Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 23, 2017
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Child-free flights?

Very few travellers have escaped the torture that is a long-haul flight with a screaming infant. You may start out sympathetic to the parent and their jet-lagged offspring, but at some point the decibel level goes on long enough to trigger infanticidal fantasies.

Qantas Airlines recently settled a lawsuit from a woman who claimed hearing loss after sitting next to a screaming three-year-old boy on a 2009 flight from New York to Australia. And in January, AirTran removed a family before takeoff from Fort Myers, Florida because their three-year-old girl was hitting the parents and refusing to take her seat.

Some travellers are so fed up that they're clamouring for child-free flights or sections and claim they're willing to pay more for the privilege of coming out with their hearing and sanity intact. In an August survey of 2000 travellers by Skyscanner, a fare-comparison site, 59 percent of passengers supported special sections for families and almost 20 percent would like child-free flights.

Before you get too excited, a spokesman for the Air Transport Association (a trade group which represents the US's largest airlines) said that restricting paying passengers to a limited number of flights was unlikely while the industry is struggling to be profitable. Maybe they should just ban three-year-olds.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.

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