Japan Airlines added an interesting feature to its seat maps: indicating where babies and other young children are seated. Other passengers who don’t wish to sit near children — at least during a flight — can try to find seats elsewhere.
Is this something Delta and other airlines should implement?
Here’s the gist:
JAL denotes on a seat map where infants/children-in-arms might be located on a particular flight. (The children’s seat selections must be made through the JAL website.)
Children between eight days and two-years-old are indicated.
Thank you, @JAL_Official_jp for warnings me about where babies plan to scream and yell during a 13 hour trip. This really ought to be mandatory across the board.
— Rahat Ahmed (@dequinix) September 24, 2019
You won’t, however, see child icons for seats booked or selected:
- as part of a tour
- as an award ticket
- through means other than the JAL website
Not to mention, child icons might not be displayed correctly if there’s an aircraft change. I don’t know if said change means “weeks or months prior to a flight” or just in the event of a last-minute swap. If it’s the former, then this feature wouldn’t effectively work with Delta, given their penchant for Schedule Change Saturdays.
As a Parent, Here’s What I Hate About This Feature
It’s no secret that some people don’t want children allowed on airplanes. Part of me wonders if the “here’s where kids are seated!” intel angers people who know ahead of time they’re seated next to a family — and can’t move to another seat because of a full flight, class restrictions (i.e. no upgrades), etc. These passengers will be packing a grudge long before they board.
That’s not good for anyone, including the resentful passenger.
Also — and I know I’ll be pilloried for writing this — there are creepy, disturbed people who will do anything to get close to children. Helping them plot their courses ahead of time isn’t in children’s — or other decent people’s — best interests.
Yes, that’s an extreme example — but I wouldn’t be surprised if we wrote about a situation like that coming to fruition.
As a Parent, Here’s What I Love About This Feature
The baby icon feature gives parents an opportunity to sit near other families. Fellow parents know how stressful traveling with young children can be. There’s sort of a “we’re all in this together” mentality many of us share.
Plus, parents and kids bond with other parents and kids — even just for flights.
During my daughter’s second trip, my wife instantly made “flight friends” with a mom across the aisle — who was traveling with a three-year-old and an infant.
Her kids and my daughter participated in the kid-staredown (parents: you know what I’m talking about) before eventually entertaining each other.
Two Icons I’d Like to See
Yes, babies fuss and cry. Those are their ways of communicating. To put it crudely, they can’t help it.
But many adults behave far worse than children.
You know what warnings would be appreciated by most passengers?
People who blast their earbuds to inexplicably show off how loud they love their music should have to select this icon when choosing a seat.
Those who insist on not using appropriate headphones while playing music, TV shows, movies, games, or using speakerphone during phone calls shouldn’t be allowed on planes. But because they are, they should be made to select the cell phone icon. Their blatant disregard for fellow passengers is appalling. I’ll take a crying baby any day of the week over any one of these schmucks.
What Do You Think?
Do you like the idea of airlines implementing child icons? Why or why not?
Or do you have other icons you’d like them to add? 😉
Please share your thoughts in the below Comments section!
H/T: USA Today
Cover image: Rene’s Points Composite. Stock seat map: ©iStock.com/Sergey Oplanchuk. Children clip art: ©iStock.com/IconicBestiary
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