Indigo Airlines has entered the list of international carriers that have imposed a ban on allotting extra legroom premium seats to children under the age of 12. Yes, it seems unfair to families and people travelling with small children, but it is important to note that several international carriers have had seat allotment policies like this in place for several years. Such policies claim to add to the in-flight experience of premium paying passengers and thinking impartially, it just makes sense.
Several people voiced their displeasure over the airline’s decision calling it discriminatory but most adult travellers in today’s time will gladly pay a premium if they are allowed a quiet ride. It is difficult for any passenger to travel beside a nagging child, especially on a long haul flight. Adults also may not be the best co-passengers, but peaceful travel is important for most people.
Another interesting aspect is that under the new civil aviation policy, the government allows airlines to charge extra for frill and meals and baggage. As a commercial exercise, airlines can’t be blamed for putting allotment conditions on premium seats to earn that extra bit when other seats are now available cheaper to customer. The airlines call these seats as ‘quiet zones’ and offer them as optional extras and it is fair to passengers who do not want loud children disturbing them on a flight.
Angry customers accused the airline of being elitist and discriminating against children. The carrier, however, replied on Twitter saying: “In order to provide a hassle-free flying experience for our customers, rows 1-4 and 11-14 will serve as “Quiet Zones.” These seats will not be assigned to passengers below 12 years of age.”
Just like Indigo, AirAsia X offers kids-free “Quiet Zones”. These seats are normally in the front Economy section and the customers are charged a surcharge for booking these ‘optional extra’ seats. In 2011, Malaysia Airlines, in an unprecedented move, banned allotment of First Class seats to children. Scoot, which is a low-cost subsidiary of the widely acclaimed Singapore Airlines, has a ‘ScootinSilence’ no-kids section on its planes. Several other airlines across the world have enforced similar policies and are hailed by passengers.
This move by Indigo may be relatively new to the Indian aviation sector, but as more competitive times approach in the aviation sector more and more international trade practices are bound to find their way into the industry.