Indigo airlines recently announced a child-free zone policy, by which children below 12 will not be allowed to sit in rows 1-4 and 11-14. “These zones have been created for business travellers, who prefer to use the quiet time to do their work. Also, to ensure passenger safety and easy evacuation during an emergency, we want to avoid seating children below the age of 12 in these rows (adjacent to the emergency exit),” says a spokesperson for the airlines.
The idea has been met with mixed reactions. “Indigo being a budget carrier, the seats are already cramped. Dedicating only a few seats as ‘child free zone’ won’t solve the problem. They need a complete cabin like demarcation if they want to achieve a quiet zone,” says Namrata Shirodkar, former actress and wife of Mahesh Babu, who is also a mother to a 10-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter.
Vijay Amritraj, a businessman and frequent traveller agrees. “It’s very discriminatory in nature. The airlines should have been more helpful towards parents. Both corporates and families form a huge chunk of travellers and both should be given equal importance,” he says. “Initially, it did strike me as being unfair, but now, I feel it’s actually a very good move! Indigo flights are relatively short flights, many people use it for quick day trips. When you take an early morning flight for a meeting, it means you’ve woken up early and will appreciate that extra time to prep for the business day ahead. Or perhaps, catch up on your sleep!” says Sabina Xavier, chief operating officer, Y-Axis. Jayanti Golchha Surana, business analyst and mother of an 18-month-old child, also feels that travelling in peace with your child is more important than the seats.
“My daughter Arya is a dream traveller, and has already been to 9 countries and 5 continents. The only disturbance she causes, even on a long haul flight, is to grab the attention of the other passengers to flirt and smile with them! It would genuinely be their loss if all those seats were restricted,” says Diana Hayden, model and actress, on the new seating arrangement....