Cheap flights and the problem of noisy children

Over the last two decades, there’s been a revolution in the way we assess childhood behavior. In the good old days because the pharmaceutical industry began inventing new drugs to treat all these new diseases and disorders, we had well-behaved children and those we were forced to tolerate. Now the medical profession has invented Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and now prescribes several varieties of pill to control it, we have a cultural dilemma. In the good old day, parents would give their “naughty” children a gentle blow to the head or some other sensitive part of the body and, repeated as necessary, this tended to produce a sullen silence. Today, we’re not supposed to use corporal punishment, at least in public. Instead we administer pills and sit back quietly hoping they will soon take effect and give everyone’s eardrums a rest.

The problem with traveling comes down to two factors. Children are more likely to make a fuss when they are bored and, let’s face it, sitting for hours waiting for a flight or on a plane once it has taken off, can test the patience of even the best of children. Then there’s the problem of tiredness. Some children react by going to sleep – something to be encouraged. Others lose their tempers, shouting and throwing anything to hand.

A recent survey found slightly more than a third of passengers on cheap flights were so deeply frustrated by the failure of the parents around them to control their children, they agreed they would pay more to travel child free. It was worth a few extra dollars to have peace. Scale that up to business and first class and opinions were equally divided on whether children should be excluded. So what do you think? Should airlines offering cheap flights change the options so you can pay a little extra to travel without children? Or is this something the long haul legacy airlines should introduce? How many times have to sat with a child kicking the back of your seat, or pushing the seat in front down into your lap? Would it not be better to deal only with thoughtful and sensitive adults?