Crying babies and uncontrollable toddlers on the plane can be both a parent’s and a passenger’s worst nightmare.
But a design company in America thinks it has found a solution to suit both parties: a family-only airline.
A new concept airline – dubbed ‘CAir’ – has been put forward by design consultancy RKS in a bid to address the needs of families: a group that it says is largely “neglected.”
As part of its vision, the concept airline would offer services, including:
- An airport lounge with family waiting areas equipped to entertain children
- Rent-a-toy service on board
- Personal ‘sound curtains’ or soundproof compartments that could be pulled down around a passenger’s seat to block out noise
- More spacious toilets and larger changing tables in the cabin to make nappy changing easier
- Family facing seats that are adjustable to cater for children of all sizes
- Children’s food menus
- Aisle partitions to create ‘play zones’ on board
- Easy-to-reach storage compartments overhead and underneath the seat.
- Buggy rentals at the airport
- shuttle service to their destination
Will airlines ‘Cair’?
On paper the concept airline sounds like a dream for travelling families, but it’s unlikely many of these ideas will fly with airlines, in an industry that is still trying to recover its losses.
If airlines made room on the plane for larger restrooms and family facing seats (that recline away from each other and take up more space), it would lead to fewer seats on the plane and higher fares. Not all families would be willing to pay a premium for these ‘family-friendly’ upgrades.
The airline would also need to run a frequent schedule to make the venture worthwhile, which is a risky business if there isn’t the demand and it can’t fill up its planes.
But adding children’s toys to the in-flight menu is a great idea, if the rental service was made affordable. Kids could do with a lot more fun ‘diversions’ on the plane.
If there’s one thing this research exercise shows, it’s that airlines could do a lot more to cater for families.
At a basic level, some airlines don’t allow early boarding for passengers with small children, while Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia X have gone the other way by introducing child-free seating areas on board.