Passenger changing nappy on plane reignites child-free flights debate

Children should be ‘sedated or not allowed on certain flights’, claims irate passenger

Benjamin Parker
Tuesday 24 October 2023 12:15 BST
<p>There have been calls for adult-only flights </p>

There have been calls for adult-only flights

A woman has reignited the debate around child-free flights after posting a scathing criticism of a mother who changed her toddler’s nappy three times in the plane’s cabin.

By not going to the bathroom to change the youngster, the woman’s actions meant the aircraft “stunk like hell”, said the fellow passenger, who called for children to be barred on some flights.

Writing on Reddit, the woman claimed she was on a four-hour night flight from 10pm until 2am, flying back home from a holiday, but the journey was “awful” because of the young traveller, who she guessed was “probably one to two years old”.

“He kept getting all worked up at various points, yelling incoherent toddler babble, kicking the back of my seat, sticking his feet up on my arm rest, and SH***ING his pants regularly. Mom changed his diaper THREE times, IN the seat. Didn’t bother taking him to the bathroom even though she was one row up from the very back of the plane, right near it. It stunk like hell.”

There was also “a baby in another seat piping up screaming on occasion” on the plane, added Reddit user TheTallestLeah. “One lady even had a puppy on the plane and he made zero fuss. Perfect little angel. Maybe he had had a sedative, idk [I don’t know]. But these parents should either sedate their damn kids or just not be allowed to bring them on certain flights. Good Lord.”

The anecdote has been “upvoted” almost 600 times. It was posted in the “child-free” discussion thread, gaining plenty of supportive comments for the idea of adults-only flights.

“I honestly don’t know why it’s not a thing? Make it once a week or once a month even and myself and others would happily and eagerly fill up those seats,” wrote one user, while another said: “I’d pay almost double for a child-free flight. I don’t blame the kids, I blame the parents.”

The top-voted comment said: “I feel like changing a diaper in a plane is some sort of biohazard? Also 100 per cent would pay extra for child-free flights though parents would scream DISCRIMINATION and then sneak their kids onto the flight somehow I’m sure because ‘everybody loves babies why wouldn’t you love my precious angel who shrieks the whole 10-hour flight?!’”.

In August, The Independent reported how adults-only zones on flights will be trialled later this year by one European airline, in a move that could mean getting stuck next to a screaming baby is a thing of the past.

Corendon Dutch Airlines, the sister company to Turkey-based Corendon Airlines, will begin testing this approach on flights between Amsterdam and the Caribbean island of Curacao from 3 November. The “Only Adult zone” will feature 102 seats at the front of the Airbus A350-900, including nine with extra legroom.

It will be separated from the rest of the plane by walls and curtains, which the airline said will create “a shielded environment that contributes to a calm and relaxed flight”.

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