I think the gods may have finally heard my plea. “Please, powers above, let me not be seated next to any more screaming babies with a case of whooping cough; kids that haven’t yet grasped the concept of personal space and flail their bony arms about as they whine for attention; bratty boys that mindlessly yet repeatedly kick the back of my chair as they zone out to cartoons …”
I’m talking about the joys of flying with children, of course. Not my children (of which I have none) — just everyone else’s. I can’t tell you how many times in recent weeks I’ve uttered that silent prayer as I make the journey from the airport gate to my seat on the plane. And how many times my heart has sunk as the empty seats next to me are eventually taken by a parent and their child, or worse — two children in a row.
“Mummy, change the channel. I want to watch that show. No, the other one. The other one. Mummy, what are you doing? I don’t speak Icelandic! I want it in English!”
I’ve readily admitted that I would be happy to pay a little extra if it meant I could be seated a safe distance from the young and the restless.
Well, now, it appears, I can. Scoot Airlines, the low-cost arm of Singapore Airlines, has introduced a ‘quiet zone’ — 41 seats at the front of the economy cabin where under-12s are not allowed. The aptly named ScootinSilence service comes at a price, of course, but at S$18 extra (£9, $15 CAD), it’s not too steep to put me off, plus comes with the bonus of an additional four inches of seat recline. I may not like paying more for checked luggage or onboard food, but to retain my sanity on a long-haul flight, I’m sold.
Apparently, Scoot isn’t even the first airline to go the child-free route. Other airlines including Malaysia and AirAsia X have been doing so for a while. Big ups Asia.
And let me just be clear: I don’t hate children. I understand that everyone’s got to get from A to B, including families with small kids. Hell, I appreciate that the real people that suffer are the parents themselves. It can’t be an easy task managing one or multiple offspring in a confined space for hours on end, and with the likes of grumpy old me giving them dirty looks and sighing heavily every time one of their kids squeals. So really, seating us apart is a win-win situation, right?