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One airline has eliminated one of the most enduring air travel tropes, as they will tell you if you’re sitting next to a child. The internet is…conflicted.
Ever since air travel became safe (and therefore common), the fun has been sucked out of it. Sinatra may have sung whimsy, speaking of the romantic ease of drinking in rarefied air en route to drunken fumblings in Peru, but he’s dead, and our flights are punctuated by kicks to the seat and requests to stand so our neighbour can empty his bladder for the hundredth time.
Incidentally, I was the meat in a particularly awful transit sandwich heading back from Amsterdam, as my window seat was occupied by a fellow with suspected deep vein thrombosis, and the aisle held a grown person who was thoroughly defeated by a puzzle made for infants. As DVT man had to stand up every hour, it broke the concentration of the puzzle-fan, cue an audible huff and a hard reset of her challenge. It was a long ten hours.
However, while we accept all of the above, there is but one bullet we all hope to dodge: being deposited next to a screaming kid, one (who quite rightfully) questions the vacation plans of their parent(s) through the timbre of complaint.
On that note, Japan (because of course) have engineered a rather spiffy solution. If you happen to be scheduled next to a child on your upcoming flight, they let you know as you check-in.
Thank you, @JAL_Official_jp for warnings me about where babies plan to scream and yell during a 13 hour trip. This really ought to be mandatory across the board.
— Rahat Ahmed (@dequinix) September 24, 2019
Typically, the news has been met with support and also complaint, as some parents have decided to speak for themselves, with one noting “…all these people who can’t stand sitting next to young kids need to get over themselves – try and be considerate and realise that there are worse things in the world than sitting next to a crying child.”
It’s a fair point. But, transatlantic travel makes us unreasonable and shitting in the same cupboard as 189 strangers tend to jet us to the realms of juvenility.
For the record, I don’t mind. Until it happens to me, of course.