Are Child-Free Zones On Planes A Good Idea?

Kid-Free Zones On Planes: A Good Idea?

It takes a lot to shock me but I've just watched *that* viral video of the kid screaming on a plane, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I feel traumatised.

I gave the clip a quick watch before writing this piece, expecting to see an unruly kid being a kid, but the noise is phenomenal and I can see why passengers on that flight are upset at being subjected to eight hours of it.

If you've no idea what I'm on about then here's the Sun's take on it:

CALLS have been made for airlines to bring in child-free flights after a "demonic" kid was filmed running riot on a journey from Germany to New York. After passengers described the eight hours of screaming as the "flight from hell" it sparked a debate into whether there should be flights reserved solely for adults.

The man who uploaded the film to You Tube doesn't have children and has since claimed that he's being cyber-bullied by parents. "I'm just an artist," he said, questioning why parents have been contacting him to express their outrage at his decision to share footage of the unknown child on the internet. He also suggests the video is evidence that children are addicted to technology, since the child apparently being denied access to an iPad whilst he was filming.

Let me just cut to the chase here. I would have had a hard time listening to that kid for eight hours in a confined space such as a plane – but I have an even harder time understanding why anyone would video such a moment and then share it with the world.

This is a child we're talking about. We know nothing about him, his mother nor his personal circumstances. We don't know whether the incident was due to bad behaviour, an addiction to technology or a hidden disability such as autism. The noise in the video sounds more like verbal stimming to me than 'demonic screaming'. What if this was an autistic meltdown due to sensory overload and not a 'tantrum' caused by technology addiction?

To judge the child or his mother's parenting skills on the strength of this one episode without knowing any of the facts is, in my view, out of line. To incite others to judge it too by posting it online isn't art – it's shaming real individuals who have to live with that moment being scrutinised by the world forever after. We all know how excruciating it is to deal with a child's difficult behaviour in a confined space. Imagine having THAT moment shared on YouTube without your consent. It doesn't bear thinking about.

I'm pretty sure the mum was far from enjoying the experience. Did anyone offer to hold her baby while she got the older child soothed and settled or were they too busy filming to help? Why not ask a mother what she needs in this situation rather than film her for entertainment or public consumption? I'd love to know if anyone did anything besides make her feel awful for a situation that was clearly well beyond the bounds of her control.

We'd like to hear your thoughts on this story. Share your views here or come and join the conversation over on our Facebook page. And have your say in our poll on whether planes should have designated child-free zones.



73 comments

  • Amber R.

    Definitely. As long as by 'Child Free Zone' you mean 'Creche'?

  • Zoë D.

    I'm a mum of a 5 year old and a 4 month old and I think they would be a good idea coz the stress for most a parents is usually made worse by worrying about upsetting others.

    • Teri B.

      I agree as a mother of 2 toddlers. Besides hotels and restaurants already do adult only so I guess it would just follow on from that.

    • Zoë D.

      Yeah it's just the reverse. Although I must admit other folks kids drive me bananas if they run about screaming etc but bad behaviour is different from general excitement chit chat etc

    • Stephanie E.

      Agree with this. We got a very busy nearly 2 year old and i am dreading the 4 hour flight...not because of him being noisey and a typical toodler but about other people and what they may say if he is loud. Jumping about etc :see_no_evil:

    • Danielle A.

      Absolutely agree, my kids can be quite noisy, and I try my best to distract then and keep them quiet. But sometimes no matter what I try nothing works! And people staring and tutting passing judgment just makes the whole journey a lot more stressful.

    • Kirsten R.

      Totally agree. I stress if my youngest hits a wobbler and worry about annoying others. She sees me stressed and it gets worse and then I get defensive if I see anyone giving me the side eye :joy:

    • Lynsey F.

      I agree. My daughter was sick on a flight home from mexico. The lights were dimmed which made it difficult to get to the toilet which resulted in me being covered in sick and my daughter having to be sick into plastic bags. Endless tuts and moans for other passengers so insisted on reclining their seats. Not one person or staff member asked if she was ok! Dreamliner?? Dont think so!

  • Lou P.

    I’d rather have an area for inconsiderate sods that put their chairs as far back possible as soon as they sit down or people that snore/shout all the way through the flight. Most flights I’ve been on you wouldn’t even know kids were there, it’s adults that are the irritants!!

  • Lauren F.

    It would just be like then you could smoke on plans and there were smoking and non smoking planes. The noise would still travel so your no better off

  • Sarah C.

    I have children and i think this is a grrat idea. When i get to go away on a girls holiday i book a child free holiday so i think child free zones sound great its nice to have a little time to be able.to relax and have some me time everyone needs that sometimes.

  • Laura P.

    Brilliant idea!!. I'll stick my kids at the back of the plane and put myself in the child free part :grin:

  • Kayleigh W.

    I’m a mum of 4 one of them is autistic and to me on the other side off this it would be nice to know that I’m sitting were I won’t be judge if my kids make noise as the people that would could choose to sit away from us rather then me having to control something that might not be controllable. Iv been told so many times that I shouldn’t take my kids out if I can’t get them to sit down or not make loads of noise and it’s hart braking as it’s not always possible. I see it that others have just as much right to not sit with me and my kids as I have to sit my kids next to them so if they can have a choice then it saves a lot off hassle.

  • Sarah T.

    On long haul flights yes!

  • Amy K.

    It's a small tube... There are no child free zones. They may not be sat next to the children, but they'll still moan

  • Jane S.

    A plane is public transport, you want to fly without children annoying you, then go private! What next? Buses & trains?

  • Wendy G.

    Speaking as a parent whose children know how to behave in public, why should we be seated near those whose children don't?

  • Gemma E.

    I never judge anyone with kids, (or without) you have no idea about their circumstances. I would, however, always offer a smile, conversation and help if needed. On the other hand will there be a "drunken idiot free" zone? I'm sure the cabin crew and parents would appreciate that. But then are you getting into the realms of stereotypical madness!

  • Amanda M.

    London to USA: very few children on board. Seats being whacked back without checking it was okay with the person behind. Strong BO from some passing me in the aisles. Loud complaints about the tiniest thing. A few taking full advantage of the in flight alcohol.

    Bristol-Paris on a Saturday morning. Flight full of families with young children heading for the magic of Disney. Excited chatter. Smiles. Giggling. Sweets being shared along entire rows. The occasional whimper around take off and landing as kids don't understand why their ears hurt, but otherwise...

    I know which flight I would take again.

  • Ej B.

    Why ever person has the right to be there. Some kids behave better than the adult s !!!!!

  • Laura S.

    I think if it means the people that don't want to be near kids and judge parents who are doing there best to help their kids understand what is happening in a new and scary environment have the ability to book on a child free flight it's kinda a win win situation. They get their child free flight and we get our kn**head free flight....win win :joy:

  • Jade G.

    This actually makes me fume!!

  • Sinead G.

    Sound great. So can we hqve drunk free area. Noisey eaters area. Snob area. The list goes on. Most children that cry on a flight have a good reason.

  • Arlene R.

    Absolutely not! My children are well behaved, they sit and quite happily play with their toys but they do make noise. Children should not be expected to sit in silence just to please a small amount of passengers who wouldn’t even tolerate so much as a sneeze from a child. It’s discrimination against families with children to have them penned in to a section, it wouldn’t be tolerated for say, the elderly so why children?!? The majority of parents ensure their children are well behaved and well entertained on flights.

    • Dominique J.

      Children are a choice, growing old is a privilege afforded to some.

    • Jean-Marie B.

      Well said, and adults should know better, nothing better than seeing and hearing kids excited for their holidays

    • Margarida D.

      Getting drunk is also a choice and we have to put up the abusive behaviour and language...i much rather have children than rude and drunk near me

    • Arlene R.

      Dominique Joy what a load of nonesense. Just because someone is privileged enough to have children means they should be discriminated against and forced to sit at the back of an aeroplane.

    • Gillz C.

      Absolutely agree with you arlene! It's discrimination! Children are children and get excited, they shouldn't be made to sit out the way. It's actually disgraceful that this is an idea!

      I've been on flights were there been arguments, pushing, shoving and moans and groans and that was adults! They are worse.

      People who think this is a good idea need to get a grip!

    • Kirsten R.

      I'm a parent and I don't mind this idea at all. My youngest is being assessed for autism and can have massive tantrums over seemingly small things. Nothing to do with how she is raised or disciplined as my eldest will sit there good as gold. When she does have a meltdown I stress about the upset it is causing others while trying to calm her then I get upset when I see people giving me the 'look' like I'm a bad parent.

    • Arlene R.

      Kirsten Reddick you shouldn’t have to feel that way, I have a friend with a wee autistic boy and it took a lot for her to go on her first holiday abroad as she was worried about the aeroplane. Too many judgemental folk these days who forget they were kids once, or that their kids weren’t angels. Once we were on a plane, it had been a long day and my 2yo had a massive tantrum because he wanted milky buttons (none to be had in palma airport). I was stressed out and a lovely lady came rushing up the aisle with a packet for him. There should be more people like that in the world, rather than those too quick to roll eyes and judge.

    • Dominique J.

      Arlene Rafferty I didn’t say I agreed with or disagree with any point - aging is simply a natural process whereas children are a choice. And that isn’t what discrimination is - there would be normal flights, some may choose to take a child sectioned flight which is perfectly legal, and nobody is forcing anyone.

      Have a solero.

    • Arlene R.

      Aging is natural but children are a choice? You do realise that if no one chose to have children the world would eventually grind to a stop? Having children is as natural as aging, you refer to choosing to have children in the same way that someone would choose to drive a BMW over a Micra. Yes people choose to have children, but that is because it is a normal part of our biological make up that we are designed to want to procreate to ensure that human life continues. To force families with children to sit in a specific section or prevent them from flying if they do not comply is discrimination. The meaning of discrimination- to make distinction in favour of or against a person on the basis of the group, class, or category to which a person belongs to rather than according to actual merit.

  • Dawn W.

    Definitely a great idea. Segregate all the people who dont like kids/lack compassion/need quiet etc. Better for them. And better for parents of young kids do they feel less stressed about upsetting people when their kids are noisy/melting down/ toddling about. Can't see an issue

    • Andrew B.

      It's not always about not liking kids or lacking compassion. The last time I flew, there was a child about 5 or 6 in the seat behind me. Kicked my seat the entire flight. His mother refused to discipline him and told me to.mind my own business, and the flight attendants couldn't move me somewhere else because the flight was completely full.

    • Dawn W.

      That's more to do with wanting to sit away from a shit parent then

  • Helen M.

    I'm a parent and love this idea. Kids all together to make friends. When going child free, you don't even want to see let alone hear anyone else's child :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

  • Gillian A.

    Buy earplugs and keep snide comments to themselves either don’t have kids or kids r older and they forget wot it is like :rolling_eyes::unamused:

  • Roz H.

    No! There should be a more tolerable caring zone who love to see families and others with good behavior being rewarded not chastised !! Have a Drunks and Chav section away from decent human beings! There is a difference between good and bad parenting!

  • DnAB

    My children are grown up now and I have no problem sitting near young children. It’s the self centred parents I object to who seem to think it is their right to sit and watch a movie, chat and drink their duty free booze during the flight, expecting their children to entertain themselves and inevitably get bored and annoy others.

    We used to take a bag filled with books, games,cards and puzzles on flights and took responsibility for ensuring  our children were entertained throughout the flight. I do feel for parents with young babies -there’s not a lot you can do When your baby is crying and other people glowering at you doesn’t help. 

  • Jackie W.

    NO NO NO people seem to forget they were once kid ...Lot of adults act worst then kids on flights !!

  • Gillian H.

    It wouldn’t make a difference where a child was on a plane and it shouldn’t. I’m sure the complainers were not born adults!!

  • Kirsten I.

    No need to separate children. They have just as much right to be there as any other paying passenger... Whilst we are on it what gives this man who videoed a child, the right to do so for one and then to upload it for others to watch?! The child is underage and permission should have been sought from the parents surely??!! I would be sueing his ass!!!

  • Jayne P.

    Yes, I would rather sit away from the miserable people who don't like children on flights x

    • Stacy M.

      If they hate the risk of having kids noise by then that much ,they should just buy first class tickets and stop complaining.

  • Nikki W.

    Hell yes! We can have fun with the kids and other parents, whilst everyone else is dealing with the stags and hens! :joy:

  • Amanda C.

    Not to keep the kids away, to keep the intolerant d?&@"£&@s away from the rest of us sure!

  • Sobia M.

    Don’t think they should be called child free zones but why not call them quiet zones , trains have had them for years . Works on both sides travelling without kids gives you peace and with them less stress of trying not to disturb others ,

  • Kirsty W.

    I’d personally love a zone for children. More colourful etc like party food :joy: the noise is ok and you don’t feel bad on the other passengers. I have a three year old we have been a plane three times, she was good on the last one but cried the first two, I felt anxious, was being judged or I couldn’t control my child. She actually lost her dummy and me being stupid forgot a spare in our on board bags.

    So maybe a fun zone for them so doesn’t seem such a odd environment x

  • Vikki T.

    If a kid screams at the front of a plane you still hear it at the back. Ryanair offer family seats at the back with free seats for under 12s and discount adult seats. Clever way of doing it coz those that have small families choose the cheap seats at the back so naturally end up seated together with other families. Drunk adults are far more annoying, rude and inconsiderate.

  • Rebecca B.

    Hooray- I can put my kids in the kiddie zone and go and sit in the adult zone for some peace and quiet!! What do you mean that's not allowed?!?! :innocent::innocent::innocent:

  • Kirsty M.

    No! Alcohol free zones on flights would be far better.

  • Carol C.

    I do think child friendly areas would be a good idea on planes :thumbsup_tone1:, as well as no alcohol & increased refusal to board for those who have overdone the airport bars!!!! And who in turn ruin others flight:rage:

  • Ann R.

    I was recently on a flight from Glasgow to Dubai when an older man told the couple in front of them to control their 2 year old child and shut her up, what did the 2 yr old do to deserve that attitude? Popped her head over the seat and shouted peek a boo. The couple told him that they wouldn’t shut her up and that she was entitled to be on that plane like anyone else.

  • Hayley R.

    Yes!!!! Even though I have a child when I travel without him I want peace and quiet

  • Cath F.

    Let's have children seen and not hear, talk about going backwards. Perhaps some adults some be put in special areas on planes for not being understanding

  • izzywoo

    i voted yes because i have kids and don't want grumpy judgey people by me and my toddler. He is a nightmare to take anywhere where as my daughter was an very well behaved on planes and people would actual comment on how good she is behaving on the aeroplane journey. So its not obviously parenting as hes completely different. Going on holiday soon and feel that the dread is worse about the other people being judgemental to us than him!

  • Hollie I.

    I am taking my 5 year old and 2 year old on plane September so will let you know after that flight haha luckily only 2 hour one but like someone put it usually others staring or tutting that make worse for parent if child cry’s. People shouldn’t judge especially babies as they can’t speak so crying is their way of communicating. Xx

  • Lou P.

    Aside from the Cinema, and Worship, this (I think) is the only time small children are required to just sit and be quiet. Give them something to occupy themselves!

  • Louise G.

    ... perfect you wouldn’t have to Bother upgrading?I’m booking my seat in the child free zone :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes::airplane::joy:

  • Wendy R.

    I love hearing children and I am quite happy to share a plane with them what happened to tolerance !!!!!

  • Wendy R.

    How about offering to help or just having more tolerance we don't live in a silent world that would be boring and to be honest I would rather listen to children than morons who shout and behave worse than children perhaps we should segregate those badly behaved people or the ones that want silence oops !! No that's discrimination .!!!

  • Ash93

    Hasn't anyone noticed this constant attack on children and men all the time. People need to realise what they are supporting. Everyone voting for this was once a child. I bet none of them were perfect either. 

  • Helen B.

    I have 4 kids... can put up with their crying, noise etc but can't stand other ppl kids crying... :see_no_evil: goes right thu you... am sure other ppl feel the same about my kids :joy::joy::joy:

  • Cat C.

    How on earth do u create a zone.......ur always gonna hear kids on a plane. Its a confined space. All kids cry etc at some point. Ears hurting etc but theyre kids, not their fault. Why do people get so up in arms about this. If u get annoyed, turn up the volume on ur headphones! Its only a few hours at most. Doesnt bother me in the slightest. Drunken assholes and stags n gen groups bother me wayyyyyyy more

  • Danielle A.

    Sounds great, as long as there are enough staff to watch my kids while I'm the adult only zone then I have no issues with this idea

  • Ash93

    And what is this all about everywhere people go others are constantly filming them and posting it online so the person can be judged. Get a life. Babies cry, toddlers have tantrums, get over it. All these crazy people who want child free places and they love to use their so called freedom of speech, but the children themselves aren't allowed a say, where's their freedom of speech? Oh it only exists for the few! That must be democracy! Being manipulated by the media to constantly hate children and men, that's democracy, except for those being attacked. Lastly what are all those people going to do when it comes for them?

  • Siobhan P.

    I'm a parent and I think it's a good idea if I was travelling without my children for whatever reason I would book it :joy::joy:

  • Joanne M.

    they should ask the family who sat next to us on the way home from Majorca :joy::joy::joy:

  • Lynsey F.

    I think an alcohol free plane is a much better idea?! No pissed up passengers causing chaos on a plane - young children having to experience the fall out of people who have had one to many

  • Emily W.

    Yer I think it’s a good idea

  • Sue R.

    My husband and I listened carefully to the video and we both felt this child was non verbal. Why was no one trying to help the mother rather than judging her and her child. It was possibly a frightening experience and angry faces /voices would have escalated the situation. Just because you believe it's bad behaviour doesn't give you the right to judge.

  • Samantha W.

    Excellent idea- you can put all the intolerant, self-centred, ignorant people who don’t understand that families also like to travel on airplanes there, and we won’t have to listen to their moaning about our children.

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