News, Culture & Society

SARAH VINE: Is it just me? Or do you love a baby on a plane, too? 

SARAH VINE: Is it just me? Or do you love a baby on a plane, too?

  • Columnist Sarah Vine says that she loves having babies on-board flights
  • But that Japan Airlines move is discriminatory and incredibly rude to families
  • Company said it will enable people to find out where babies are sitting on-board 

I’m not easily offended, but some things — such as not being able to take my dogs into the Post Office (why?) — irritate me. Take this new initiative from Japan Airlines.

Passengers choosing their seats online are now able to see the location of children under the age of two — in order, presumably, to avoid sitting near them.

I’m sorry, but what? The parents of young children have a hard enough time travelling without the aviation equivalent of the black spot placed upon them. It’s not only incredibly rude, it’s discriminatory.

Sarah Vine said that Japan Airlines’ move to label where babies will sit on flights is both discriminatory and rude. (Stock image)

What have babies ever done to anyone, apart from have lovely soft cheeks and pudgy little hands and smell like biscuits?

OK, they do sometimes make a racket, but nothing that can’t be sorted with headphones or ear-plugs.

Granted, perhaps being seated next to a crying baby is not ideal, but then neither is having to share a row with some half-cut stag party, or, as happened to me recently, someone who spends the entire trip watching porn on his mobile phone.

The point about flying is that when you’re all squished together in a metal tube hurtling through the air at 30,000ft, everyone, even your most beloved, is intensely annoying. Why single out babies?

As the mother of two teenagers, babies remind me of a more innocent time. I am that woman you see making googly eyes at other people’s infants.

So I’m grateful to Japan Airlines for its policy. If ever I take to the skies with them, I’ll find the nearest baby and sit next to it, hopeful that I, affection-starved granny-in-waiting that I am, will get a few seconds with an adorable small person.