Welcome to the Quiet Zone

You are working on your laptop. You are reading that book you’ve been wanting to read. You are watching a movie you’d never watch anywhere else, but it’s in front of you, and it’s free. You are eating a package of fancy nut mix, or a bag of Terra Blues potato chips. You are pouring a tiny bottle of vodka into a complimentary cup of Ocean Spray® Cranberry Juice Cocktail. You are laughing at the hotdog toaster description in the SkyMall catalog. You are resting your head against the airplane window, because you are one of those magical beings who can easily sleep on airplanes. Somewhere behind you, a child is screaming. You can sort of hear the kid, and the desperate plea of a parent telling the child to be good, because there will be a reward for well-behaved children after the plane lands. But it’s not bothering you too much—the screamer is several rows behind you. And you? You are in the quiet zone.

Photo: Christian Haugen

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23 Comments / Post A Comment

wearitcounts (#772)

i have a friend whose husband brings one of those economy-sized tubs of earplugs on planes. if a screaming child is present, he hands them out to anybody who wants them.

EM (#1,012)

I don’t understand why all airlines haven’t been doing this. Just limit the seat selection for people traveling with kids. There’s no identifiable safety reason why they couldn’t all sit in certain number of rows, and then everyone would be happier.

Nick (#1,548)

@Michelle Might as well take it to the next level then and offer entirely kids-free flights (some airlines probably already do this, but I’ve never looked into it since it doesn’t personally bother me that much).

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@Nick I have looked into it, and there are no childfree flights. Alas.

deepomega (#22)

Or just accept that sometimes there will be noises in public places.

ThatJenn (#916)

@deepomega Yes, this. I don’t have kids, I don’t like listening to screaming, but it is something that comes with being in public.

Also, traveling with a family makes it hard enough to find seats together – narrow the selection any more (can’t be business/first class, can’t be “economy plus,” can’t be exit row, needs to be all together) and you’re going to have some very annoyed families.

I’m actually more in favor of premium kids-free flights booked through a separate system or airline, but it’s not something I actually care about or think “should” exist (because, well, it’s public transit, and you are going to be among the public when you get on public transit).

Nice job on the alt text.

honey cowl (#1,510)

This drives me up the wall. Honestly, kids are part of life and they are going to be places. There is nothing you can do about that! Quit complaining about how awful they are and GET USED TO IT.

This is, of course, coming from someone who chooses to sit next to children and their parents on planes (Southwest is best!). I love chatting with kids and they love watching me knit!

There’s no way any self-respecting kid loves watching someone knit.

Nick (#1,548)

This drives me up the wall. Honestly, complaining people are part of life and they are going to be places. There is nothing you can do about that! Quit complaining about how awful they are and GET USED TO IT.

This is, of course, coming from someone who chooses to sit next to complaining people and their parents on planes (Southwest is best!). I love chatting with complaining people and they love watching me knit!

WaityKatie (#1,696)

@Nick Ha, come sit next to me, I complain whilst pouring drinks!

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

@Lauren Listen, i genuinely agreed with you until i was seated next to two kids who screamed their way from LA to Sydney (14 hours) and kicked me whenever i fell asleep. I have to compassion left.

wearitcounts (#772)

@EvanDeSimone this is exactly why i fly southwest (whenever possible). i actually prefer the back of the plane–nobody can kick your seat. even “by accident.”

ThatJenn (#916)

@wearitcounts I sit right in front of the exit row. Nobody under 15 is allowed to sit in the exit row and most people avoid that row because it can’t recline (which I don’t care about). Right behind the exit row is good, too, simply because exit row folks don’t recline their seats as often due to their extra leg room.

wearitcounts (#772)

@ThatJenn yes! all of these things! i’m a little bit too adamant about maintaining a healthy amount of personal space.

lavendergooms (#1,978)

I’m fine with crying babies. However, I would be all for a “no chewing gum with your mouth open” section on airplanes, the commuter rail, and the office oh my god when did this become a thing that adult people do?

wearitcounts (#772)

@lavendergooms hahaha that and a “no clipping your nails” section…why do people think this is okay, ever?

Dancercise (#94)

I hope that I was supposed to read that in Rod Serling’s voice, because I did. And I loved it.

Yeah kids are part of public life but noise isn’t the worst kids do. Kicking your seat. Ice thrown on you. Spilled drinks from tantrums.

But really, what I’m complaining about isn’t the kids themselves, it’s the parents who don’t care about their kid’s behavior or think it’s ok.

wearitcounts (#772)

@forget it i quit yes, this. it’s not bad kids; it’s the bad parents that drive me crazy.

EvanDeSimone (#2,101)

This needs to become ubiquitous ASAP. I would also endorse such a section in any restaurant that doesn’t have its own ball pit.

WaityKatie (#1,696)

It works (kind of) having a quiet car on amtrak, so I don’t see why they can’t do it on planes. If you want to be boisterous and loud, sit in the other 90 percent of seats on the plane, big deal.

sony_b (#225)

I wear earplugs from the minute I sit anyway, and I can hear them but not at a level that is driving me insane. Also, sitting right next to a kid usually means a lot more personal space for me. I’ve never had a problem with them.

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