Airlines Begin Telling You How to Avoid Sitting Next to a Baby, Sparking Hope for Wider Adoption

Photo: Getty

At least two airlines have adopted the brilliant idea of allowing passengers to try to sit as far away as possible from auditory powder kegs—babies on airplanes.

I can’t confirm this, but based on my decades of flying I believe it is a scientific impossibility for a baby to make it through an entire flight without wailing with the ferocity of someone who has slammed their fingers in an overhead bin. It’s also inevitable that if there is a baby on my flight, it will be seated within a couple of feet of me.

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And that’s fine! Babies have to fly too. I imagine parents traveling with babies have enough to worry about without assholes giving them stink-eyes. So I just accept whatever damage is happening to my eardrums.

But if I ever fly Japan Airlines (JAL) or All Nippon Airways, I can counteract fate and book a seat that isn’t near a toddler. JAL recently announced it now uses a booking tool that displays where children aged two and younger are sitting. The Guardian reports that All Nippon Airways has already had this feature.

The feature may not work if parents book through third-party services. JAL notes on its site the baby icons might not show a flight is changed right before departure.

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Hopefully, airlines in America will start adopting this tool. Though I imagine if this catches on, carriers will use it as a way to charge more for certain seats.

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Jennings Brown

Senior editor and reporter at Gizmodo