Anyone who has been on a long-haul flight will know all too well how such trips can be a test of both body and mind.
It might be the cramped conditions, the recycled air, or the person behind prodding the seat-back display as if their life depended on it. It might also be the infant seated next to you who can’t help but scream from takeoff to landing, leaving your nerves shredded by the time you reach your destination.
In that case, you may be pleased to learn that at least one major airline is now offering a way to help you steer clear of potentially noisy little ones during your flight.
The system, launched recently by Japan Airlines, lets travelers see the location of infants aged between 8 days and 2 years old when they come to select their seat.
Passenger Rahat Ahmed recently praised the carrier’s move, suggesting that it “ought to be mandatory” for all airlines to offer such a service, while adding that just recently he had “three screaming babies” seated close by on a flight between the U.S. and Qatar.
Thank you, @JAL_Official_jp for warnings me about where babies plan to scream and yell during a 13 hour trip. This really ought to be mandatory across the board.
— Rahat Ahmed (@dequinix) September 24, 2019
Japan Airlines’ seat map uses a “baby face” symbol to indicate the location of an infant on the aircraft, allowing a traveler to make a more informed decision when they come to select their seat.
But it’s important to note that the feature won’t work for everyone. For example, the symbol won’t show for travelers who book their ticket through a third party, or if they’re part of a tour group. Seating arrangements could also differ dramatically if the aircraft is changed close to its departure time, the airline said.
After his tweet went viral, Ahmed suggested exercising empathy toward parents traveling with children on long flights, and also pointed out how plenty of adults are pretty adept at irritating their fellow passengers. Getting things into perspective, he noted that “ultimately, there are more important things to worry about” than babies on a plane.
Someone else suggested Japan Airlines’ feature was a step too far, and called for greater tolerance …
They are babies as we all once were. We need to learn tolerance or will soon start needing a map of seat locations for mouth breathers, droolers, farters, drunks, and perhaps a lot more things in life. What ever happened to life’s surprises?
— GS (@gsundar) September 26, 2019
Anyway, if the in-flight noise is simply too much to handle, you could always stick on a pair of headphones and relax to some soothing tunes.
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