When I hear a child start to wail just as the plane takes off, Im still so relieved its not mine that I smile
Japan Airlines has launched a new feature for passengers wishing to avoid crying infants on flights: its online booking tool indicates where babies are already seated, so you can pick a spot as far away from them as possible.
Online opinion regarding JALs innovation isnt so much divided as segregated, between those who think its THE BEST IDEA EVER!! and those asking for a similar map of where judgmental wankers are sitting. People generally know which side of the issue they are supposed to be on comments urging compassion for parents far outstrip the ones suggesting children should be banned from flying but the middle ground is largely unoccupied.
I have my own cure for the scourge of babies on planes: get a baby, and take it on a couple of long-haul flights with you. There are few things more exhausting, stressful, embarrassing and thankless, but it will for ever inoculate you against the sound of a crying infant that isnt in your care. I havent had to take a baby on a plane for 20 years, but when I hear a child in the seat behind me start to wail just as the plane leaves the runway, Im still so relieved its not mine that I smile. I find it soothing.
I accept that my solution is expensive – it would probably cost you less to fly first class for the rest of your life – but it is also permanent. I will never forget being belted to a bawling infant with a dirty nappy while the plane sat on the runway, feeling like the worlds worst parent before we even took off. I will also never forget that it was worse for my wife, because nobody tuts at a man with a baby.
All that said, I have no real objection to JALs new booking facility. If it helps to put a few rows between crying babies and those who are intolerant of them, thats probably better for everyone. It is even something I could find myself using, because chances are nothing personal Id rather sit next to a crying baby than you.