Complete Without Kids

Exploring all facets of childfree living.

Three Reasons Why Childfree Zones Are Super

Airlines offer refuge from noisy kids.

June is here, kicking off the start of another busy travel season. Some of us will be driving, protected by the bubble of our own vehicles, but others will fly the friendly -- or not so friendly -- skies.

Check online and you’ll find quite a lot of commentary on childfree zones in airplanes. The Daily Mail reports that 70 percent of Britons want childfree zones, as well as not having to sit near drunk passengers and seat kickers. 

Late last summer, Scoot Airlines began to set aside a substantial section of each flight for travelers over the age of twelve. The call it the “ScootinSilence” area.

Some parents, and perhaps others as well, are confused about why anyone would not want to sit near their child, so I’ve described a few reasons below.

1)  My vacation starts the minute I walk out the door, and I savor a quiet, peaceful ambience, even on an airplane. This is the case for many travelers. Some folks get quite anxious when flying and being assaulted by the wails of a child only serves to increase their tenseness. And it’s challenging to practice relaxation exercises, which can truly be effective, when the back of your seat is being kicked.

2)   No, we really don’t want to see your breasts. I understand that breastfeeding is a healthy alternative and that young babies need to be fed often, but this is no excuse for baring it all. A modicum of modesty is called for here, perhaps a shawl, so that we aren’t all a part of your infant’s meal time. That said, even writing about this subject is bound to bring an onslaught of angry statements from moms.

3)   Safety is key. I was on a flight a couple of years ago in which a young mother allowed her child to literally run up and down the aisles, throw food, and jump on her seat (he was supposedly under the age of two and didn’t even have to have his own seat). The flight attendants seemed to be unwilling to take a firm stance with the mom, despite protests from a number of passengers. Jet Blue actually turned a plane around and asked a family to get off after they were unable to keep their daughter in her seat. A similar incident occurred on an Alaska Airlines flight when a young child threw a tantrum when his Ipad was taken away and he had to sit in his seat with his seatbelt on.

So, happy travels this summer. Remember to take your patience along with you. And if you have the chance, try out a childfree zone—or ask your airline about creating one for future flights.

Ellen Walker, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and the author of Complete Without Kids: An Insider's Guide to Childfree Living By Choice Or By Chance.

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