Amazingly, the second biggest fear of flying, after a hairy landing, is sitting next to a screaming child. As travelling by air becomes increasingly fraught, it seems that for some, close proximity to an uncontrollable toddler can be the last straw, and travellers are starting to kick up a fuss, adult style.
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, reports the New York Times.
A recent survey of 2,000 travellers by Skyscanner, a fare-comparison site, found that 59 percent of passengers support creating special sections on flights for families and nearly 20 percent said they would like to see airlines offer child-free flights. Bloggers claim they would gladly pay extra for a child-free flight, or would like the chance when booking to ask for a seat away from children.
The idea is supported by many parents, who would welcome a place to sit where they wouldn’t feel stressed if the kids start to play up or just get a little weepy. However a spokesperson for the US Air Transport Association has said that an industry struggling to make profits and faced with the logistical problems could not afford to introduce such a policy.
Anya Clowers, a registered nurse and proprietor of JetWithKids.com, a blog about flying drama-free with children, advises parents to stay calm, as children pick up on their parents’ stress. Childless travellers should consider using noise-cancelling headphones and remember that adult passengers can be annoying too, she said.