As passenger demographics and preferences continue to shift the airline industry, the concept of adults-only flights has emerged as a topic of interest and debate.
While the notion of child-free seating on airlines may raise eyebrows, it is important to consider the pros and cons of such a concept, along with examining whether any airlines have made the choice to offer exclusive flights for adult passengers.
Adults-Only Seating Zone
While the idea of adults-only flights has been discussed and debated, a few airlines have taken steps to explore this concept.
One notable example is Scoot, a Singapore-based budget airline touted as the “little sister” of SG flag carrier Singapore Airlines. In August 2013, Scoot introduced the Scoot-in-Silence cabin, which featured a no-child zone for passengers willing to pay a bit extra for a quieter journey. This initiative demonstrated that there is a market for child-free seating options, even on budget airlines.
However, it’s worth noting that Scoot-in-Silence was not entirely adult-only but rather a dedicated zone for travellers aged 12 and above. While this may not be a full-fledged adults-only flight, it did provide passengers with an opportunity to enjoy a quieter space.
In August 2023, the Netherlands arm of Turkish carrier Corendon Airlines upped the ante with plans of launching an Amsterdam-Curaçao flight starting November 3, 2023 using its Airbus A350-900 planes. These aircraft will have the forward section, usually identifiable as first-class or business-class, marked off as “Only Adult” with walls and curtains. This will comprise 102 seats — 93 regular seats and nine XL (extra legroom) seats, available to people over 16 years old.
Why choose Adults-Only Flights?
The Growing Demand for Child-Free Travel
Travelling can be a joyful and enriching experience, but it can also be quite exhausting, especially for those seeking tranquillity and peace during their journey. For solo travellers, business professionals, and couples, the idea of a child-free flight can be alluring. The demand for adult-only flights primarily stems from the desire for a peaceful and relaxing journey.
Increased Focus on Passenger Comfort
Airline travel is often associated with cramped seats, long flights, and the potential for disturbances. While airlines have taken various steps to improve passenger comfort, such as offering more legroom and enhanced in-flight entertainment, the presence of disruptive children can still detract from the overall experience. Adults-only flights could provide a haven for those seeking a quiet and distraction-free environment.
Catering to Diverse Travel Preferences
Just as there are family-friendly airlines that cater to travellers with children, there is a valid argument for airlines to cater to adults who prefer a child-free environment. This would be an excellent way to diversify the options available to travellers and allow them to choose the experience that aligns best with their preferences.
Advantages of Adults-Only Flights
- The most obvious advantage of adults-only flights is the potential for enhanced relaxation. Travellers seeking solitude or the ability to focus on work or entertainment can do so without the disruptions often associated with young children.
- Child-free flights can significantly reduce stress levels for those who are anxious about flying or worried about disturbances during the journey. Passengers can enjoy a more peaceful and stress-free flight experience.
- For business travellers, adults-only flights can provide an environment conducive to productivity. Whether it’s catching up on work, reading, or preparing for meetings, the absence of children can allow travellers to make the most of their travel time.
- Long-haul flights can be exhausting, and getting some rest is essential for many passengers. Adults-only flights offer a better chance of uninterrupted sleep, making it easier for travellers to adjust to different time zones. In response to Corendon’s new plan on its Twitter channel, some people suggested that a flight full of adult passengers is optimal for added comfort; even children crying at the back for the entire trip can be heard far forward despite people wearing the inflight headphones.
Disadvantages of Adults-Only Flights
- One of the main challenges with adults-only flights is that they cater to a limited market. While there is demand for such flights, it may not be sufficient to sustain the business model for all airlines.
- The concept of excluding children from flights raises ethical questions. Travel is a fundamental right for families, and many parents may find it unfair or discriminatory to be denied access to certain flights based on the age of their children. In some cases, learning which flights have child passengers can make certain travellers think hard on booking, such as Japan Airlines’ 2019 introduction of a seat map that indicates which seats have babies up to two years old.
- Pricing Concerns. Adults-only flights may come at a premium price, as airlines would need to compensate for the potentially lower occupancy rates in these exclusive cabins. This pricing could deter some travellers from choosing this option. The “Only Adult” section of the Corendon plan is worth the euro equivalent of $75 for regular seats, while the XL seating will carry an additional $107.
Tips for Taking Adults-Only Flights
If you decide to book an adults-only flight or a child-free seating option, here are some tips to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.
Look for airlines that offer adults-only flights or child-free seating zones. Check the availability of such options on your preferred routes.
Seats in child-free zones tend to fill up quickly. Book your flight well in advance to secure your preferred seating.
If you’re travelling on an adults-only flight, be considerate of fellow passengers who seek a peaceful journey. Avoid loud conversations or disruptive behaviour.
Plan accordingly by bringing noise-cancelling headphones, entertainment, and essentials like snacks and water to make your journey more comfortable.
Stay informed and keep an eye on airline policies and updates regarding child-free seating options, as they may change over time.
As airlines continue to evolve and adapt to passenger demands, it’s possible that we may see more experimentation with child-free seating options in the future. For now, travellers who value a peaceful journey can explore airlines that offer child-free seating zones, and parents can continue to choose flights that best suit their family’s needs.
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DISCLAIMER: This article is for informational purposes only. UBOMI has no relationships with any Australian airline or travel agency.