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Some Airlines Are Forcing Kids to Sit in Separate Sections

Photograph by Twenty20

Traveling with small children is always an adventure, but when cruising altitudes rise above 39,000 feet, a quick trip to grandma’s house can easily become a loud and terrifying experience.

Between screaming, fidgeting and eagle-eyeing random strangers, kids are enough to push some passengers to the brink of madness. For those, unable to shrug off interruptions and awkward glances, a short flight can seem like an eternity.

Though most have come to accept that infants and small children are included in the price of a ticket, others argue that airlines should seat them separately (as in somewhere else, away from them). It turns out they aren't alone, and the long and heated debate over how airlines should handle the seating of small children just took an interesting turn.

According to Business Insider, the “growing movement” to force kids to sit in a separate section on airplanes is already happening over international waters.

In 2017, over half of the respondents from the Airfwarewatchdog Annual State of Travel Survey said that families with young children (ages 10 and under) should be required to sit in a separate section of the plane. Since then, several international airlines—including Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Scoot Airlines and IndiGo—began offering "kid-free" zones to customers who preferred not to sit near small children.

So, does this mean that U.S. airlines are going to start checking kids at the door like luggage? Not according to Airfarewatchdog editor Tracy Stewart, who told Business Insider that doing so would likely spark outrage.

"It would be great if an American carrier would give it a shot," she added, "but I would be surprised if anyone takes it on."

Stewart also suggested that parents don't always recognize how disruptive their children can be to those around them. "If you're a parent and you live with that kind of behavior, you're probably pretty resigned to kicking and screaming. If some stranger calls out your kid for misbehaving on a plane, those situations escalate so quickly."

With tensions mounting that high in an already strained environment, it's unlikely that any U.S. airline will even bother “testing” to see if a child-free seating zone would work. In fact, most airlines would rather listen to passengers complain about a screaming baby than face the turbulence of an angry parent whose child was ordered to sit elsewhere.

Even so, the trend has begun and it's only a matter of time before it heads this way.

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