It's baby apartheid, and it could be your best shot at getting some peace and quiet on an 8-hour red eye. Starting on Friday, AsiaAirlines is introducing seating that will keep passengers under the age of 12 away from older, baby-phobic passengers. It's practically free, too. NBC News's A. Pawlowski has the details:
The carrier will reserve the first seven economy class rows “exclusively for guests age 12 and above,” the company says on its website. There’s no extra cost for passengers to book in this section, except the regular fee charged for certain seats with more legroom.
Since bulkheads and lavatories separate the section from the rest of coach, and the premium cabin is generally filled with adults, travelers in this zone will likely not sit near babies or young children.
We checked on AirAsia's website and it's legit. While purchasing a ticket, you can scroll down an aerial chart of the cabin, selecting a spot in the "Quiet Zone" or, if you're feeling masochistic, baby-ville:
Of course, one thing to remember: Babies aren't the only tranquility-killing villains on a plane. How about the idiot with the headphones blaring Reggaeton everywhere? Or the overweight guy whose elbow flab has enveloped the arm rest? First they came for the babies...
American carriers aren't likely to follow suit, according to George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com. “Logistically, it’s a nightmare for an airline to allocate certain seats for certain people,” Hobica said. “The last time they had to do this was back when there were smoking and non-smoking sections. Even if you were just one row away from the smoking section, you still got the smoke and you’ll still hear the screams ... if a child has strong lungs.” There's also the likelihood of a backlash of angry parents being confined to a rowdy kindergarten area section of the plane. For now, it seems the coach section will remain democratically heterogenous, full of screaming infants and arm-rest intruders. Just as the Founding Fathers would have wanted.