Do we need child-free flights? Twitter seems to think so... 7 years ago

Do we need child-free flights? Twitter seems to think so...

Yesterday, UK morning show This Morning enlisted journalists, Kelly Rose Bradford and Emma Taylor to debate a question that I found laughable until I saw the wide-reaching support it garnered on Twitter (admittedly not the most sensible platform for ideas at the best of times): Do we need child-free flights?

Mum-of-one Bradford argued for child-free flights and child-free zones on planes saying:

"Your holiday starts from the moment you sit on the plane and let out that sigh of relief."

"You've left work behind; left all the stresses behind, and then you take off and all of a sudden you either get kicking in the back of your seat or you get the wailing."

"So I would absolutely be all for adult only flights or specific areas on the plane which were set aside for families so they could create merry hell in there and do what they like."

Meanwhile, journalist and mum-of-two, Emma Taylor argued that segregating children is "discriminatory".

"It's not selfish to go around in society with children, children are part of society."

"They're not mini adults. They are children and people in their own right, and they have a right to go places."

Bradford argued that she believes the very act of bringing a toddler on a plane is out of order as "it's no fun for a toddler being cooped up on a plane".


She even maintained that "there is an element of selfishness amongst parents who insist on not changing their lifestyle once they have children".

This Twitter user basically dismisses toddlers as not even capable of enjoying the holiday experience.

Those opposed to child-free flights were equally vocal:

While this user injected a bit of sense into the debate: 


I have subjected countless innocent bystanders to my son pissed off at altitude. Sure, I'm sorry that fate has dealt them a shitty hand and they have to spend a few hours listening to my son hating life on a plane but I'm not sorry for his being there. It's not some audacity on his part to be existing. This world is his world too.

Even when I'm on the receiving end of another toddler's tantrum I usually just feel immense relief that for once it's not my child. The democratisation of air travel is one of the best things to happen to society in the last few decades. Cheap flights have ensured that the experience of travel is open to a wider group than ever. Instating child-free flights could potentially shut this down. Is anyone else picturing airlines introducing toddler-taxes or lactating-levies on the hypothetical child-free flights? And what about the message it sends to children? 'You're not wanted here.' Loud and clear. Are we devolving back to Victorian parenting styles with the old 'children should be seen and not heard'?

I encounter plenty of adults day-to-day that irritate me, can I make a case for them to be ostracised by society?

As for the proposed family areas on flights, Sartre's phrase "hell is other people" springs to mind, though I will amend it slightly here for my purposes: "Hell is other people's children". Maybe consolidating all the families in one area is not the answer. Such a concentration of toddler angst in one place could result in parents suffering PTSD. Having children dispersed throughout a plane kind of diffuses the intensity. Perhaps we could put all the kids in one place, and the parents could be in another area, the Parent Pen having gin and tonics. Maybe that could be the solution.

My strategy is to hand out sweets and condoms to passengers in my vicinity pre-takeoff, a little wry humour to diffuse the situation in advance and advise them to use the mantra: This too shall pass.

Have you had a particularly horrendous experience with kids on a flight?

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