Richard Quest, the anchor of CNN’s “Quest Means Business,” tried to spark a Twitter campaign on Wednesday to encourage airlines to ban babies from travelling in business class.
“lets get #BIBB trending…Ban Babies in Business Class. Good on Scoot, Air Asia and others,” he tweeted.
Quest’s mission was linked to the news that Singaporean budget carrier Scoot is now offering a kid-free zone: Five rows in at the front of economy class where no passengers under 12 will be allowed to sit.
A ticket for the “ScootinSilence” section costs $US14 extra, and includes four extra inches of legroom.
On Twitter, Quest argued that business class is a working space, so having young children there is problematic (he’s fine with babies in first class).
Why It Won’t Work In The U.S.
Culd the idea of segregating babies and children from higher-paying passengers catch on the U.S.? Pauline Frommer, publisher of Frommers.com, said it might be popular, but wouldn’t work for practical reasons:
“I think it would be a popular idea, but I don’t know how they’d do it from a practical point of view, unless they can cordon off one entire section of a plane (bathroom area to bathroom area) for adults-only, which seems unlikely,” she said.
“Here’s why I don’t think it will work: because if they make, say, the first four rows of economy adult only, someone who paid extra could STILL spend the flight listening to a toddler chatter in the row behind him (or worse, getting his seat kicked by that toddler).”
“With the way planes are now designed, I don’t think it’s possible to truly segregate in this fashion,” Frommer added.
George Hobica, the founder of Airfarewatchdog, noted the “alliterative ring” of #BIBB, but agreed that it won’t happen, partly for the practical reasons:
“Just like smoking sections on planes of old when the smoke would drift throughout the aircraft, child-free zones are hard to isolate from child-friendly zones,” he said. “A wailing baby with strong lungs can be heard far and wide across many seat rows. So I don’t see how they’d work, and they’d be a nightmare logistically.”
He argued that American travellers would not want to pay a fee for the child-free zone, and that “segregating people because they’ve procreated is no better than any other type of segregation and would backfire, fee or no fee.”
That is backed up by a survey commissioned by Skift, which found 64% of Americans would not pay extra to sit in a child-free zone.
So it’s not surprising that Quest’s Twitter campaign (whose hashtag probably should have been #BBIB, not #BIBB) gained little traction. Even Piers Morgan shot down the idea:
So unless you’re flying Scoot, be ready for babies.
We reached out to CNN and Quest for comment, but did not receive a reply.
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