Remember when there used to be a designated smoking area on airplanes? Times have changed. It’s not a smoking section that’s being introduced on some of today’s flights, but rather a no baby section with AirAsia’s newly announced designated ‘baby-free quiet zones.’
AirAsia isn’t a luxury liner, but the airline has promised to create a “quiet zone” for passengers who are not traveling with children under 12-years-old. The zone includes seven rows starting behind the premium seating section on all of their AirAsia X flights that are headed to China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Australia and Nepal.
AirAsia X passengers that wish to take advantage of the ‘quiet zone’ can select their seats while they book their flights and will not be charged any more than the regular fee for pre-selecting their seats.
For some passengers, the few hours of peace-and-quiet that may be available is well worth the cost of paying the fee to pre-select a seat in the baby free zone, but others who are traveling with children may feel a bit discriminated against and could potentially lead to a lawsuit against the airline.
Regardless of any hard feelings passengers that travel with kids under 12 may experience, AirAsia is going ahead with the plan. The “quiet zone” will be equipped with dimmed-ambient lighting to create a calm and relaxing feel and while the airline promises minimal noise levels for the section, some frequent flyers don’t think this is the right solution because it would be difficult to regulate all sounds that carry over from other sections.
AirAsia is not the only airliner to have a designated ‘quiet zone.’ In April, Malaysia Airline had announced that the upper level of the Airbus A380-800 carrier routed to Kuala Lumpur–London would be a child-free zone as well. However, the idea may not be making its way onto any domestic flights in the US–at least in the near future. Even though many passengers may be in favor of the bold move, discriminating passengers based on age over preferred seating may be too controversial for airlines to take on and not worth the risk of lawsuits.