Air Travel: Beating the Odds of Babies Within Earshot

This month’s On-the-Ground question is about childfree travel.  Lots of great childfree travel stories and tips are coming in–please write in yours!

On childfree travel tips, here’s some advice from David Flynn of the Sydney Morning Herald on beating the odds of having babies within earshot on flights: 

Fly where Malaysia Airlines goes, and go first class.

This airline received many complaints from passengers who “spend money on 1st class and can’t sleep due to crying infants,” and now it has a no baby policy in first class. Same goes for their new Airbus A380s, which hits the skies next year.

No going where Malaysia goes and/or first class too spendy?

If you can swing business class, avoid the back of this section, as it is next to the beginning of economy, where the first row of bassinets are located.

Booking your seat in economy?

Before you select your seat, go to SeatGuru to check the seat map for bassinets.  Pick a seat well away from there.

No matter what section of the plane in which you choose to sit…

…bring a good pair of ear plugs.

I have had the ear plug strategy for some time now, and it does help, but not if you end up with the baby next to or near you and it decides to cry a lot on the flight.

Malaysia is on my bucket list, but first on my travel docket is Brazil and Argentina. I am hitting the road in December for 7 weeks! I am definitely going to check out SeatGuru for beating the odds of the bassinet next to me.

Anyone used SeatGuru or other ways to increase the odds you won’t be next to babies?

These tips pertain to babies, not children.  How about strategies to increase the odds you won’t be next to children?

One I have used is if the aircraft has side rows of two seats, definitely take a seat there.  It is better than the center row of three or four anyway, and odds are you won’t be next to a child, as his/her parent would not be able to be in that row.

What are strategies you have used to beat the odds of sitting next to children?

4 thoughts on “Air Travel: Beating the Odds of Babies Within Earshot

  1. Before some airlines started charging for exit row seats, I would always choose those, as you have to be above a certain age to sit in those rows (not only that, but the people in front of you cannot recline their seats into your face!). Obviously this won’t prevent having a screaming baby or kicking child behind you, but at least you can put on your noise-canceling headphones and stretch out your legs.

    1. Ah yes, exit row does eliminate babies next to you. If you have lots of miles and are a mileage plus or the like, you can reserve those seats online. If not, go to counter at the gate (or ticket counter if you have time and the line is not long!) as soon as it opens and I have found lots of times I can get an exit seat the day I fly…

  2. On flights where people get to pick their own seats, most people try to get on first. I wait to be one of the last. That way, I at least get to pick what train wreck I sit next to. More often than not, I can usually sit myself at least 3 rows away from any kids. Worst case, I can at least avoid having one behind me kicking my chair.

  3. Very interesting about Seat Guru! The airline I’m flying next month doesn’t have assigned seats (so no way to check for bassinets), but I looked up the flight and now I know what seats to avoid for other reasons!

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