Should airlines create separate sections for kids, larger fliers?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by JohnDeere19, Mar 23, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/2011-03-23-1Aseatingwars23_CV_N.htm

    By Charisse Jones, USA TODAY
    It's not that Ian Burford hates children. But the founder of the Facebook page "Airlines should have kid-free flights!" would prefer not to have a wailing tot nearby when he flies.
    "I'm 6-4, so seating is always an issue," says Burford, who launched his page a year ago. "But when you're uncomfortable anyway, and then you have some young child screaming or kicking the back of your chair, it just puts you in a bad position, because there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. It's not a case of not liking kids. It's a case of not wanting them sitting next to you or behind you when you travel."
    Across the skies, there's a growing debate over whether airlines should do more to segregate the seating of passengers — with designated areas for kids, for example. At a time when increasingly crowded jets have helped to make flying less pleasant for many passengers and social media allow them to instantly tweet their frustrations to the world, a comfortable perch on the plane — and some tranquility around it — has become ever more precious.
    Polls of fliers by the travel search site Skyscanner and of business travelers by Britain's Business Travel & Meetings Show indicate a majority of airline passengers want sections set aside for families, or cabins that are for adults only. Overweight passengers have complained about being humiliated as airlines enforce rules that they pay for a second seat so they won't crowd their fellow fliers. And some passenger advocates say that designated rows for those who are tall, heavy or disabled would be a good idea.

    Full article available http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/2011-03-23-1Aseatingwars23_CV_N.htm
     
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  2. euromannn
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    euromannn Gold Member

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    I once sat in front of a "larger flier" who was 6-2, 260 lbs, shaved head, and had her gf draped all over her. Her knees were in the back of my seat and after 3 hours in flight she told the FA(Flight Attendant) that I must move my seat up as she could not fit in her seat due to lack of leg room.

    The FA asked me to move which I refused and then told the pilot who came back to address the situation. I showed the pilot that a man 6-5 across the aisle could sit comfortably in his seat if he sat erect. I then told the pilot that the FA ignored my comments that the "larger flier" was intentionally sitting at a strange angel to accommodate her gf.

    The pilot ordered the larger passenger to another seat where she did not have a problem sitting upright the rest of the flight!!!!
     
  3. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I don't understand why airlines need a separate section for larger pax. Couldn't they sit in F? Those seats are bigger. If they're all crammed back into a single row or two of Y, that seems to make the problem even worse if they're too wide to begin with.

    Buying an extra seat makes sense. Larger pax take up more space and use more fuel, both of which are limited on an airplane. If they also frustrate smaller pax who are upset that their airline doesn't enforce a two-seat policy, then they can reduce customer loyalty and cost the airlines even more. Larger pax aren't being denied carriage, they're just being asked to pay for the space they use. XXXL shirts cost more than M in most places due to extra fabric, and no one complains that larger customers are being unfairly being discriminated against at Macy's.
     
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  4. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    I had a child sitting behind me on my most recent Budapest trip and the mother could not care less about his incessant screaming. I don't normally mind children on the flight, but for the mother to not consider other people on the flight was just selfish.

    I could see a group of 3 or 4 seats being turned into 2 seats (1.5:1 or 2:1) for persons of size and charging appropriately, then if these seats go unsold, they're opened for elites. A coworker of mine is ~350-400 lbs and had to buy an extra seat on a recent trip to LHR and there were no problems. Being a tall person, I'd pay extra for seats with extra legroom (i.e. E+) so I don't see why its any different for a person of size to be at least given the option.
     
  5. Mike1625
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    Mike1625 Silver Member

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    Ok, well, I'm fat, now that we have got that out of the way.

    I don't want a special row for me and my people. Lucky for me, I end up in first class, a lot of the time.

    But, one thing that airlines and boeing/airbus need to consider, people (in particular Americans) are getting bigger. The standard airline seat may need to be an inch wider. Maybe it comes out of the aisle, maybe the planes need to to be little wider.
     
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  6. MSPeconomist
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    I don't object and it could be a good idea for airlines to offer special seats for larger and/or taller passengers, but they should pay accordingly. To me, it doesn't seem fair to simply give some passengers more space or nicer seats, possibly in a special section, simply because they're bigger. This could be a good alternative to requiring implicitly that they either purchase an extra seat or fly FC, although if purchase of the extra seat is required or requested, they should receive FF miles for the extra seat and other privileges, such as a double baggage allowance and double F & B.
     
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  7. Mike1625
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    Mike1625 Silver Member

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    The question I would have, is would I be forced into one of those special seats, if I could sit in another seat and not hurt anyone else. If the flight wasn't full, if my wife was next to me, and she didn't object to us sharing two seats ... and so on ......

    For the record .... I never, ever in my life asked to lift the armrest between myself and a stranger.
     
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  8. Gargoyle
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    It just couldn't work- with thousands of flights a day, how could the airlines know exactly how many children and how many large pax will be on every flight, and allocate the exact number of seats for those sections? What happens when there are irops? Where do you put the standbys? Or should they just add a bunch more flights so they can reduce load factors to 60% on every flight, and raise prices accordingly?

    It seems like the author quoted needed to come up with a topic for an article, and the newspapers want articles to be controversial; they like magnifying issues.
     
  9. MSPeconomist
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    In my post, I said that airlines should "offer special seats." There was no statement of coercion if no one is inconveniencing a stranger.

    If you and your wife purchase and use two seats, it's no one's business unless there's a safety issue. For example, if sharing the seats means that she sits on your lap and it blocks aisle access in an emergency for the person (stranger) in the window seat of your row. Similarly, seat belt extenders are usually forbidden in exit rows.
     
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  10. Derek
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    Derek Silver Member

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    if the cargo hold is good enough for my perfectly behaved dog, than it should be equally suitable for your out of control kid... :)
     
  11. Derek
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    Derek Silver Member

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    Follow up; part of that was in jest (I would never put my dog in the hold). But I do think there should be fines for screaming/seat kicking kids. Some parents won't control their kids unless their hand is forced. Fines would incentive good parenting in flight. I mean, think about it; If I pop a few ambien and have a few bloody mary's and start screaming at the top of my lungs the plane gets diverted and I get a date with the FBI, but when your kid does it the flight attendant smiles at you. Not fair.
     
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  12. MSPeconomist
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    Actually, I'd prefer that the out of control kid be muzzled and caged out on the wing so as not to disturb your dog.
     
  13. euromannn
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    euromannn Gold Member

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    hahaha
    A children only flight leads to lighter takeoff weight per passenger whioch allows more cargo weight which means a cheaper per passenger cost as more cargo revenue per plane.

    I think were on to something!!!!

     
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  14. Gargoyle
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    I disagree. I think the overhead bin is better suited, it's just the right shape and size. Kids could damage checked luggage if they're in the cargo hold. The only change needed is to add some noise dampening coating on the inside of the bins.
     
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  15. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    First airline to ban children outright gets my business.
     
  16. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    I feel like there are many, many business travelers that would agree with you here. Is it just me, or isn't this demographic that the airline would like to keep happy?
     
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  17. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    I am not a business traveler. Just a person who doesn't want to raise my own kids and certainly doesn't want to raise anyone else's.

    Now that said I understand kids will be kids. My real issue is the parents in vacation mode on the plane who don't give a darn what their children do. A parent trying to control a kid will always get my respect and i'll deal with the kid as I need to. But the parent that doesn't try or "lets them cry it out" can go to hell and die. I don't need on my flight.
     
  18. JohnDeere19
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    Couldn't agree more...that was my biggest issue on my LH flight not too long ago.
     
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  19. babyshark31
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    What would everyone consider a kid? Under 18? 13? For the most part, I would say that kids stop screaming and kicking seats at the very latest at around 10, but that's with my limited, compared to most people here, flying experience. For the most part, light screaming doesn't bother me because I throw on my Bose headphones and relax, but if the kid is with a row or two of me even those don't help much.

    Regarding larger passengers, I think a row or two could easily be converted into 4 seat rows (i.e. two on each side instead of three). There would obviously be a surcharge to sit in such a seat, but it wouldn't have to be as high as F since you aren't getting all the amenities of
     
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  20. Original Member
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    Sorry... I totally disagree with some of the anti-kid sentiment.

    My 5 year old girls have flown since they were 6 days old. They will fly in F or Y with me and have never once been a problem on a flight. I've been on plenty of flights where I get the eye rolling when we're in F and then at the end of the flight get the COMPLETELY PATRONIZING "WOW! I can't believe how wonderful your daughters are!"

    Here's my secrets:
    1) Fly during regular hours. Don't fly early in the morning or at night. Don't fly during nap time unless they go down easily and don't fly during nap if it disrupts naps... meaning, if they sleep from 1-3, don't take a 1 hour flight departing at 2.
    2) Be a responsible adult. My kids love to play with the trays. I tell them they can put them down only 1x/flight and when they put them back up they have to stay up. They ask why, and I tell them that we don't want to bother other passengers. I think it teaches them civility.
    3) Pack well... anticipate. I bring water and healthy snacks. I will buy dinner in the airport. I bring coloring stuff and the iphone with shows they like. When they were smaller I'd bring 2 toys/each.
    4) Don't ignore them. They're probably bored... pay attention to them and not the IFE or whatever else... you're their parent.
    5) Don't drug them. It seems like a great idea than can go very, very, bad. Teach them how to deal with hours of boredom... they will need to learn it eventually.
    6) Buy a seat for them, especially on longer flights. Everyone will appreciate the extra space.
    7) Find the airport playground. Most airports have one and it helps let off steam.
    8) If practical, fly a connecting flight over a nonstop for a long flight (transcon).
    9) Make flying a "normal" activity... kids sense you stressing out and react. The more normal and regular you make the day seem, the better they're behaved.
    10) Don't hype up your kids. You don't hype them up to ride on a bus... again, be low-key and they will follow your lead.
     
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  21. ahow628
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    ahow628 Silver Member

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    I'm a parent, but a lucky one. Our girls have flown IND-LAS-SFO and IAD-DOH-SIN plus a number of shorter flights and they have been little gems. We try to schedule flights near naptime/bedtime. Plus they are just behaved in general.

    That being said, I would perfectly understand if there was a flight for "adults only."

    Secondly, I don't know how much longer airlines can ignore the fact that the weight of a passenger directly affects their costs.

    Also, being a thin guy, I have been in the uncomfortable position of having a 400lb guy's sweaty armpit touching me an entire SEA-LAS flight. He couldn't put down the armrest and just barely got by with one seat extender. It couldn't even use my computer to watch a movie and distract myself since my right arm was immobilized due to his encroachment. Something needs to be done, but I certainly don't know what it is.
     
  22. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    That parents that appear to be posting here are not the one's that this article or I am referring to. Both Original Member (great name, btw) & andahow628 appear to be good parents with well behaved children. I'm not saying ban all kids from every flight, but it may be possible and sustainable to do certain flights as adult-only. We also all know that children tend to be placed towards the front of the plane if not the bulkhead (in Y) so one strategy is to sit further back to reduce the risk of getting caught near/next to/in front of/behind a screaming/kicking child.
     
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  23. Original Member
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    It's nice to think you could run an adult-only flight, but what happens with IRROPS and the last flight of the day is adults only? Is there a reason unruly kids are a problem on certain flights/routes more than others? What happens if there's only 2 or 3 flights on that route?

    Seems like making an adults only flight would lead to a pretty solid discrimination lawsuit since interstate travel is considered to be an essential constitutional right.
     
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  24. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    This isn't an attack at you. Just the principle you brought up.

    Ban children from a flight and sue over it. But have a kid kicking me for 8 hours from DFW to HNL and i'm supposed to grin and bare it...
     
  25. Original Member
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    I hear you... I was on a transcon not too long ago from LAX to TPA and there was a kid screaming the entire time right next to me. Mom did absolutely nothing to help the situation and one of the FAs and I tried to give suggestions.

    Unfortunately travel brings multiple types of people together in a common area... >50% of them I'd never want to have dinner with let alone have rubbing against me for hours at a time. In the scheme of things, there are a ton of "undesirable" people who are also trying to get from AAA to BBB. Loud people, smelly people, fat people, people who eat noisily, drunk people, people on their phones, argumentative people, armrest hogs, overhead bin hogs, etc. I'm sure we all have characteristics that turn off at least a few other passengers.
     
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