that there are places my children shouldn't be yet because they can't control some of their actions (one due to her issues and one because she's a raging pain in the butt 3 year old right now). I would love to fly with them on a child friendly flight or know that most of the people in the cabin I was in didn't mind being there or they would have booked the adult only cabin.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1535

"Jessica80" wrote:

So if an airline wants to offer so many child-free flights a day you think that is discrimination? Hmmm...interesting.

I'm thinking these would be especially popular for places that fly to places where a lot of adults travel. Las Vegas for one comes to mind (not that kids don't fly to LV but....work with me here Smile ).

I think that there are places my children shouldn't be yet because they can't control some of their actions (one due to her issues and one because she's a raging pain in the butt 3 year old right now). I would love to fly with them on a child friendly flight or know that most of the people in the cabin I was in didn't mind being there or they would have booked the adult only cabin.

I too would love to know that the people on the plane are a little more kid friendly. My 4 are all pretty good when it comes to traveling, but when you travel it is never a guarantee that they will all maintain the whole time. The last flight we took we were delayed by almost 6 hours, making our landing 3 hours after bed time. The youngest didnt loose it until on the way to the hotel, but we didnt know what we were going to get

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

If there was a plane where there were some seats or parts of the plane did not have young children I do not think it would be a problem. If they limited it so that people could not fly on certian flights or the amount of seats available to children it very much would be discriminatory.

Do you think that its discriminatory that children can't go to many resorts, certain movies, buy cigarettes, go to bars in some states etc etc?

There are lots of things that kids can't do in America. Adding child free flights could be a great business decision for some airlines. Aren't you the one who always doesn't want people to be told what they can do with their own business? There are adult only sections of the boat on the disney cruise, and its hard to argue that that isn't a kid friendly place. Heck, there is even a restaurant at Disney world that won't serve kids under 10. Didn't you just go there? Do you view Disney as actively participating in discrimination?

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"mom3girls" wrote:

I do not like the way the article is written, but agree with the basic premiss overall. There is definitely a large number of parents that do not think their children should be required to act appropriately in social situations. (just spent the weekend with a family like that)

Dh and I are heading to Bora Bora this summer to celebrate our 15th anniversary and I might be willing to pay for this option. I wouldnt on a normal basis for regular flights, but I am really looking forward to some kid free times.

Two of my girlfriends and I went out for dinner a while back and we sat in the lounge side - no kids. Between the 3 of us we have 8 kids, and it sure was nice to sit with just other adults for a while. Smile Jealous about Bora Bora too.

Bonita, how are 'all' parents and children being 'punished' by child-free flights?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"ClairesMommy" wrote:

Bonita, how are 'all' parents and children being 'punished' by child-free flights?

By not being allowed on a flight you need to be on just because you have children. I can not imagine if my parents died and I needed to be able to get to NY quickly, being denied flights because I have young children.

ETA - There are not that many flights from my city to Buffalo. If they limited the flights that children could go on, it would greatly hamper when a child could fly. They would not make more flight as they barely can fill the flights they have now. It would only take away from families. As I said, IMO this would only work in planes that had several compartments and both could still fly.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I would like to think that most companies are not going to alienate their family customers. They would either just do it on routes that they fly a few times a day or on a large plane with many cabins.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

By not being allowed on a flight you need to be on just because you have children. I can not imagine if my parents died and I needed to be able to get to NY quickly, being denied flights because I have young children.

ETA - There are not that many flights from my city to Buffalo. If they limited the flights that children could go on, it would greatly hamper when a child could fly. They would not make more flight as they barely can fill the flights they have now. It would only take away from families. As I said, IMO this would only work in planes that had several compartments and both could still fly.

I haven't read anywhere that airlines are cutting back on regular flights to allow for child-free flights. As far as I am aware, the airlines are offering additional flights that are child-free.

As an aside, I LOVE WestJet because on a flight Dec 20/08 that had been delayed 6 hours with my 21 month old and 15 weeks pg we finally boarded a flight back east for Christmas. DD was laying across DH's and my laps when a female passenger took the aisle seat beside me. She took one look at Claire, stood up and approached the flight attendant saying that she wanted to move to a different seat. The flight attendant politely told her the flight was full and to park it. Smile Plus, Claire slept the whole flight.

mom2robbie's picture
Joined: 01/20/07
Posts: 2541

"ClairesMommy" wrote:

As an aside, I LOVE WestJet

West Jet is amazing. They were so helpful both time when we had to fly out suddenly for my parents deaths. We also got great prices on flights so we did not need to use the bereavement fare. It was on West Jet that Robbie jumped into a flight attendants arms. LOL. They also held him so I could use the bathroom after changing his diaper (it would not have been fun with him in there with me), they also gave me a bag to put the diaper into so that it would not stink up everything Wink

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

By not being allowed on a flight you need to be on just because you have children. I can not imagine if my parents died and I needed to be able to get to NY quickly, being denied flights because I have young children.

ETA - There are not that many flights from my city to Buffalo. If they limited the flights that children could go on, it would greatly hamper when a child could fly. They would not make more flight as they barely can fill the flights they have now. It would only take away from families. As I said, IMO this would only work in planes that had several compartments and both could still fly.

This is a totally irrational fear. It would make no sense for an airline to make a limited flight (like adults only) on a route that they can't even fill with non restricted terms. It just wouldn't happen. The truth is that even if it DID somehow happen (which it would not) you could always fly ahead and have your children follow with your husband on a later flight. I see these flights being offered on frequent business travel routes (or red eyes from the west coast to the east), frequent adult destinations (like Vegas like Jessica mentioned) or other luxury destinations. I don't see the TN to Buffalo route being even considered. Again, it just doesn't make business sense. And at the end of the day, with you being so pro business freedom like you are, I still don't understand how you could seek to limit what business owners do to make their business more profitable.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

I think its a great idea and I would consider paying for an upgrade of that sort. I would do it on very long flights or flights that I knew are likely to have a lot of children.

Kids are definitely different than adults and as long as we are accommodating to families, i see nothing wrong with offerring childfree environments too.

Its not discrimination....we were all kids at some point in our lives, little, somewhat irrational beings, with low patience, limited understanding of the world and of adult social cues and had to deal with the fact that we weren't grown ups yet.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"mom2robbie" wrote:

West Jet is amazing. They were so helpful both time when we had to fly out suddenly for my parents deaths. We also got great prices on flights so we did not need to use the bereavement fare. It was on West Jet that Robbie jumped into a flight attendants arms. LOL. They also held him so I could use the bathroom after changing his diaper (it would not have been fun with him in there with me), they also gave me a bag to put the diaper into so that it would not stink up everything Wink

Yep. I think they're very pro-kids Smile When I flew back east alone when DD was 9 weeks old OMG, the flight attendants were all over us. "Here, let me hold her while you get seated", "I'll help you with the change table in the back" etc. etc. and coming over repeatedly to ask if there was anything I needed. All the children were basically seated in the middle of the plane, over the wings. We had our own little baby/toddler club.