Originally thought to affect all babies, the ban was then thought to only affect those “lap children” who did not have their own seat.
Back in 2010, passengers were pushing for airline flights for adults only — no children allowed. “In July, Qantas settled a lawsuit from a woman who claimed that she suffered hearing loss after sitting next to a screaming 3-year-old boy on a 2009 flight from New York to Australia”, according to this article written on November 12, 2010 by Douglas Quenqua of The New York Times. The terms of that settlement were not disclosed. “In January, AirTran removed an entire family from a flight before takeoff from Fort Myers, Fla., because their 3-year-old girl was hitting the parents, making noise and refusing to take her seat. And in March, a 42-year-old woman allegedly grabbed a boy (3 years old, again) for kicking her chair during a Southwest flight to Las Vegas.”
Somehow, though, the adults-only flight and the banishment of children from the premium class cabin never really caught on. Why were those policies not popular?
I have a theory; and no, it is not an original theory: it is not the children who are at fault. Often, it is the parents who are responsible for teaching their children how to behave properly in public. In many cases, it can be done successfully…
…but you cannot ban the parents from a cabin of an airplane or from the airplane itself, leaving the children alone. Besides — why punish the child? He or she needs for someone to care for him or her; to encourage learning; to show the child how to get the most out of life — especially when it comes to travel.
It really irritates me when a child persists on being mischievous — kicking the back of my seat, for example — and the parent either does nothing about it; or repeats idle threats. “You better stop by the time I count to three…one…two…I said stop! I am going to count again…” There is absolutely no excuse for that. The child is not exactly excited that the parent cannot seem to count all the way to three. I personally would be embarrassed if I were the child.
“Hey — at least my mom can count all the way to three. What can your mom do?!?”
I do not expect children to be prim and proper at all times. They are children. They want to play. They need interaction. They are curious about new things, new people, new experiences. In fact, I encourage the idea of children traveling. To me, travel is the best learning experience, with the world as the best classroom to be found.
As a moderator on FlyerTalk for years, I have seen members belittle fellow members who are younger than 18 years old simply because of their age. That behavior is just plain wrong, in my opinion. I personally think it is wonderful when a teenager logs in to FlyerTalk and wants to find out all about different types of airplanes; asks about different places to go; and wants to collect frequent travel loyalty program miles and points.
It sure beats them feeling neglected and resorting to joining gangs, getting wasted or committing crimes.
As much as I despise screaming children who kick seats and whine when they do not get their way, I absolutely enjoy watching the eyes of a young child fill with wonder: discovering how to move that window shade up and down for the first time; visiting a new place in a foreign land; hearing music he or she has never heard before; and speaking that first word in a language other than the one he or she normally speaks. The questions a young child can ask through innocent eyes may cause an adult to stop and think “Wow — I never though of that!” and look at things in an entirely different way…
In my opinion, the ideal solution would be for parents — as well as other influential figures in the life of a child — to pay attention to the child; to continuously set a proper example; and to teach their children on how to behave while out in public — but without stifling the natural need of the child to learn, grow, wonder…