Passengers upset after another airline announces child-free zones following JetBlue family policy

Corendon Dutch Airlines will launch ‘Only Adult Zone’ on 3 November for flights from Amsterdam to Curacao

Kaleigh Werner
New York
Wednesday 18 October 2023 08:26 BST

Related: Passenger films woman giving birth on Jetblue flight

An airline’s decision to enforce “child-free” zones during flights has prompted an internet frenzy, with upset passengers questioning the division.

In August, Corendon Dutch Airlines – the sister company to Turkey-based Corendon Airlines – announced it would be trialing an “Only Adult zone” beginning 3 November. All flights from Amsterdam to the Carribean Island of Curacao will have 102 seats at the front of Airbus A350-900 and nine with extra legroom, designated as an adult-only area.

Instead of sitting next to a crying baby or whiny child for a long flight, passengers will have the opportunity to be placed in a quiet section separated by walls and curtains. If a traveller wants to ensure they’re not seated next to a teenager 16 years old or younger, they’ll have the option to pick a seat far away for an additional cost. Securing a spot in the child-free area will cost €45 ($47.67) for one flight and €100 ($105.94) for the seats with extra leg room.

“On board our flights, we always strive to respond to the different needs of our customers. We are also the first Dutch airline to introduce the Only Adult zone, because we are trying to appeal to travellers looking for some extra peace of mind during their flight,” proclaimed Atilay Uslu, chairman and founder of Corendon.

“We also believe this can have a positive effect on parents travelling with small children. They can enjoy the flight without worrying if their children make more noise.”

Following the new movement, which sees airlines prioritising placing children away from adults who aren’t their guardian, people have been debating whether the policy is necessary or upsetting.

“So apparently airlines are considering making ‘child-free zones’ on planes, and I can’t decide if this is a dystopian shift or not, but generally it’s really sad how little tolerance people have for children and babies - even acting like they shouldn’t be in public,” @LizardKangz_95 wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The original poster, whose tweet now has over 17,400 views, started the online discussion of whether this policy was beneficial.

One X user commented: “I’ve noticed people seem more annoyed with kids in public than I’ve ever seen before. Usually people see little kids and babies and smile or whatever but that’s seeming to slowly change. It’s weird and sad.”

“I have personally seen a lot of this in California. Normally when people see my son they are very happy to see a smiling sweet little boy, but recently I feel like no one smiles at him anymore, and people generally avoid people with children and children,” @LizardKangz_95 replied.

“Having kids is already an isolating experience, before I had kids I never cared about other kids in resturants or on airplanes,” one woman added, while another said: “I’ve literally seen apartments flat out say they don’t accept tenants with kids. It’s disgusting.”

While many people were bothered by the news, a few travellers expressed relief that the airline was willing to prioritise their well-being as solo passengers without children.

“I will not tolerate a screaming baby next to me on a four hour flight,” one individual noted.

Another pointed out: “I think some of it is driven by changes in parenting. Like when I was a teen, a lot of kids seemed pretty well-behaved. But I see more and more young kids that are incredibly rambunctious and loud and the parents just sit their scrolling on their phones.”

“Last time I was on a plane, I thought: ‘I would pay more money to be on a plane without children.’ Almost every time I fly, which isn’t much at all, there’s a child crying the whole time,” another person added.

Another airline has enacted a policy, different from the Dutch airline’s, that settles the debate of whether a solo traveller should have to give up their seat to allow a family to sit together.

Per a JetBlue press release, the airline announced they would start guaranteeing that any child 13 and under would be automatically seated next to at least one adult on their flight for no extra cost. Whether passengers are booking their flights through JetBlue’s Blue Basic fare, their basic economy option, or booking their travel less than 24 hours before departure, children who fall in that age group will still be sat next to their adult.

Joanna Geraghty, president and chief operating officer of JetBlue, said: “We know travelling with young children can add challenges, and we want to do everything we can to put parents and families at ease by providing a smooth trip each time they choose JetBlue.”

“This enhanced family seating policy reflects our commitment to continue to meet the needs of our customers and provide exceptional service,” she continued.

The Independent has reached out to JetBlue for a comment.

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