We are getting used to paying for more leg room. Now Scoot (the Singapore based discount off shoot of Singapore Airlines) are offering more leg room with no children. For an extra fee, you can choose one of 41 seats in a special “Scoot in silence” cabin that bans children under 12. The cabin is located behind Business Class. Scoot started flying in 2012. They have five Boeing 777s which fly to eleven destinations through Asia and Australia. They are going to receive 20 Boeing 787s which were ordered by Singapore airlines. Skytrax have not rated Scoot yet but passengers reviews on the Skytrax site give them an average 3.5 out of five for the flying experience.
A poll conducted by GoCompare.com of 1300 passengers found that the greatest irritant on a plane were “children kicking and banging the back of your seat” and “unruly or crying children“. Children were seen as worse than drunk passengers, rude flight crews, overly-chatty people, poor in-flight meals and paying more than other people for the same flight.
Two solutions were welcomed:
- An on-board creche -welcomed by 57% of women and 51% of men
- Paying up to a £50 ($US78) more for a return flight to sit in a child free zone
This is what Air Asia X, Scoot (and Malaysian) are tapping into. Effectively Air Asia X and Scoot are creating a budget airline version of Premium Economy. I wonder how long it will be before other carriers with Premium Economy will turn them into Kid free zones? I am surprised Ryanair have not already jumped onto the concept! As the emergency exit seats are already kid free with more leg room, it is not hard to create a “Premium Zone” across a few more rows. How do parents and kids feel about being excluded though? I have often thought there should be a Family Economy Class cabin on planes with earlier meal service, kids’ packs, appropriate colours and decorations and longer sleep periods. Plus children would have the opportunity to make friends with other kids. Parents could share “war stories” about travelling with children! I also think there could be a Backpacker cabin but that’s a different story!
There is incredible mixed reaction to kids free zones. What do you think?