Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 17 February 2020

Want to avoid babies on flights? Japan Airlines introduces seat selection away from youngsters

The seat map shows where children under the age of two are sitting so other passengers can strategise accordingly

Japan Airlines has introduced seat selection showing where babies are sitting on flights. File photo by Getty Images
Japan Airlines has introduced seat selection showing where babies are sitting on flights. File photo by Getty Images

Screaming babies are considered by many travellers to be the scourge of the skies.

Time and again, airline passengers have taken to social media to vent their annoyance – and what they consider to be their bad luck – having spent hours on a plane in close proximity to a restless young child when all they wanted was for a peaceful few hours or more while hunkered down shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers.

But for customers of Japan Airlines, a new level of strategy has arrived when selecting seats prior to check-in.

The airline has introduced a feature which shows where the babies on the flight are sitting, so passengers can choose to sit further away if that's what they are seeking.

A message on the airline's website states: "Passengers travelling with children between eight days and two years old who select their seats on the JAL website will have a child icon displayed on their seats on the seat selection screen. This lets other passengers know a child may be sitting there."

It added: "Child icons are not displayed in the following situations: Seats booked as part of a tour or using award tickets. Seats selected through means other than the JAL website. Child icons may not be displayed correctly if there is a change in aircraft."

Whether this means passengers will wait longer before booking their seats so that they can see where youngsters are sitting remains to be seen.

Japan Airlines isn't the first to introduce this feature, however, with All Nippon Airways reported to have utilised it for a while.

As word spread on social media, there was a mixed reaction with some suggesting it should be adults rather than the babies who need avoiding.

One recent passenger, Rahat Ahmed, tweeted his thanks to Japan Airlines for the prior warning of where babies were sitting during his 13-hour trip.

"This really ought to be mandatory across the board," he said.

He then added that on later flights, he chose to sit next to several babies and found "some great, some loud. It happens. Some adults were worse."


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