Editorial: Child-free zones on Indigo Airlines are a really unkind thing to do to families

Editorial: Child-free zones on Indigo Airlines are really unkind thing to do to families

Last week, Indigo Airlines announced that they would now offer child-free zones on their aircraft for travellers who wanted that option. This is, in my opinion, yet another step that entitled child-free people are taking towards making it clear that the world owes them spaces that are tailor-made to their exact preferences. Bigoted, pandering to an increasingly entitled section of society and completely insular is how I’d like to describe this policy. Why? Let me explain.

Indigo Airlines’ policy states the first four rows will be inaccessible to parents with kids under twelve. The seats with greater leg room will also be reserved for those who want “quiet zone” seats. Right off, that just reeks of how insensitive the policy (and its makers) are towards families with kids, especially  babies. Long-haul international flights reserve the first row seats for families with  babies because you can avail the bassinet facility. Imagine holding a sleeping baby on your lap for over seven hours. Even two hours is pretty much torture -- to the baby and to you. This space is a blessing for parents who can stretch their legs and relax, while their baby sleeps or plays in the bassinet. I should know, I’ve availed, very thankfully, of the service when my daughter was 8 months old. And everyone knows a comfortable baby is a happy baby, and a happy baby is a not-so-noisy baby. A happy baby also means a relaxed parent, which in turn means they’ll take care that their child doesn’t disturb passengers. And, honestly, if a baby decided to have one hell of a fit, you could place it 300 rows away from you and it’d still cry hard enough to ruin your little beauty nap on your flight. So, that’s a really stupid, almost ineffective idea.

Same thing for seats with legroom: if a parent doesn’t need to stretch their legs to accommodate squirmy children, I don’t know who does. This increasing trend of child-free zones in malls, weddings and other public places seems to tell me that policy makers don’t actually believe that kids will grow up to be adults. The more you isolate children, the more you leave them out of the world and how it functions, the more you’re going to have disenchanted socially awkward adults who don’t know how to behave when they go out into the world after college. A world full of socially inept adults who don’t understand tolerance or kindness is probably why we are fighting wars today.

Here’s something else to think about: Breastfeeding mothers. Put mothers in the back seats and block access to the toilets near the cockpit upfront and you have a distinctly uncomfortable mother whose breast is on display for everyone who walks down the aisle for a trip to the loo at the back. No one likes badly-behaved children, least of all parents, so if a child is noisy, train yourself to have some compassion: the child is probably in pain, is tired or uncomfortable. Plus if you’re promising me a “quiet zone,” please make sure you don’t seat a loudly-chewing, often-burping, stinky man next to me. I like quiet just as much as the next person, so can Indigo Airlines also make sure that they don’t place a noisy woman who shifts, and pulls, and fidgets and then starts talking loudly to you even though you have headphones on and a book in your lap, clearly signalling you don’t want to be disturbed. Can you assure me that in your quiet zone, Indigo? Or, worst yet, the lecherous, creepy man who thinks brushing up against a woman is perfectly okay. What zone would you give me for that, Indigo? Or protection from this guy who stripped in a plane from Bhubaneshwar and behaved inappropriately with staff. This doesn’t require policy, right? But babies? Let’s ban them from everywhere. If we are to build a kind society, tolerance is the first thing we need to teach ourselves.

This last week has had so much news about children and how we should bring them up. For instance, this piece on sending kids to kindergarten early being harmful for them. I’ve always maintained that the more the child remains at home, the better it is equipped to handle the big world when it eventually goes to school. Our regular sex column this week is a relevant, interesting read. Do give it a shot (and ask any questions you have!). And finally, it’s Diwali time and there are loads of offers and gifts lined up at ZP. Do sign up and be a part of this quick contest to win a beauty hamper this festive season. Use one of two promo codes:

  1. signupmom01 - if you would like to win MotherCare hamper

  2. signuppre04 - if you would like to win PregnancyCare hamper

when you sign up for free. Come on board and be the parent you want to be.


Till next week.