Airline defends first class baby ban

Last updated 13:24 30/06/2011
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Screaming babies and children on flights are the bane of many travellers' existence.

Well, one airline now has a solution — if you can afford it.

Malaysia Airlines has a ban on infants flying in the first class cabin of its Boeing 747 jets and has confirmed it will also apply to its A380 superjumbos when it takes delivery of them.

On Twitter, the airline's chief executive, Tengku Azmil, said the airline's policy of banning infants from first class had been in place for a while.

Mr Azmi said the airline had received many complaints from first-class passengers who had spent big money to fly in the cabin but were unable to sleep due to crying infants.

He said parents travelling with young children could fly in business or economy class.

In the wake of media attention the airline posted a statement on its website yesterday, saying the ban came about as a result of the airlines revamped first class seats, with an electrically operated ottoman that doubles as a visitor seat.

"As a result of this seat revamp and the introduction of the ottoman, there was no facility for positioning bassinets in the first class of the B747s," it said.

The issue of children on flights is always controversial. A survey last year found 60 per cent of travellers wanted airlines to create a "family friendly" section of the aircraft to keep children contained to one area.

The survey, by price-comparison site Skyscanner, found non-parents were the biggest supporters of the idea, with just 8 per cent of those surveyed arguing that families should be able to sit wherever they like and the majority saying they wanted to sit "as far away as possible from children".

Earlier this year, European budget carrier Ryanair said it would introduce child-free flights from October.

Whether the airline was serious or not remains to be seen. Ryanair announced it on April 1.

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- The Age

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