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October 12, 2021

'Families-only' sections on flights -- yay or nay?

Flying on a plane next to screaming kids is just a way of life.

452511_crybaby It’s unfair, sure, but most of us have come to accept the harsh reality. Like how we talk ourselves into the HST, or how Charlie Sheen earns about $50 freaking million each year for doing Two and a Half Men.

But thanks to a Twitter video from Bob Saget – yes, a Twitter video from Bob Saget – the age-old argument of “We should have a families-only section on flights” is back on the minds of North American travellers yet again.

Saget, the raunchy comedian who somehow played TV’s most wholesome dad on Full House, has stirred the airline passenger pot with this Zapruder-like film he posted on Twitter last weekend.

The 20-second clip – “Here’s a video of my lovely six hour flight featuring screaming babies with cowbells …” – shows a quick scan of a plane from the 54-year-old’s seat, which is across the aisle from two wailing infants, one of whom appears to be shaking a miniature cowbell in panic.

Okay, so you say, big deal. Yet common as this might be, maybe the celeb’s semi-viral video (it’s nearing 20,000 views in just two days online) might finally throw some weight behind the issue.

Because, by almost every measure, people want a families-only section on planes. Nearly 60 per cent of travellers polled by fare comparison site said they were in favour of such a move, and a whopping 81 per cent of this survey said airlines should isolate kids and their parents from other passengers.

These results, it stands to mention, shouldn’t be taken as an offense. Most travellers understand it’s probably the parents of screaming kids themselves that are most embarrassed by a crying baby, and certainly placing parents with well-behaved kids in a hell zone of bawling children would be a punishment no one could relish.

Yet, what is the rest of the flight to do? In the middle of the raging “Should fat people have to buy two seats?” dispute, all airlines do is preach that the comfort of other travellers is priority no. 1 to them. Bigger people should buy two seats, airlines maintain, so they’re not encroaching on the space of the passengers next to them.

So, then, what’s the difference between larger travellers and crying babies? Don’t they equally detract from the comfort of a flight to the passengers immediately around them?

Flyers, what do you think? Should planes have a families-only section for young children and their parents?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...