Do We Need Family Sections on Planes for Screaming Kids

Family Sections on Planes for Screaming Kids?

Should screaming kids on planes be treated like the plague?

I’m not talking about being cruel to them, I am speaking literally – you know, should they be quarantined?

Let me be totally clear: Is it time for family-only sections on airplanes?

More than 550 people have said “yes” to our poll on whether family-only sections are a good idea on airplanes (and we’d like to invite you to weigh in, too).

It’s not such a crazy idea.

Restaurant Ejects Screaming Kids

An eatery in Carolina Beach, North Carolina – the venerable Olde Salty’s – features the following sign (and I’d be interested in any comments you care to share about it):

Like the JetBlue Flight Attendant Slide Exit

Owner Brenda Armes has said, “It has brought us in more customers than it’s ever kept away.” Reporter Gary McNair at WECT who did a story on the “no screaming kids” restaurant, blogged about it as well, noting that the restaurant had gotten a lot of national attention:


“All of a sudden it appeared Brenda Armes was like the Jet Blue flight attendant – standing up for those who can’t take disruptive behavior any more.” – WECT

Now when it comes to kids, no one is talking about throwing them off a plane (after all, you cannot open an airplane door in mid-flight) – so let’s talk more about family seating sections.

Think of cry rooms in churches – or family nights at the ball game – or those chain resorts like Club Med with kids only “mini-clubs” ranging from teens to babies. So why not family sections on planes?

Parents Don’t Like Screaming Kids Either

Some parents would appreciate it. Look, I’m a parent myself, and I know all of us cringe when our kids go off; those who have to listen to it aren’t happy, sure, but believe me, it makes most parents extremely uncomfortable, too.

Yes, sometimes parents are the problem, either by being too permissive (but I don’t believe that happens as often as most people seem to think), or by being too strict. I’m not sure what happened aboard the Southwest flight earlier this summer, but a flight attendant thought she saw a parent getting angry with an upset child on a plane and offered to help – and I say, terrific.

So what about family-only sections on planes? Suzanne Robertson, a freelance writer based in Los Angeles who has two little kids of her own, notes that screaming children aren’t the only problems on planes:


“Us ‘breeders’ have to deal with annoyances too. Should there be a ‘smelly person’ section on the plane? How about a ‘moves too slow down the aisle’ section? The last two flights I’ve been on have needed a ‘too much drinking’ and ‘super loud talker’ section, too.” – Suzanne Robertson

She’s got a point. And here’s another point. If such “family-only” sections do become a reality, don’t you think the airlines would charge a fee for that?

The question is – would you be willing to pay for it?

Take the Poll

Want to take our poll on family sections for airplanes? More than 500 people have voted so far – see what they think, and let us know where you stand.

Pictures from WECT News

More from Rick Seaney:

Time for Family-Only Sections on Airplanes?


Published: September 15, 2010