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Giles Coren: ‘Kids-Only Zones On Planes? Count Me In!’

Giles may not be able to escape children irritating him while travelling long-haul, but M&B’s dad columnist has a cunning plan

The budget arm of Singapore Airlines is offering passengers the opportunity to books seats on its aeroplanes in a guaranteed baby-free zone for as little as £10 a ticket.

Wahey! Bargain. Include me IN! There is simply nothing worse when settling down for a nice quiet flight (with a large gin and tonic and a gripping in-flight magazine) than hearing, just as the steel bird lumbers into the air, the brain-splitting ‘Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh’ that tells you a baby is on board.

Child-free planes, please

No matter how sweet they look in the check-in queue, the moment the air pressure gets to their ears, they’re off. And, if they’re not crying, they’re running up and down the aisle screaming, throwing their food around, weeing everywhere or playing Happy Chicken on their mum’s iPhone. How anyone can be expected to relax and enjoy a flight under such conditions is beyond me.

So, if airlines are going to start creating areas where under-12s are banned, then I’m all for it. In fact, make them bigger. Make whole planes child-free. In fact, ban children from the air!

Wait. I’ve got two children. Bugger. One is two-and-a-half, the other four months. So, if I can hear a wretched little fat-ball yodelling its blithering guts out when I’m trying to snooze, it’s probably one of mine. And will be for some years to come. So I won’t be able to make use of these excellent brat-free enclosures.

Back in the day

We need a better plan. Hang on, let me think. I know. When I was a kid, my parents used to fly First Class while my sister and I sat back in Economy. And that was before in-seat entertainment. We just had to sit there reading for 12 hours while our parents ploughed into the caviar and Champagne up front.

The deal was we were allowed to visit them for two minutes to say goodnight, as long as we didn’t speak. This would probably be frowned upon now as poor parenting. Although, reasoned my parents, what harm could we possibly come to in a locked vessel at 35,000ft?

So, instead of creating a special no-kids zone (for loveless selfish losers who have shirked their evolutionary responsibility to replenish the race), maybe the airlines should make kids-only zones. They could design a soundproof pen at the back of the plane into which all the infants, toddlers and pre-teens are simply herded, then locked in with a few Mars bars and a bottle of water until the flight is over.

That way, we grown-ups could get on with the simple, elegant business of international flight without being deafened by mewling devil spawn – our own or anybody else’s.

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