Usually the phrase “kids on a plane” would evoke feelings of horror, annoyance or frustration for parents and child-free travelers alike. Everyone has either taken their child on a flight where you rue the day you stepped onto a plane or you have been on a flight where the devil incarnate is seated in 24B. We’ve all had our bad days and adults don’t even like being cooped up in a plane, so why would we expect kids to completely behave themselves in that environment too?After spending some quality time with kids on flights I have come to know that they can and a lot of them do. I just had a 14 hour flight to Tokyo and the six year old girl next to me was one of my better flight neighbors that I’ve had recently. Here are a few reasons why I actually don’t mind when I have am sitting next to a child on a flight.
1. Disney Movies
The one thing that kids love about flying is that their parents allow them unlimited screen time on ipads and TV and long flights have several Disney films in their arsenal. I challenge you to find someone who doesn’t love a good Disney movie, it melts the coldest of hearts and has the ability to bring you right back to childhood so you can’t help but take a peak on the screen when Peter Pan or The Little Mermaid is playing in the seat next to you.
2. Extra leg room
I’m usually the lucky gal that gets a seat next to a gargantuan Eastern European basketball player or a pot-bellied chatty southern oil tycoon who both take up equally as much room forcing me to coil in the corner in search for some semblance of personal space. With a tiny tot next to you who’s legs can’t even touch the ground you are free to fidget all over the place to find that sacred comfy position where you can catch some zzz’s just in time for the flight attendant to come around waking you up asking you if you’d like a water.
3. Avoiding awkward conversation
Having someone who’s vocabulary is less than 200 words sitting next to you can be a god send on a long flight. You can say hi, entertain them for a bit by telling a silly joke or making a funny face and then you can shove your Beats by Dre into your ears and float off to dream land. Since I often travel alone I’m always striking up conversations with strangers so I don’t mind having a little light conversation on occasion but on a painfully long flight, silence is truly golden.
4. Complete Wonderment
Like most flyers, I dread the middle seat and luckily on this particular flight I was a window gal. The little girl sitting next to me wanted to look out the window as our flight chased the sunlight towards Tokyo. We both peered out the portal in wonder as we flew over the snow covered landscape in Siberia. At first it looked like any ordinary flight moving through clouds but on closer inspection I realized what amazing scenery we were gliding over and she was wide eyed when I showed her the map on the screen to help explain where we were exactly. It makes you feel like a child again when you are reminded how magical it really is to be soaring through the air.
Not all frequent flyers however enjoy youngsters on flights and airlines recognize that. There are several Asian airlines that offer “child-free” zones in their planes, and for a small upgrade you can sit in an extra leg room area of the aircraft that is only for flyers 12 and up. Scoot, Malaysia Airways and AirAsia X are the three that have implemented these no kids allowed and quiet ride rules on their flights and we may see more things like this in the future. What are your thoughts on child free flying? Click here to read more about the “child-free” flights.