Earlier this month, a drunk man allegedly slapped a crying child on an airplane in the US and used a racial slur. This behaviour is unexcusable, and the man now faces federal charges and has lost his job as a CEO.

However, the incident raises age-old questions about children on airplanes, raising tensions when nerves are already frayed. When a child cries on a plane, nobody wins – the child is clearly unhappy, the parents are stressed and embarassed, and irritable passengers have to suffer at close quarters. Is there a solution?

Rowdy adult passengers are regularly removed from airplanes, and in extreme cases families have been removed for their toddlers’ disruptive tantrums. Even yesterday, an Australian shopping centre sparked debate with an announcement that screaming children “will not be tolerated”.

As a compromise between tolerating the natural behaviour of children and keeping other passengers happy, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsiaX offer child-free zones on their airplanes and Thomson even offers a range of adult-only holiday resorts – is this a great idea that helps everybody, or is it unfair discrimination?

CNN cites a range of surveys which express support for separation – one poll found that 23 per cent of respondents would pay a small fee to sit in a child-free zone, and another found that 59 per cent supported special family areas on airplanes.

What do you think?

 

 

Image by _Nezemnaya_ on flickr

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