The NY Times offered an article on Saturday about the idea of airlines offering either child-free flights, or sections of the aircraft set aside for families with children. Two notes:
– The set up to the piece includes this bit of nonsense: “flights are full and increasingly devoid of amenities.” Yes, they are full. I’m curious, though, which amenities are they devoid of? What have airlines taken away from us in the past few years that he is referring to? Seatback television with dozens of channels? Hm, no they have that now. In-flight Internet connections? They have that, too. In-seat power for your laptop so you can watch all the movies you brought along with you? Nah – a bunch of airlines have that. Extra legroom? JetBlue, United and others offer that for a small fee. A selection of decent meals for only $6 or so? The airlines have that, too.
The trope that airlines have taken away amenities seems to come from two things: there’s no longer the awful food that nobody liked, and many (though not all) airlines charge for bags. This is also nonsense for many, as plenty of people never checked bags anyway.
This is just lazy writing, and I see it more and more. I expect the Times editors to do better than this.
– The second point is that the idea of a “family section” in the plane is so ridiculous that the article might as well have been suggesting that we separate people on the airline by race. Can a kid on a plane be annoying? Sure. Can a kid in a restaurant be annoying? Sure. Is it up to parents (as much as it’s possible) to teach children manners? Yes. Did American parents decide sometime in the early 1990s that it was unimportant to teach children manners? Apparently. Am I slightly annoyed/jealous when I walk by business class and there is a 5 year old sitting there? Yes, but I’m being an idiot. Some 5 year olds live in bigger houses than I do. Some are driven around in Porsches, while I am not. Some of them just have it better than I do, and that’s just how it goes. To my 4 year olds, every seat is business class, since their feet barely dangle off the end of even Spirit’s seats. But thems the breaks.
Airlines are not going to stick families together. If you are traveling with kids, you don’t want to be in a section with only other kids. I’m not saying a crying baby sit fun to sit next to. But that’s how it goes. We’ve all been there. Get over it.