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1/3 of travellers would pay extra for child-free flights

Aug 1 2012 Posted by Laura Canning

It’s nothing new on long-haul flights – a child screaming or kicking your seat from the row behind, meaning you can’t get to sleep.  

But a new poll says that around one in three people dread the interruption made by children so much that they’d pay extra for child-free flights to get some peace.

22 per cent of those polled by TripAdvisor said a child kicking the back of their seat was their biggest annoyance on flights. The same amount said their biggest peeve was parents who didn’t keep their children under control on the plane.

A TripAdvisor spokesperson said: 'Even on a short-haul holiday the flight makes up a significant part of the travel experience, and a stressful flight can really have a negative impact.

‘Any disturbance when flying is a frustration but it seems that unruly children are among the biggest frustrations for some passengers.'

The child-free flight debate kicked off in earnest in April, when Malaysia Airlines banned children from the upper deck of their A380 planes.

The CEO tweeted that the airline had had ‘many’ complaints from passengers who had bought the expensive tickets, but then who couldn’t sleep because of crying and noisy children.

Those polled on whether children should be banned from first and business class cabins were mostly divided, with 34 per cent in favour and 36 per cent against. However, 37 per cent said they would definitely fork out the extra cash to be guaranteed a child-free flight.

Parents might be relieved to hear that despite all this, children weren’t seen as the biggest annoyance on flights – inconsiderate seat-recliners topped the poll at 29 per cent.