Dublin-based discount carrier Ryanair said that it would begin offering "child-free'' flights in October after a survey of European travelers showed that half would be happy to pay more to avoid being bothered by children.
The announcements was made in a press release dated April 1, and it wasn't immediately clear whether the plans were serious or a prank by the carrier, which has a history of pulling publicity stunts and floating provocative ideas -- remember, the plan for pay toilets aboard flights?
“When it comes to children we all love our own but would clearly prefer to avoid other people’s little monsters when travelling,'' said Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara. "While half our passengers would like us to divide our cabins up into ‘adult’ and ‘family’ areas it is not operationally possible due to our free seating policy, with optional priority boarding.'' Thus the new child-free modest proposal.
According to the release, 36 percent of the 1,000 passengers surveyed say they have had flights ruined by noisy kids, and 18 percent expressed a desire to have the carrier limit the number of children on flights. Furthermore, respondents placed the blame for poorly-behaved children squarely on the shoulders of parents, with 25 percent saying that parents let their kids bother passengers in the seats behind and 10 percent complaining that mom and dad allow youngsters to run in the aisles and kick seats.
Whether this is a prank or not, it's clear from responses we've had on our blog as well as others to items involving children on flights that many, many travelers do view it as a problem. What do you think?