Kids-free flights in the offing?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011, 19:52 by Aviation Correspondent

Ian Burford last year launched his Facebook page suggesting airlines should be kids free. He said that since comfortable seating was always a problem for him as he was 6’4”, he didn’t want any kids around him kicking in the seats or disturbing him further.

The issue has been up for some time in the industry, whether to have separate areas for kids in flights. Passengers are already cramped into large jumbo jets, as carriers deploy fewer and larger flights to tackle the ever increasing fuel prices.

Polls conducted by travel and business sites showed that majority of travelers preferred to have separate spaces for families, adults and kids. Obese and overweight passengers have complained about being ridiculed as airlines have rules that force them to pay for an extra seat to avoid bullying nearby fellows.

Some are of the opinion that there should be designated areas for tall, heavy and disabled passengers. A 59% of the polled passengers thought that a family cabin was necessary while 74% business travelers in the UK wanted kids out from Business class.

Many seasoned travelers say that air travel, from the moment boarding on to a plane to when reaching the destination is uncomfortable and depressing. Nowadays passengers before booking are looking for roomier and cozier cabins and seats instead of cheaper or direct flights.

In worst cases families have been thrown out of flights as their child wouldn’t settle down and overweight passengers too have been shown the door for not booking two seats.

Market and industry experts suggest that adding an extra section or introducing special flights might be worth a try for airlines. Some feel that kicking kids off planes is not the way to go, to get such a kid-free journey, using noise cancelling earphones or by sitting in the last row of the coach or first class can help.

But there are issues with the separate section thing like for example a family who missed a flight may be stranded after finding none of the next flights have seats in the kids section or may be sitting in the last row of adults section only to hear a baby crying in the next row.

United and Southwest enforces passengers who passively encroach into neighbor’s seat to buy an extra seat. Southwest offers a refund if the flight is not sold out and a second seat is available.