A Turkish airline called Corendon is one of the latest to create an adults-only zone on their flights. For one of their long-haul flights to the Caribbean, a 10-hour flight from Amsterdam to Curacao, passengers must be at least 16 to sit at the front of the plane. The kids zone will be located at the back of the plane and separated from the front with curtains and walls. The front will have nine seats with extra legroom amid 93 standard economy seats.
They aren’t the first to test out an adults-only section; Singapore-based carrier ScootinSilence has a section for passengers 12 years and older on its Boeing 787 aircraft. Also, Malaysia-based airline AirAsia X has a section on its Airbus A330 aircraft that has an age requirement of 12 years and up on certain long-haul routes.
Now that we’ve provided context, let’s talk about whether this is a fair deal or not. The first thing that comes to mind for me is that maybe it’s good to separate parents from non-parents because of the tension that sometimes arises when the former attempt to manage their children on flights. Nobody is thrilled about enduring crying or rowdy kids (even the parents), especially within the limited space on a plane. As a parent, it can be nerve-wracking trying to keep little restless kids quiet on a long-haul flight. It’s equally annoying when you board a plane child-free with intentions to rest and have to deal with a tantrum someone’s kid is throwing nearby.
As a mother, I’m not opposed to the idea of having separate spaces and actually feel a little relieved when I think about it. Being surrounded by other parents would help me feel at ease and reduce the number of times I feel the need to tell my son to zip it. I also won’t have to avoid as many eye rolls and huffing and puffing from disgruntled passengers. However, I do think a middle ground is missing; parents should have comfort options too. One of the reasons kids are sometimes disgruntled is the lack of space, hence some parents choosing to fly first class with their kiddos. It would be considerate if airlines didn’t exclude us from all of the perks that come with being at the front of the plane and found a way to create them in the “kid zone” too. Also, in the case of Corendon, some parents may have kids who don’t disturb the peace but are excluded from having extra legroom if they want it at the front of the plane.
Another alternative is to put the people who don’t have kids in smaller spaces because they aren’t traveling with the same kinds of plus-ones. By not providing those options, it can feel like airlines are indirectly telling their customers that people without kids are a priority and kids are an inconvenience. We were all kids once and it would suck to feel like you existing and wanting or even needing to travel with your children is problematic to others.
It’s too early to say how pervasive this new adults-only vs. kids zone trend will be. Maybe it’s an experiment that won’t go down well with more popular airlines. For now, it’s good that parents have many options to choose from if they aren’t feeling being secluded in the back of a plane. Instead, you can go with one that doesn’t seem to punish parents for traveling with kids.