A few days ago, you made an important announcement 'keeping in mind the comfort and convenience of all passengers'. You introduced child-free zones on your aircraft. You might have found inspiration in practices followed by a few foreign airlines which offer similar facilities as part of premium service to their customers.
While many childless flyers are excited about the decision and hope other airlines, too, will follow suit, most parents feel this is a discriminatory move. For a change, I am a mother who supports the decision. Now, this might make me look like a 'bad' mother or a woman who doesn't stand up for her child. I have done my share of travelling before I had my daughter and I know how it feels when you are trying to catch some sleep and there is a baby screaming. I love kids, alright, and I have fun with them, but that doesn't mean I expect everyone to have patience to put up with a howling child. As for children, they hate the idea of being confined to a seat. The air smells strange, their ears hurt or they are just plain cranky. Clueless and helpless about what to do, they cry.
The sound of noisy or distressed children is not something that all can tolerate. But doesn't the same apply to the annoying situation where the passenger next to you is snoring, speaking aloud or even encroaching on your space of the shared armrest? Would you device a separate zone for such people, too, who also impinge on the peace and quiet of co-travellers? Just asking!
Anyway, I support child-free zone because having a dedicated space for those travelling with children saves a lot of stress on the parent who doesn't have to worry about others. If I know that all those sitting near me chose to be there, or because they have a child who throws a tantrum just like my daughter, it would make me feel a whole lot better. As a parent, I am often caught between two situations—one part of me is stressed out because I am trying to comfort my child and not succeeding, and the other part of me is inflicted with a strange feeling of guilt or embarrassment because I know my child is disturbing everybody else. And the good part about segregating an area for those travelling with children is that children, too, feel good to look around and see others from their world, struggling with the same discomfort, and not having to deal with weird adults who look at them annoyingly.
As for air carriers, I am not really sure how effectively and practically you will be able to screen off sound of noisy children in those so-called comfort zones. What you should in fact do is figure how you can make your airplanes more child-friendly and provide them a better flying experience. How about child-friendly food, toys and activity packs for kids on the plane, or a few crew-members who know how to have their way around with children? Happy kids, happy passengers, happy travel. Sounds good?