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Airline launches child-free zones for travelers who are sick of screaming kids

Air Travelers with Children
Shelly Goettelmann waits at John Wayne Airport to board a plane to Pittsburgh while her children catch a nap. An India-based airline has added a child-free zone for people who want a quiet flight.
(Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Parents who don’t control their noisy children top the list of most annoying violators of airline etiquette — and now there is another air carrier that is doing something about that.

IndiGo, a low-cost airline based in Haryana, India, has added “quiet zones” to its domestic and international flights where seats are not sold to travelers 12 years and younger in rows 1-4 and 11-14.

“These zones have been created for business travelers, who prefer to use the quiet time to do their work,” IndiGo spokeswoman Sakshi Batra said. 

Passengers who book seats in the quiet zone must pay an extra fee ranging from $6 to $20, depending on the flight.

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The new seating option follows similar moves from Scoot, a low-cost airline from Singapore; AirAsia X, a low-cost carrier from Malaysia; and Malaysia Airlines.

Though no American-based airlines have proposed the idea, a child-free zone might have support in the U.S. 

A survey of 1,001 Americans by the travel site Expedia found that 41% of those who were questioned said annoying children and their parents were the worst airplane etiquette violators.

Also, 49% of Americans surveyed said they would pay extra to be seated in a designated “quiet zone,” free of screaming children, the survey found.

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The reaction on Indian social media seems mixed.

A woman who goes by the Twitter handle Ms Jaybe told IndiGo on Twitter: “Yes, kids make noise but I shouldn’t be forced to listen to it. They’re yours.”

Another traveler with the Twitter handle Raghav Nirwani told IndiGo that the “quiet zone” policy “just confirms that @indigo6e is child unfriendly. Can’t make anything else of it.” 

hugo.martin@latimes.com

To read more about the travel and tourism industries, follow @hugomartin on Twitter.

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