Above: The carrier plans to operate the “quiet zone” from February, 2013.
The long-haul arm of AirAsia has said it plans to ban children from the first eight rows in Economy of its A330 fleet.
The “quiet zone” will be off-limits to those traveling with kids under the age of 12 because, according to the Malaysia-based airline, “we know that sometimes all you need is some peace and quiet for a more pleasant journey with us.”
So far, so considerate. But the Air Asia X decision is not necessarily the perfect solution for passengers seeking peace—there doesn’t seem to be anything standing in the way of an excitable infant in row 15 from demonstrating the flaw in this plan, as there is no dividing wall separating rows 7 to 14 from the remainder of the Economy cabin (the preceding rows are reserved for Premium Economy).
Malaysia has, at any rate, cornered this particular market—the only other airline in the world to offer passengers a rugrat-free zone, Malaysia Airlines, introduced a childless upper deck on its A380 from Kuala Lumpur to London. And there are data to suggest the policy responds to demand. Research by SeatGuru.com found 40 percent of U.S. travelers would pay more to sit in an area of the plane that was designated “quiet.”
Air Asia X does not plan to charge extra for the “quiet zone” beyond the standard US$11 fee to select a seat, rather than have the carrier allocate one to you at no cost.