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TravelHaven Newsbrief – Child-free Air Travel?

Every air traveler is upset at the ever-increasing number and cost of airline fees. Recently, some surveys have been asking: “What would passengers be willing to pay for?”

Some studies have found that sitting next to a screaming, kicking, uncontrollable child is many peoples’ second-greatest fear when flying. That sentiment is common on blogs and chat-sites. As humorist Robert Benchley wrote: “There are two classes of travel – first class and with children.”

Skyscanner surveyed 2,000 people and found that 59% would like to see a special family section on flights and about 20% would like flights that are completely child-free. Similarly, in a survey of British travelers asking what annoys them about air travel, 74% picked ‘the presence of children.’ As a result of that survey, The Consumerist asked people whether they would be willing to pay extra for child-free flights. Only 34% said no. The rest would be willing to pay up to $50 for an adult-only flight.

Following a story about recent child-adult issues on flights, many New York Times readers wrote to the paper in support of the child-free concept. Those in the airline business say ‘Don’t hold your breath.’ It doesn’t make economic sense for the airlines to refuse wee passengers parents’ money for whatever flight they want to book. However, child-free sections, especially on larger craft, could become a reality.

Interest in separate family sections aren’t limited to the childless. Many parents support the idea as well. They understand that they can’t expect everyone to overlook a fussy or energetic child. They like the idea of relaxing in a ‘kid-friendly’ section where everyone is in the same boat, isolated from grumpy adults and their disapproving glares.

Even Benchley would approve.

To read more on this issue, read Karen Datko for MSN Money and Douglas Quenqua for The New York Times.