WE ALL KNOW the feeling. You’re all set to embark on your next overseas adventure as you board your flight and find your seat. You’ve got your neck pillow in place, a selection of hand-picked movies already downloaded to pass the time, maybe you’re even planning on treating yourself to an in-flight snack. The only obstacle standing between you and a brief reprieve from the mundanity of everyday life is a flight that—due to your careful planning—should breeze by.
That’s when you hear it.
Right when you thought you’d done everything right, and that your journey was proceeding at an almost eerily smooth pace, the unmistakable sound of a young child gearing up to go the full length of the flight at full pitch enters the travel chat.
At this point, there’s not much you can do as paradise suddenly feels distinctly further away. As the realisation that your next few hours will be a living hell begins to set in, you may find yourself wistfully pondering what you could have done differently. In reality, the answer is nothing. There’s really never been a way to guarantee you won’t be seated in the vicinity of a cantankerous child on a long-haul flight. But now, thanks to the innovative thinking of an airline, there is.
Solo travellers rejoice. From November 3rd, Turkish carrier Corendon Airlines is offering seats in adults only zones on flights between Amsterdam and Curaçao. For now, that’s the only line the area will be available on, but the service could soon expand onto other flights, and in a huge shakeup for the travel industry, other airlines.
100 seats will be available in the zone, which is open to travellers aged 16 and up. According to a statement from Corendon Airlines, the child-free zone is an attempt to promote “a shielded environment that contributes to a calm and relaxed flight.” With walls and curtains sectioning off the area from the rest of the plane, it looks like it will do exactly that.
Before you get ahead of yourself, no, ‘adults only’ does not mean the flights will have an X-rated twist. Corendon Airlines founder Atilay Uslu said that the zone is simply for “travellers looking for some extra peace of mind during their flight.” All the typical flight etiquette and rules will still apply as the zone is primarily for premium relaxation, but also “for business travellers who want to work in a quiet environment.”
If you’re keen on a child-free flight and just happen to be looking to book a trip to Curaçao, here’s what it will cost you. For a one-way trip, a seat in the adults only zone will set you back an extra $75. If the absence of crying children isn’t luxurious enough, you can also book an adults only zone seat with more legroom for an extra $168.
Are child-free flights good for the travel industry?
While the move to cordon off a section of a plane to exclude a particular group of people could very easily be labelled an attack on families and children, as Uslu states, child-free sections also have benefits for parents. “We also believe this can have a positive effect on parents traveling with small children,” Uslu said. “They can enjoy the flight without worrying if their children make more noise.”
Adults only hotels, cruises, events and activities are already central tenets of many holiday plans. Considering that flights only last a few hours, treating yourself to a child-free experience may be slightly more self-indulgent, but if you’re willing to pay for it, why not?
Claims of discrimination may be rife if the practice becomes more widespread, but those arguments are mostly unfounded as a child-free area isn’t actually taking any seats away from families. So, whether you’re oblivious to the flight wrecking potential of a tired toddler or are the type of person to unashamedly ask a parent to control their spawn, a child-free area benefits everyone. But with all things said, if the main thing you remember about a holiday is the flight, you probably aren’t holidaying right.