back to article Baby alert! Japan Air lets passengers book seats far away from screaming abdabs

Japan Airlines is reportedly adding a baby symbol to its online seat booking system, allowing passengers to pick a seat according to possible noise levels. It is not entirely clear that this is really a new feature or just new to observers on Twitter, but it is causing quite the furore. The icon covers kids from the age of …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It would be nice to know

    As the parent of a child who hardly ever falls asleep without protest and whose already thin patience for being made to sit still becomes non-existent when tired, it would be nice to know that passengers around have been fairly warned of potential disruption.

    "I slept like a baby."

    "Oh no, you woke up every two hours screaming for food? Poor you!"

  2. WolfFan Silver badge

    Solution to the problem

    Install a special pod in the cargo bay, with pressurization, heat, etc. Place passengers with small children, 'comfort support' animals, etc., in there. Provide a means to be able to move drunk passengers down to it, even during flight. Extra points for being able to jettison the pod somewhere over the ocean should the infestation therein become too annoying to everyone else.

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: Solution to the problem

      Place humo(u)rless gits in the pod too.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Solution to the problem

      When grown ups complain about babies crying, I wonder whether I should despair for the human race.

      Yes, it's annoying, but we were all babies once... At least, I think I was, I can't remember.

      1. Drew Scriver Bronze badge

        Re: Solution to the problem

        True, but when I was a wee one my parents didn't fly.

        I understand some families may have to travel on airplanes with babies and I'm fine with that. However, this is not the season in their lives to go to Disney World by plane. Or take small children to the movies or concerts.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. WolfFan Silver badge

          Re: Solution to the problem

          It's just not a good idea to travel with very young children. It should be discouraged. Yes, this means that the parents will not be able to go out themselves unless they can find a babysitter, but they should have known what they were signing up for when they became parents. I know that SWMBO and I certainly did. We have never inflicted very young children on anyone except family and friends. No trips to movies, etc. No trips anywhere, not with the children in tow.

      2. WolfFan Silver badge

        Re: Solution to the problem

        My parents had enough sense to NOT take me (or any of my siblings) onto an aircraft when I was very young. My first flight of any kind was aboard my godfather's Piper; I was four (and clutching a copy of Biggles Learns to Fly in my grubby little hands; I was most disappointed that Pipers aren't usually fitted with Lewis or Vickers guns as even then I had a Bad Attitude(tm)). My first flight on a commercial aircraft was on a BOAC (yes, that long ago) flight to New York. I was six. It's a Really Bad Idea(tm) to take children under 18-24 months old onto a commercial aircraft. No-one involved, especially including the child in question, enjoys the experience.

        (Note: I can't remember what BEA were called, but BOAC was Better On A Camel, and BWIA was Britain's Worst Investment Abroad or But Will It Arrive or my personal fav, Better Wait In Airport.) (Yes, I still have a Bad Attitude(tm))

        1. Dazed and Confused

          Re: Better On A Camel

          TWA was known as Try Walking Across

          I had relations who travelled a lot for work and I remember as a child my Aunt having ones like this for most of the airlines, but those are the only two I remember.

          1. Robert Sneddon

            Alitalia

            Always Late In Takeoff Always Late In Arrival

            I flew Alitalia once. Yes, we took off late and landed late.

            1. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. James Wilson

              Re: Alitalia

              Arrive Late In Turin, All Luggage In Athens

            3. Any other name
              Black Helicopters

              Re: Alitalia

              I flew Alitalia once. Yes, we took off late and landed late.

              My one and only flight with Alitalia was perfectly on time. Not really terribly surprising [*], until you realize that all their ground personnel was on strike that day. However, they made an exception for the flight to Palermo, and anybody who was connecting to it. I can't really imagine why.

              [*] Really, it isn't. According to the oag.com, Alitalia has a pretty decent on-time performance: better than Delta, Singapore Airlines, KLM, Emirates, Air France, United, American Airlines, and BA, but worse than All Nippon, Aeroflot, Quantas, and Japan Airlines.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Solution to the problem

        Sometimes when I've flown I've had no choice but to fly overnight with the expectation of being able to sleep on the plane as there was no other chance to sleep. Getting disturbed all night isn't a great deal of fun. It isn't being unreasonable to be allowed to sleep at night.

        I've been on flights where there were young children who behaved really well. I've been there were kids are over excited & bored at the same time and had to much energy etc... that's life. Most parents do an admirable jobs of trying to keep them from causing too much disturbance. Babies cry that's what they do when they want something (the diags are shit, it can be difficult to know what).

        But I've also been on flights where a baby has screamed blue murder from the time the plane starts to climb. They do this because they are in agony, they can't equalise the pressure in their ears and this can be excruciatingly painful. But there seem to be loads of parents who would rather inflict this pain on their kids than miss out on a sunny holiday.

        There are also the parent of slightly older kids who book they kids into economy and then swan off to get drunk in business class. Leaving the rest of us to put up with the kids they don't want to be with.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: Solution to the problem

          can't equalise the pressure in their ears and this can be excruciatingly painful. But there seem to be loads of parents who would rather inflict this pain on their kids than miss out on a sunny holiday.

          Going them a bottle* or dummy gets them to suck and that equalises the pressure. It is known. (If it isn't then politely suggest it.)

          Also, I take exception to the sunny holiday thing. Families with partners from different countries are a thing.

          * If airport security didn't carry out a controlled explosion on it, of course.

        2. Jay 2

          Re: Solution to the problem

          One of the worst flights I've ever had was partly due to someone else's sprog. It was an overnight flight, and wasn't helped by the lights being off foir a short while whilst the cabin crew attempted to flog stuff either side. In amongst all this every time I had just about drifted off to sleep the sprog next to me would move for some reason and bump into me and I'd wake up. The result being I didn't get much sleep. To add insult to injury when we landed the sprog was out for the count.

        3. Raj

          Re: Solution to the problem

          Babies and toddlers can equalize pressure in their ears when they suckle or are given something to drink - anything that promotes swallowing. Do that during takeoff roll and they're fine through to cruising altitude.

          Our child traveled the equivalent of two round the world trips before he was two - a combination of multiple transpacifics and US transcons. He has no trouble with it and quite enjoys flying, with his trusty bag of toys and ipad, and his preferred window seat to play in calmly, and makes a show of swallowing right after takeoff too.

      4. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
        Linux

        Re: Solution to the problem

        I used to get annoyed by screaming kids. Then on one flight a kid choked and couldn't breathe... the panic in the Dad's voice and the sense of isolation at cruising altitude was heart-wrenching.

        The reaction from other passengers and the cabin crew was superb. The limp body was quickly taken to the galley and when, a couple of minutes later, we heard that kid cry the sense of relief was amazing. I vowed never to be annoyed by a screaming kid again, because at least when they're making noise you know they're breathing!!

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Solution to the problem

      That's part of the problem. They think their sprog at age 1 or so will really love Disney World. I do understand traveling to visit family which is a different matter. But, unless it's overseas travel, load the car/van and hit the road. It can be very enjoyable.

      I'm in the States so your experience may vary. I'm also a GOM* who would rather drive and see the country side, stop when I want, eat when I want, then spend my time packed into a airborne sardine can which also smells like one.

      *GOM = Grumpy Old Man

      1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

        Re: Solution to the problem

        I'm also a GOM* who would rather drive and see the country side, stop when I want, eat when I want, then spend my time packed into a airborne sardine can which also smells like one.

        You forgot to mention air biscuits.

        Your method of travel also have the added advantage of not havening anybody from Kenya loom over you and demand compensation after getting a free air biscuit from your direction.

  3. Khaptain Silver badge

    Alternatively

    Why not just create a "quiet flight". We have quiet cabins on some trains and I think it is a great idea.

    No Apple earbuds which appear to let out as much noise as they put in.

    No babies because we know in advance that they dont really like Air Pressure differences.

    No children that don't know how to shut the fuck up or spoiled brats that think banging their feet against the back of your seat is Ok....And no parents that let them do this shit.....

    No business men, loudly havering on about how wonderfull they are or how much they apparently earned on their last deal, strange because they are travelling in economy class....

    No one using their mobile phone up until the last three seconds before take off, they only use them to inform people that they are in a plane. These people have a severe infériority complex.

    No one wandering up and down the aisle to see their friends, who don't really want to be visited....

    No one pestering you to buy perfume, watches, gadgets, lottery or raffle tickets, or requesting spare change for charities..

    Now that would be a civilised way to travel...

    1. Psmo Bronze badge

      Re: Alternatively

      They'd never do it; the sound-proofing would take up warm-paying-body space.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Alternatively

        Seats take up warm-paying-body space.

        I've a particular bugbear on this on - I'd 6'5 so booked some extra legroom on a flight which was up against a bulk-head - not too bad as I could lift my legs up and rest them on the bulkhead which is sometimes nice. The couple next to me were both quite small but had booked some platform they could put their baby on that attached to the bulkhead and invaded the space in front of me so I couldn't get comfortable at all. And of course the poor little sod was only about a month old and couldn't clear its ears and screamed for the duration of the flight. Fucking sadists.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Alternatively

          Clogged ear crying? I once had a 9 hour flight back from a Caribbean destination with a sunburned baby on board.

          Poor mite.

          Still, at least the parents had a dream holiday, hey.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternatively

      > No business men, loudly havering on about how wonderfull they are

      That's us the pilots out too. :-(

      Except that we really *are* wonderful (and can spell correctly).

      Now let's go inside and talk about me.

    3. Michael Hoffmann
      Thumb Up

      Re: Alternatively

      Well, a close approximation of that does exist.

      It generally costs at least 5 times more, though. It's called business or first class. You still have some rights up there, instead of "you get what you paid for" in cattle, you ... OK, you "pay and at least get something".

      Generally also far lower likelihood of having any persons younger than 12. The business (wo)men tend to quietly keep to themselves. The odd honeymooners shelling out on their frequent flyer miles and too busy with each other.

      No risk of DVT. Flight attendants whose smiles *do* occasionally touch their eyes instead of being plastered on. The, you get those nice little bags with earplugs in them, for when you forgot your own or left them in the check-in bags.

      Having to fly very long distance at the least every 2, but more like every year, I can fortunately save up and spend a long time shopping for the right deal. It's amazing what you can dig up in the byzantine airline pricing schemes.

  4. spold Silver badge

    Over-designed. Alternate simple solutions.

    Nicely branded in the complimentary swag bag...

    Farty passenger - cork

    Screaming Sproglets (**) - Duct (gaffer) tape.

    ** also other screaming passengers in the event of the plane falling out of sky

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. markr555
    Mushroom

    Screaming abdabs?

    Not sure what the author is trying to say here, where I come from that phrase has absolutely nothing to do with children! Unless of course, you are dropping them off at the pool in rather a hurry.

    Edit: A subsequent internet search does yield the original meaning of the phrase, but its long-been hijacked to mean a bad case of the squits in my neck of the wood.

    1. TeeCee Gold badge
      Coat

      Re: Screaming abdabs?

      I guess that's because "galloping trots" has now been repurposed to mean Labour Party, so something else was required.

  7. Cavey Wavey
    Coffee/keyboard

    Could we have an oversized Marker

    I know i'll get downvoted for this, but as someone who on more than once occasion has had to spend an uncomfortably long flight enveloped by the passenger next to me, could we please get an icon to show my portly neighbour may be straying into my seat. Flights are uncomfortable enough in cattle class without being forced to share body heat and ending up with a spine like a boomerang for just trying to get some space.

    1. Korev Silver badge

      Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

      I'm also a wide passenger... The problem is actually my shoulders* are often wider than an economy class seat.

      *I surfed a lot when I was young

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

        I'm a large passenger - 6'5. Most planes have seats that bend forward in the wrong place. My all time favourite is the twat that put those little headrests on train seats that stick out a couple of inches each side at the top - in my back! If I ever catch up with that bastart Dr Mengele will look like a saint.

      2. Dazed and Confused

        Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

        I gave up booking the "extra leg room" exit aisle seats because of this. My shoulders are wider than the average seat as I guess are many men's. The exit row ends up full of larger blokes and you can end up shoulder to shoulder with other people who are wider than the seat so the one on the aisle seat ends up leaning over at quite an angle.

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

          Count me in for the "shoulders wider than an economy class seat" problem. I always book aisle, fly bent and have the food/drink carts banging into my exposed shoulder during all the flight. Unfortunately wearing American Football shoulder armor would only worsen the problem...

      3. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

        Economy seats are 17" wide, which is ludicrously narrow.

    2. gskr

      Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

      Having experienced that nightmare on a 13hr flight back from down under I'm all in favour of that.

      I feel that you should be able to install a thin metal divider on the armrest at least to prevent a portly neighbour's arm overhanging your side of the armrest. If said neighbour has to be placed in the aisle seat so there is some space they can overlap to physically fit in, so be it.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

        This is why I book aisle seats. Archery, swimming, DNA and being brought up on meat & two veg have given me a tremendously manly chest that airline seats refuse to accommodate. I have no desire to impose on whichever poor sod ended up next to me so I block people trying to walk down the aircraft instead.

      2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

        My shoulders are wider than the 17" width of standard seats. That's not at all uncommon and isn't due to being overweight.

        Perhaps airlines should be legally required to have seats that normal people can reasonably fit in.

    3. Drew Scriver Bronze badge

      Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

      While we're on the subject, why is it that I have to pay extra (or have my luggage allowance cut) because the average weight of other passengers? It takes effort to maintain my BMI of 21 (mainly by sticking to healthful foods, watching portion size, and avoiding sugar like the poison it is).

      If people have a true medical issue I'd be happy to help them out, but I can't get enthusiastic over supporting people's sweet tooth and excess nutritional intake.

      Before downvoting this post, consider that most cars are designed and manufactured for a weight limit of 175 pounds / 80 kg per person - including luggage. Look it up in the owner's manual - simply divide the maximum load by the number of people the car is designed to carry.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

        When I was younger I was 6'5 and 70kg - I still didnt fit into aircraft seats and had to manspread to take off as the table on the seat in front prevented me from kneeing the poor bastard in fronts kidneys.

        Clothes manufacturers seem to have an inkling that people are different sizes - perhaps the airlines should take note.

        1. Drew Scriver Bronze badge

          Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

          Agreed - being 6'4" myself I share that experience.

          But it'd make me very happy if they waived the upgrade fee for more legroom and/or wider seats for passengers who are either tall or have a medical condition.

      2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

        Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

        Splendid idea, but if a women's gymnastics team happens to catch the same flight, will your cost be adjusted up to allow for the fact that you are a lean 80 kg, and they're all around 45?

        Also, telling us your BMI does not tell us how much energy you require to haul you about.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

          Besides, the BMI is a bloody useless number. Consider that Arnold da Governator in his T-800 body would be considered "grossly obese" according to the BMI.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

          That did actually happen but the other way around, when a rugby team chartered a plane in France.

          Found it: https://www.bea.aero/docspa/2009/f-zb090117/pdf/f-zb090117.pdf

        3. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

          Absolutely - as long as men get a 20% discount on food everywhere in the country, as the recommended daily calories are 25% higher than those for women.

          (Which is also my response to women pleading period poverty. Learn to wash a cloth pad!)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

        I'd be quite happy to pay based on the "loading weight" of my party i.e. a base charge per seat and perhaps an assumption that a passenger + luggage =80kilos (60kg person +20kg baggage) then a charge per kilo above that. A few years ago our party of 3 was challenged when checking in for a Thomas Cook flight (whatever happened to them?) returning from Vancouver because our combined total baggage (including carry-ons) was 1.5kg over the limit. That was the first and only time an airline has taken any interest in the weight of cabin baggage, suitcases were at or below the allowance. "if we don't charge you extra it's not fair on other passengers who have kept within the limit". (I think she was proposing USD20 per kilo, current commercial air freight charges vancouver to uk are under USD4 per kilo.). Only when we started to discard unnecessary surplus like already read paperbacks, newspaper and drinking a bottle of soft drink (this was before the ban on liquids) did she relent. I was inclined to the view that the excess fee might have been payable in cash and might not have reached the coffers of the airline - but perhaps I'm just an old cynic.

        It seemed quite absurd when there were some very large passengers whose combined weight + baggage must have been 130kg+ each (we were 2x60kg and one 90kg + 3x~20kg suitcases and a few kilos each of cabin baggage).

        1. genghis_uk

          Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

          Some years ago I was on a San Francisco - London flight and my bag was a couple of kg over... The BA (or was it Virgin?) check in guy looked at the bag and I looked down the counters to the 240+lb man also checking in. We smiled and he waved the bag through.

          In 20+ years of long haul business travel the only time I had my hand baggage weight checked was on a Virgin flight to Orlando. My main bag was well under by my rucksak/hand luggage was 1 or 2kg over. Check in was really snotty so I left the bottle of water and accumulated junk that put me over on their counter! Awful flight with an outdated plane - I can only assume that they run their B stock on the Disney flight as they probably get abused more than others.

        2. jake Silver badge

          Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

          I note with interest that you put the "maxweight" at 60 kilos, which is your own weight. Presumably you would scream bloody murder if the airlines put the limit at 55 kilos, right?

          Besides, I rather suspect that far less than half the flying adult population weighs that little. I haven't weighed 60 since I was maybe 12 years old ... I'm about 96 kilos soaking wet, and no I'm not overweight. Unless you think 4% body fat is overweight, of course. Are you saying I should be penalized for my genetics, which I have absolutely zero control over? Be careful how you answer, that's an awfully slippery slope you're tip-toeing across ...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Could we have an oversized Marker

            Pity Jake didn't read all the way down to "...we were 2x60kg and one 90kg "... wife and teenager ~60kg each, me 90kg. The reasoning behind the 60kg start point is that few adults will weigh less (average UK male 84kg, female 69kg) and many pax travel with cabin baggage only, not using the full ~20kg baggage allowance. That means the base price would often represent most of the cost of the flight and I would not suggest the cost per excess kg be high.

            As for individual weight, I lost 10kg since, it's not easy but the trick is to eat less. As for "penalized for my genetics", you may not have control over your genetics but that doesn't mean you can't do anything to improve your health (exercise, diet), but in any case your genetics have already penalised you:

            An individual of 180 cm 79 kg is considered overweight and 94 kg is obese. Life expectancy is reduced if overweight and, broadly speaking, the more overweight the shorter the life expectancy: you can look forward to poor health and increased death rates from cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

            Height is an issue too : "men of height 170.2 cm or less lived 7.46 years longer than those of at least 182.9 cm"

  8. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "it is causing quite the furore"

    Why ? Are the parents with babies being prevented from booking flights ? Are their rights being infringed in any way ? NO.

    Other people, who are not comfortable in the vicinity of a wailing infant, have the right to desire not being next to one, and this functionality allows for that. If you think that I should be obliged to endure a wailing infant for the length of a flight simply because you decided to make one, I have news for you.

    Now I am just waiting for this technology to extend to warning about smelly gits, people who should pay for two seats and people who can't shut the fuck up. Somehow I don't see any of that happening soon.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: "it is causing quite the furore"

      ... people who should pay for two seats ....

      The airlines do that. And those folks don't get a seat by they emergency exits either.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: "it is causing quite the furore"

      "smelly gits ::snippage:: people who can't shut the fuck up"

      Ask to be moved to a different seat. Give your reason, even if especially if the babbler can hear you make the request. Chances are good there will be no free seats in cattle class and you'll get upgraded to business class. Or better. Has worked for me on numerous occasions.

      (Same for the wailing baby, BTW, just to stay nominally on topic.)

      The snip is because people who should pay for two seats usually do.

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        I know they do, what I'm asking for is the icon on the reservation page.

  9. Stratman
    Megaphone

    Noise cancelling headphones.

    They work with braying businessmen, raucous ruggerbuggers and serial snorers too.

  10. TRT Silver badge

    Is there...

    an app for avoiding the terminally flatulent?

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Is there...

      Matches in your shoes!

  11. Not Enough Coffee

    I'd love to have flights where the oxygen is reduced enough that everyone sleeps for the duration. Exchange the seats for bunk beds.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not surprised it's JAL

    No screaming kids on public transportation in Japan. Nor any antisocial phone shouters either. Bliss.

  13. earl grey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    i sovled the armrest problem

    last few flights i was on in cattle class (besides mooing as i got on), i simply raised up the armrests and held them in place with my elbow until the other contestants got the picture. we all had a nice comfy ride. not so much for the sprog kicking my seat when i leaned over and spoke nicely to the parental unit telling them "that needs to stop". also longer and wider than many i try to make room for my fellow cattle, but on one flight my knees were right in the back of the seat in front of me and when they tried to lean back there was nowhere to go. sorry.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: i sovled the armrest problem

      I have been told on multiple flights that the cunt in front has the right to hurt my knees by leaning back and invading my personal space.

      I can however assure you that none of them have slept on the flight.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: i sovled the armrest problem

        I find that a couple of drawing pins pushed through the seat back from my side deals with people who can't keep their knees out of my space.

      2. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

        Re: i sovled the armrest problem

        It's ludicrous that modern plane seats can recline at all. The tray tables are barely functional at the best of times, without the selfish prat in front deciding they need to lie back.

        1. hoola Bronze badge

          Re: i sovled the armrest problem

          What is really stupid is that the back of the seat reduces the space behind rather than the seat moving forward to reduce legroom of the occupier. I don't fly regularly I got caught out the first long haul when the person in front reclined the seat and then thrashed around most of the flight so anything on the tray was at constantly at risk of falling off or the screen was bouncing around.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: i sovled the armrest problem

          without the selfish prat in front deciding they need to lie back.

          So reserve a seat in the bit of a plane with more room.

          Oh yes, it costs more, but that's your free choice.

  14. Rustbucket

    Offer complementary pherergan

    To the adults as well as the kiddies.

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