Malaysia Airlines Touts Planes with Child-Free Sections as Family-Friendly

The marketing team at Malaysia Airlines has been busy turning a potential negative into a positive by spinning the carrier’s ouster of children from the Airbus A380’s upper deck into a story about its new family-friendly zone.

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Child-Free vs. Family-Friendly

Just to be clear, kids will be welcome on the economy main deck while the upper deck – also an economy seating area that includes business class seats, too – will be child-free. First class remains child-free, too, according to all those gleeful tweets from Malaysia’s CEO.

Second Class Experience for Families?

Is this evidence of an anti-child bias or a kind of second-class citizenship for family travelers? Not necessarily. While the upper deck could be perceived as more desirable because it is more exclusive – it features just 70 economy class and 66 business class seats, compared to the main deck’s 350-seat economy configuration – the main deck has certain amenities families may want including more lavatories (8 on the main deck). It also boasts a dual aerobridge which we are told means a quicker boarding and deplaning process which may come in handy if you’re holding a screaming child.

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No More Screaming Kids

On the other hand, it also means business class travelers and at least some of the economy passengers won’t have to endure the screaming kid during the flight. We already know first class passengers are exempt thanks to those tweets, and one news report notes first class cabins on the airline’s Boeing 747s no longer accommodate bassinets.

Possibility of Completely Child-Free Flights

Earlier this month, Canada’s WestJet came out with an amusing video touting Kargo Kids – yes, kids allowed on flights only as cargo – but it was clearly an April Fool’s joke. Ryanair made a similar proposal for child-free flights last year, and the subject comes up again from time to time, but Malaysia may have taken the first practical steps in that direction.

Meanwhile, the first Malaysia Airlines A380 – with either kid-free zones or child-friendly seating (you choose) – takes flight on the carrier’s Kuala Lumpur-London route July 1.


Published: April 12, 2012