Fly the Kid-Free Skies

Poll shows air travelers want separate sections for families, adults

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Ssssh.

    You gotta love the American consumer. Sure, we’re conspicuous in our consumption, wasteful in most regards, but bottom line, we drive the products and services in the marketplace by voting with our wallets.

    A group of airline passengers, polled by an outfit called Skyscanner might help make air-travel a little less irritating for people who don’t particularly find a screaming, kicking-the-back-of-my-seat kid overly cute.

    According to an article published today by USA Today, about 60 percent of 2,000 of airline customers favor a separate in-flight section of planes for kids and their families leaving the rest of the plane relatively out of earshot for kid-less adults.

    The only surprising thing about the survey results was that the percent didn’t exceed 60 percent.

    Frequent fliers can say they want something all they want. The big question is whether or not the airlines would create such a seating arrangement.

    Paul Flanigan of Southwest Airlines said, yeah, probably not. He pointed to the carrier’s general admission seating and said it’s worked well and passengers have accepted it for 39 years, so why try to fix what ain’t really broke. Besides, SWA is the only carrier to show a consistent quarter-to-quarter profit this millennium, so it's kinda hard to argue with success. Still, never say never, and if the market pushes hard enough SWA probably would consider such a program.

    Tim Smith of American Airlines said trying to manage such a system when an airline doesn’t really know the final passenger count or makeup for a given flight until a bit before the gate door locks could prove, shall we say, just a wee bit difficult.

    The kid-family section would have to be gelatinous from flight to flight. How many seats do you cordon off on each flight? What if more families than seating capacity in the section book a flight? What if the capacity far exceeded family demand for a given flight?

    So all in all, don’t count on it. Good idea, though, and hey, there’s always restaurants to lobby.

    Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. Oh, please, please, please …