Thursday, October 04, 2007

Two-For Thursday: Kids and Travel

Inappropriate inflight movies
Prompted by parents' complaints about sex and violence in inflight movies, two congressmen introduced legislation Tuesday calling for airlines to create kid-friendly zones on planes.

He and Republican Rep. Walter Jones, also from North Carolina, call their proposal the Family-Friendly Flights Act.
. . .
The bill calls for the creation of sections on commercial flights where there would not be any publicly viewable movie screens. It would still allow airlines to show the movies they choose on big screens in other sections, or on individual seatback screens.
Would this be a good, or a bad thing for the childfree? On one hand, any legislation labeled "Family Friendly" makes my skin crawl. On the other, gathering kids into a single section of the plane seems like a great idea. Ultimately, though, it may be the larger symbolism that breaks the tie: if we start mandating such behavior by private airlines by legislative means, will that justify doing so in other venues, such as cable television and movie theaters?

This may be a great idea, but there is something to be said for making it a suggestion, and seeing if the market responds. If one airline embraced the idea (or instead adopted an all-G movie policy, that would allow the rest of us the choice to fly the others. If the market as a whole embraced the idea, then I would have to start checking the route for the Hooters airline.

Southwest Airlines ends 'family first' boarding
Families traveling with small children will no longer get to jump to the front of the boarding line at Southwest Airlines.
. . .
Families with children four and under will now board after the first regular boarding group unless they have an A boarding pass to be in that first group. Southwest famously doesn't assign seats. Passengers board in three groups, A, B and C, with their letter determined by when they checked in.
Here we have the opposite - a tend away from a "family-friendly" policy that might likewise have questionable results on the childfree. The race to the airport to receieve the special "A" passes may mean more children crowding the terminal.As someone on the discussion list pointed out, having children board first gave the childfree consumer the opportunity to avoid them. However, I am dubious about the prospect that childed families will cluster themselves appropriately. The tiebreaker here may indeed also be the symbolism - the idea that the act of procreation does not entitle one to special treatment, especially where the connection is weak.

Technorati Tag:

No comments: