Katy Holland: Kids on flights are all right. It's the adults I worry about
Are we there yet? No airline worth its salt is planning to do away with children any time soon
Sunday 12 September 2010
Who'd be a kid these days? The poor souls have just been branded the world's most irritating air passengers.
A recent poll conducted by the travel website Skyscanner.net asked more than 2,000 people for their opinions about children on planes, and – surprise, surprise – nearly 60 per cent said that they would like to sit as far away from them as possible.
Some even supported the idea of introducing dedicated in-flight "child-free zones". In fact, kids are seen as such pariahs that 12 per cent of respondents went so far as to say that they would like to see them banned from flights altogether.
There's no need to cancel the family holiday just yet though, because no airline worth its salt is planning to do away with kids any time soon. I did a quick ring-around of the airlines and found a very lukewarm response to the idea of this kind of segregation. Most, quite rightly, prefer to try to smooth away the tensions with activity bags, dedicated children's television channels and the like.
A spokesperson for British Airways summed up the general attitude, saying: "We welcome all customers on board our flights, regardless of age. We recognise that it can be stressful for those travelling with children and therefore do all that we can to make the experience easier for all concerned."
Sitting squashed on a plane is hardly fun for anyone, and screaming tots don't help make it any more enjoyable. But it's time to take a chill pill, as my teenage son would say, because passenger rage towards youngsters is really getting out of hand, and polls like these do nothing to help the situation.
Take, for example, the woman who recently sued an airline because she claimed she was deafened by a screaming baby on a flight – just one of many examples of the increasing demonisation of youngsters.
And I seem to gather more examples of kid-ism wherever I go. Take the scary bloke I met on an overnight flight recently, who became apoplectic with rage when my 10-year-old accidentally jogged him on his way to the toilet. The bloke's fist-waving tirade of abuse – expletives and all – was far more disruptive than the unfortunate bump issued by my child. Now that's what I call bad behaviour.
Perhaps we need a survey that questions kids about what they think of adults on planes instead. To kick it off, I asked my youngest who was the most annoying passenger he had ever travelled with.
He didn't need to think for long. "Definitely you, mum," he said.
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