I was wondering whether there are any flights for people who can't stand children or don't want to be around them. I'm sure there is a demand. By child-free, I mean child-free flights, child-free zones, or other options. Can I request a child-free option on a regular flight to have no kids sitting nearby? How much does it cost to have a child-free flight compared to a normal one?


7 Answers 7


So far as I can tell, there are no commercial flights that are entirely child-free, There are unlikely to be, as the economics of commercial aviation work against it—the flying public favors low fares over essentially all other considerations. Every few years there is a new column suggesting it, but in the end, people aren't really willing to pay what it would take to support a child-free flight network.

From 1953 to 1970, United Airlines [in]famously offered so-called Executive flights that were for men only, between New York and Chicago and between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Cigar and pipe smoking were allowed, women and children were not. That was probably the last of it for entirely child-free flights, certainly from any U.S. carrier.

There are, however, a number of airlines that have "child-free zones" on selected flights. Malaysian Airlines was the first in recent years, banning children from the upper deck on its A380s. Scoot offers a ScootinSilence upgrade for economy; no one under the age of 12 may be seated in the front of their 787 cabins. AirAsia X, the long-haul sister airline of AirAsia, offers what they call a Quiet Zone:

1. What is Quiet Zone?
- Quiet Zone is an exclusive seating area between rows 7-14.
- Only available to guest who is aged 10 years and above.

Speaking as someone without children who flies a lot, I think it's a silly marketing ploy; I encounter far, far more annoying adults than annoying children on any given trip. Besides, it isn't as if there is a soundproof barrier around those sections. IndiGo offers child-free seating in rows 1–4 and 11–14, but sitting in row 4 won't insulate you from a fussy toddler in row 5.

Whether the option will spread outside of Southeast and South Asia remains to be seen. Even though The Independent declared it a "growing movement," there have been no new announcements since IndiGo announced it in 2016.

  • 8
    Thank you for providing a well-informated answer. I'd like to add that i flight about dozen times and i've never experienced an annoying adult, but there were several annoying children. Probably, you deal with children better than i do.
    – fixerlt
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 16:08
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    +1 for "I encounter far, far more annoying adults than annoying children on any given trip" Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 17:15
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    I rarely encounter many people at all whilst flying, but when there are consistently annoying ones, they do tend to be infants or toddlers. Being sat next to a colicky or teething baby who screams pretty much incessantly all the way from London to Los Angeles is, I can inform you, not a joy. I have come across adults who exhibited annoying behaviour or bad manners, but those rarely last more than a few minutes. The annoying adults may outnumber the infants in absolute numbers, but the infants quite consistently outscream the annoying adults. Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 18:52
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    Sitting in row four won’t insulate you from a screaming toddler in row twenty.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 2:31
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    I find the concept of "quiet zone" close to several turbines revolving at a high speed to be interesting.
    – Davidmh
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 14:24

Children and infants are not allowed in the emergency exit rows of airplanes. However, it only provides a guarantee that a child won’t sit next (laterally) to you — one might still be behind or ahead of you in a non-exit row. If you can find a plane where the exit rows correspond with a change in class or there are multiple exit rows, you might be able to build more of a buffer. I often use seatguru to find the row directly ahead of the exit row because there will be no children behind me - or the row behind the exit row if I need to do work on my laptop, because exit row seats are not capable of reclining.

In addition personally, I find that earplugs or a good set of noise cancelling headphones along with good music or a movie of my choice more than drowns out the world. If you’re really bothered, in-ear earplugs combined with over the ear noise cancelling headsets (or in-ear noise cancelling headphones combined with over the ear ear protection) will give you around 40dB of noise reduction - more than needed for most children.

Finally, parents of small children often can’t afford to fly business or first class. There’s also greater seat separation and/or privacy partitioning in those classes. You may find that one way that airlines offer a “choice” (albeit expensive one) to business travelers who absolutely need to get some sleep or work done.

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    Even without trying to avoid hearing other passengers, I’ve found earplugs to be invaluable as a frequent traveler — I’m way less exhausted after a flight if I’m not hearing several hours straight of 500 MPH wind rushing past the plane. You don’t really realize how loud the baseline level of noise is in a jet airliner until you take earplugs out mid-flight.
    – bogardpd
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 12:26
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    Sadly, I don't think noise-cancelling technology has yet evolved to cancel the toddler in the seat behind who kicks you in the back for an hour ;-)
    – Flyto
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 12:33
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    @Flyto If someone kicks you for an hour, it's your own fault by not trying to get them to stop. Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 15:42
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    @AzorAhai I think that's somewhat true, but it dismisses the fact that someone kicking you for an hour is rude. They are the one truly at fault here.
    – user428517
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 17:13
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    Counterpoint but not a contradiction: the most well-behaved my toddler has ever been on a flight was when we got a first-class upgrade together. Turns out the little ones like space as much as grown-ups. She was too young to notice the stink-eye she got from the guy who missed the upgrade cutoff.
    – kyle
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 18:56

Your only real option is to charter your very own aircraft and crew (unless you're a pilot yourself of course, in which case you might be able to rent an aircraft and fly it yourself if your ratings allow you to fly an aircraft with sufficient range and passenger capacity for your purpose).

The cost of that is pretty steep, several hundred to many thousands of dollars PER HOUR just for the aircraft, not taking into consideration payment for the crew, fuel, landing fees, etc. etc.

It's a great way to travel, but it's expensive. Maybe some day I'll be allowed and able to have my own aircraft, but for now I'm just a student pilot learning the ropes.

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    With respect, whilst the ground experience (turn up and go) is a blessed relief over large passenger terminals, the in-flight experience tends to be nothing like the “great way to travel” offered by a (far less expensive) premium cabin on a scheduled carrier. Give me First on an A380 with a fully flat bed, cocktail bar, food cooked to order and a hot shower over a cronky Learjet with seats that don’t fully recline, a mediocre galley with only cold food and a loo that flushes by manual pumping any day.
    – eggyal
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 22:59
  • @eggyal personal preference. I enjoy the experience of controlling an aircraft. And you should compare that first class seat on Emirates with a brand new G650, not a 40 year old Learjet.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 9:28

I don't know about kids of age, but when I was flying with infant I have noticed that places for parents with infant are all in the forward section. So you can try choosing seats in the back. This was just one airline though, so your mileage may vary.

Come to think of it, back section is often considered undesirable, so you could choose seats in the back to minimize the absolute number of neighbours around you - provided that flight isn't packed.

Then again, by choosing flights which are rarely full (this probably means more expensive airlines on less popular routes), and there choosing undesirable seats, you could minimize the amount of kids around you.

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    Right now you are offering me to choose unpleasant flights: overpriced, bad timings, etc. and/or choose unpleasant seats in flight to avoid a certain group of passanges that is not a solution nohow, since i want to increase my comfort during the flight and by doing what u propose my comfort will be decreased.
    – fixerlt
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 15:49
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    @fixerlt Yes; basically, you can trade one comfort for another.
    – alamar
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 15:53
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    The fixtures for attaching baby bassinets are generated located in bulkhead rows in the economy cabin, and on most narrowbody planes, this is also the first row of economy, which is why you perceive that they are seated towards the front. But bassinets can only accommodate very young infants and are often fitted only on longer flights, so I would not say choosing a seat in the back to avoid babies is workable even as a rule of thumb.
    – choster
    Commented Jul 16, 2018 at 18:49
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    @alamar the purpose of the question is about trading money(maybe time) to comfort
    – fixerlt
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 9:25
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    @fixerlt actually, flights which are half empty are much more comfortable, so if you can find those, you will not be disappointed.
    – alamar
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 9:27

In my experience over 30 years of air travel, the only solution I have discovered to simulate a child-free flight is to plug in and turn on my Bose noise reducing headphones. It's not perfect, but if you crank up your favorite music, the headphones can lull you into a Thoreauly Walden-Pond state of solitude. It is also effective for ignoring your rude adult row mates.

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    yeah. I've a set of Philips ones myself. Work great to cut out the drone of the engines as well.
    – jwenting
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 9:28

Can I request a child-free option on a regular flight to have no kids sitting nearby?

Perhaps not from the airline, but you could always see if other passengers in seats you feel are more optimal are willing to switch.

Personally, I love kids, even before having my own I've always loved the energy and raw emotion they show. I also love parents, doing the best they can to bring up their young ones when they really have no idea what they are doing.

With this in mind, sitting next to screaming kids on a plane has never bothered me. If I'm feeling social, and the parent welcomes it, I'll easily try and help out stop the screaming by just pulling funny faces, playing peekaboo, lending them my tablet and that sort of stuff. If I don't feel social I'll fall asleep or put in my head phones and ignore it.

the purpose of the question is about trading money (maybe time) to comfort – fixerIt (comment)

Then you are in luck, because as well as loving kids and parents I also love money. Even if I'm not feeling social and don't want to switch seats the added incentive of some money for doing so would almost guarantee it.

How much does it cost to have a child-free flight compared to a normal one?

£50 would guarantee it from me but other passengers may do it for less. You could always haggle as well, depending on my mood I'd probably go as low as £20.

Of course some people may take umbrage at you trying to get out of sitting next to a screaming child and think you a bit conceited for doing so and suggesting they should sit there instead. To try avoid hurt feelings as soon as you ask I'd suggest leading with a plausible reason as to why you want to switch (even if it is a white lie). Something like 'I've a meeting as soon as I get off the flight and could really do with getting some rest.' rather than just 'I don't like kids.'

Something that makes the person you want to switch with feel like they are helping you out will make them more likely to help.

  • Is it the screaming or the soiled diapers and no lavatories available or parents not noticing their child needs changing or passengers not being allowed to leave their seats causing one to sit in a miasma of foul odor for long periods of time? There's earplugs for the screaming, but nose plugs are not widely available. Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 13:21
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    @ToddWilcox I have to admit (and this is mostly since becoming a parent), there is a certain satisfaction from having a baby next to you with the most foul smelling nappy in the world and knowing that, even though you are having to endure it just now, you aren't the one who is going to have to open it up, view it, inhale it unfiltered and change it! I wouldn't say I actively seek them out though :D. Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 13:38
  • I am pretty certain that the airline maintains that the seats are non transferable. In general, they are not apt to care if you sit in my seat and I in your ... if we are both happy sitting in the wrong seat, why would the airline care. However, if the airline saw significant money change hands they might try get their hands on that money. "Sirs: go back to your assigned seats. If you want to change seats, you both need to pay an upgrade fee."
    – emory
    Commented Jul 17, 2018 at 23:11
  • @emory, Not sure if you are joking or not so going to respond as if you were serious. I think most airlines don't care about you changing seat once in flight so long as other rules are adhered to (seat belts, ticket class and so on) so I don't think this counts as 'transferable' (note as well that it is technically the ticket that is non-transferable, not the seat). And I think it would have to happen a lot before airlines decided to charge an in-flight transfer fee! Any stewards that try it off their own back would likely be risking their jobs. So yeah, I hope your comment was in jest. :) Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 14:36
  • @RyanfaeScotland I agree airlines mostly don't care, but if it became common or if there was a lot of money involved that could change. If you are willing to "spend whatever it takes to force the swap on something who is not basically agreeable" then you might have to pay the airline off as well.
    – emory
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 13:22

Your last ditch software solution is to try to use SeatSwap after you've boarded the plane to move seats to a different part of the plane farther from the most troublesome children. Not the best solution, but it's still an option!

I am not affiliated with the site in any way whatsoever. I saw this post in the sidebar while reading an iOS post, and I realized that I had seen the seatswap app advertised a few months back and thought the OP might be interested to know.

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    Can you please include what the site behind the link is about and can you please disclose whether you are connected to that site?
    – Willeke
    Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 15:37
  • I notice that the site has an invalid certificate when you try to search. Commented Jul 18, 2018 at 16:29
  • I am not affiliated with the site in any way whatsoever. I saw this post in the sidebar while reading an iOS post, and I realized that I had seen the seatswap app advertised a few months back and thought the OP might be interested to know. I’m a seasoned Stack user, and this is by far the worst thing about this platform- it is assumed post responders are idiots or spammers. Don’t perpetuate the crappiness. Ugh.
    – jungledev
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 17:19
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    The answer makes no sense. How would you know in advance that your seat is near a child?
    – bmargulies
    Commented Jul 19, 2018 at 23:40
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    You can use this app when you're on the flight. I didn't say anything about doing this in advance.
    – jungledev
    Commented Jul 23, 2018 at 17:15

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