If you knew in advance that a child was seated in your row, would you choose a different seat?
For anyone who feels easily bothered by crying children, the answer is a resounding yes.
Now, travelers flying with Japan Airlines can vet their seatmates long before they even arrive at the airport.
"Passengers traveling with children between 8 days and two years old who select their seats on the JAL website will have a child icon displayed on their seats on the seat selection screen," according to JAL.
The policy isn’t necessarily new but did garner attention on Twitter earlier this week when JAL passenger a Rahat Ahmed tweeted a thank you to the airline after noticing the baby icon on his own seat map.
“Thank you, @JAL_Official_jp for warning me about where babies plan to scream and yell during a 13-hour trip. This really ought to be mandatory across the board,” he wrote.
At least for now, the baby icon feature appears to be only available for flights booked directly with JAL, and may not always be available for seats purchased by tour groups or award flyers.
While this may be the first time an airline has thought to let other passengers know if they're seated near children, it’s not the first airline to experiment with child seating. Malaysia Airlines, Scoot, and AirAsia all offer child-free cabins.
Do you think children under the age of ten should have to sit in a separate section on an airplane? We recently put the question to our Twitter followers. Of those polled, 67% said they do not think children under 10 should be seated separately, while 33% supported the idea of a separate area.
Will U.S. carriers ever dare to launch something similar here in the States? Probably not. While there's no doubt many flyers would appreciate knowing ahead of time that a baby is seated nearby, U.S. airlines are likely to shy away from any potential backlash from family organizations.