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Should Delta and Other Airlines Follow JAL’s Lead About Warning People Where Children Are Seated?

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Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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?

A female toddler smiles while opening a bottle of water at a first class seat on a Delta Air Lines flight.

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.

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.

Baby sitting in first class on a Delta Air Lines 737.

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.

Cell Phone

A hand holding a cell phone.






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: © Oplanchuk. Children clip art: ©


Enjoy annual companion certificates with Delta American Express credit cards!

Rene’s Points For Better Travel, a division of Chatterbox Entertainment, Inc. has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Rene’s Points For Better Travel and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. Interesting concept, do we extend to Extremely overweight people who make take up more room than the actual seat? Or smelly people?

  2. 1. I have had NIGHTMARE experiences with screaming kids for HOURS on TPAC Business seat flights. HORRIFIC. No sleep and massive headache. There is no escape- noise canceling headphones are zero help, even ear plugs don’t kill the wailing and screaming. $6000 J seat ruined.
    2. Never, one, time, been disturbed by a fellow passenger in J on TPAC. Not once.

    I now dread any flight over an hour because of the screaming kids. Parents who actually gave a crap about their kid, much less fellow passengers, would not drag a kid under 3 onto an airplane. The kid will remember nothing of the trip and you are and evil self-centered POS to subject fellow paying passengers to your kid’s screaming.

  3. It is an interesting concept. I’ve had my nightmare stories like most travelers. I was fortunate in that my kids, who started flying early, did well on planes because their mother and me spent our time on them (they were preoccupied with us) and as frequent travelers, we impressed the “rules of flying” in them at the start.
    Having said all that, I don’t see this happening in the US, because all it takes is one disgruntled parent to complain on social media, and the press will pick it up as their next “agenda to resolve”.

  4. Brenda Allen Reply

    I don’t mind the kids as much as I mind the earphones. Kids can’t help it. Their ears hurt.
    I do mind that children are allowed to sit on a lap. They should be fastened in to a car seat. Not on someone’s lap where they will become airborne during turbulence. I have flown with my children since they were 5 weeks old. Twins. We would never think of getting on a plane with them no safely buckled in. Just as we would not get in a car with them on our laps.

  5. Berk Thompson Reply

    Emotional support animal icons. I have been almost knocked over by these animals since they really don’t know how to politely walk by you in the aisle. I’ve also had them stick their noses where no one should. I get that some people have legitimate needs; however, I’ve had more issues with animals than screaming kids.

  6. I second what Brenda Allen has to say. I was the unfortunate passenger that got to sit next to a husband and wife with their lap child from Maui to LA. The child cried from the second we left Maui until we landed in LA and I had the father’s back in my seat since he was making room for the daughter to sit between them the entire flight. I have no problem with kids on flights, but when the flight is 6 hours long, airlines really should not allow lap children.

  7. I LOVE this idea. And, not just for choosing seats, but for choosing flights. I live in ATL and fly with some regularity to NYC. I always have a lot of choices of flights and I’d happily choose a kid-free (or nearly so) over a kid-ful plane. I don’t want to get in infants’ rights to fly, but I would happily and enthusiastically welcome the opportunity to CHOOSE whether or not I fly with them.

    And, while I am sympathetic to the earphones (and cell phones without earbuds) problems, those are adults whom you can, at least in theory, speak to and request they tone it down. A screaming baby? As was noted, it’s not their fault, and other than having put them on a plane in the first place, it’s not the parents’ fault either. There is no one to appeal to when an infant is legitimately screaming because her ears feel like ice picks are being jabbed in them. (I have very small eustachian tubes, and can’t fly without earplanes, so I am VERY sympathetic to these wee ones. I have literally had tears streaming down my face when no one else on the plane felt anything but a little pressure.)

  8. This is a great idea and I wish Delta would follow suit!

    I am not sure why some parents are complaining about this. I don’t know this Rahat Ahmed person, but from the read of it, he and I have similar work travel life, so I understand exactly where he is coming from. I am constantly flying back and forth across the pond (average a RT every 10 days) and have to hit the ground running when I land – I NEED MY SLEEP!

    I just cannot handle screaming babies or kids on a long haul and they are just so rampant these days. It’s not about J or Y, have/like kids or not, nor is it about headphone – baby cries have no barriers. Biologically, baby cries are intended to alert adults of the distress and effective enough to wake someone. Acoustically, baby cries have a lot of high frequency components, and they are not something even a good ANC headphone can cancel. The only effective countermeasure is distance…being farther away.

    What some people fail to realize is that baby bassets mounts are located at bulk head rows, where most airlines earmark their preferred seats or good seats for elite members, or adjacent to premium cabins. Those elite members and premium cabin flyers are the ones probably on a business trip run and need their rest.

    Of all the solutions and ideas being thrown around, like banned babies/kids, or have a baby/kid section, yada yada – this the most thoughtful and political correct solution. It offers people information so one can make an informed decision on where to sit or even take the flight or not, without take a way the rights for babies/kids to fly. This is actually a very clever solution without a lot of cost to the airline… Actually it’s a genius idea, especially in today’s overly sensitive society.

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