Beginning this week, kids are banned from the first seven rows of economy class on AirAsia X flights to China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia, and Nepal.
Kids under the age of twelve will not be allowed to sit in the kid-free “Quiet Zone,” which is separated from the rest of the plane by the restrooms and curtains. And for those naive enough to think that a baby’s screams will be kept at bay by a flimsy curtain and a few rows of seats, the seats come at an extra charge. Seats in the child-free areas, called “Quiet Zones,” can be purchased for an additional cost of $11 to $35.50. The cost is comparable to the additional charge for choosing specific seats in economy class, or the “hot seats” section that provides more leg room.
In an official press release, AirAsia X’s CEO Azran Osman-Rani described the new policy as a “heavenly package for those who want peace of mind.”
Peace of ear, however, may be elusive. The “Quiet Zone” has softer lighting and is sectioned off from the rest of the plane by the restroom and bulkheads. The theory, of course, is that no one is the “Quiet Zone” will be able to hear the kids back in regular seating.
Of course, anyone who has been within 300 feet of a crying baby or mid-tantrum toddler knows that those screams won’t be held off by a partition and a few curtains. Although parents armed with bribe candy may rest easier knowing that those who are disgruntled about flying babis are sitting far away.
Just as cigarette smoke could waft into the non-smoking areas before it was banned, so too will noise, said George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, speaking to NBC News when AirAsia X’s new option was announced last year.
“If you were just one row away from the smoking section, you still got the smoke,” he said. “And you’ll still hear the screams … if a child has strong lungs.”
Osman-Rani made sure to note that children are not being banned from flying, and that the new offering was about “customizing preferences” and “fair choice,” pointing out that the flights will be adding three baby bassinets to the other two economy cabin sections.
What do you think about AirAsia X’s new “Quiet Zones,” and should other airlines follow suit?
[Image via Shutterstock]