Japan Airlines has released a new tool that will allow passengers to see if there will be families with babies near their seat assignment and change seats if they choose, CNN reports. The move is getting mostly positive and excited responses from travelers.
For as long as air travel has been a thing, crying babies have been the bane of passengers everywhere. Long, crowded flights are stressful enough without additional annoyances, but adding a crying baby to the mix can make the process nothing short of unbearable.
Fortunately, Japan Airlines (JAL) is trying to get ahead of the curve, however they can. They can’t, of course, ban families with infants from flying nor can their flight crew wave a magic wand that will calm a crying baby. But at the very least, they say, they can warn travelers when they’re going to be seated near a baby when they purchase their seats.
The Baby Seat Map tool essentially works like this: when a passenger books their flight and pre-selects their assigned seat, they’ll get a rather cute warning if there’s going to be a baby nearby, according to a statement from the airline.
“Passengers traveling with children between 8 days and 2 years old who select their seats on the JAL website will have a child icon displayed on their seats on the seat selection screen.”
Air travelers are excitedly on board (no pun intended).
Thank you, @JAL_Official_jp for warnings me about where babies plan to scream and yell during a 13 hour trip. This really ought to be mandatory across the board.— Rahat Ahmed ✈️ Tokyo (@dequinix) September 24, 2019
Please take note, @qatarairways: I had 3 screaming babies next to me on my JFK-DOH flight two weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/kQYQFIqqCD
There are limits, however. The child icon won’t display if you book your seat through a third-party website or aggregator, such as Expedia or Travelocity; you have to use the JAL website if you want to be warned about a baby. You also won’t be warned about nearby babies if you book your seat “as part of a tour or using award tickets.” Also, if there’s a last-minute change in the type of aircraft you’re flying on, your baby-free seat assignment is out the window (again, no pun intended).
As for travelers with babies, JAL is doing what it can to make the process as smooth and painless as possible. At airports that JAL flies into and out of, its passengers can rent strollers so that they don’t have to bring them from home, and then have to check them onto the aircraft. For those who do decide to bring their strollers onboard, the airline will accept them as checked baggage for free. Further, passengers and families traveling with infants can make use of priority boarding, and the airline offers hot water for bottles as well as diaper changing facilities on board.