Don't want to sit near babies on a plane? This airline has the answer.

Japan Airlines seatmaps now show where babies are sitting, so you can sit as far as possible away from them.

By David Flynn, September 27 2019
Don't want to sit near babies on a plane? This airline has the answer.

There are many things which can spoil your flight, and most business travellers would rank 'crying babies' high on that list – especially when they're trying to sleep on an overnight leg, ahead of a busy day of meetings.

So what if the seating chart for your flight showed where infants were sitting, allowing you to choose a pew potentially out of earshot? That's what Japan Airlines is now doing, with special icons which indicate a seat booked for a child under two years of age.

"Passengers traveling with children between 8 days and 2 years old who select their seats on the JAL website will have a child icon displayed on their seats on the seat selection screen," Japan Airlines explains. "This lets other passengers know a child may be sitting there."

The system isn't foolproof, however. It currently works only for bookings made directly with Japan Airlines, which means it won't flag toddlers booked through a travel agent or other third-party, or as part of a larger tour group. Seats snared using frequent flyer points also slip through the net.

Of course, travellers who are diligent to book their favourite seat well in advance might find they have to move if a late-booking plonks a baby too close.


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Jan 2014

Total posts 307

I don't mind the little ones, once they have had a squawk for a while they normally drift off to sleep, what I would like to know is where the poorly controlled 3-5 year olds are that kick your seat, jump around and generally annoy everyone around them, they are the ones I want to avoid.

Some little ones can scream so loud that they probably wake up the pilots.

22 May 2011

Total posts 72

Best idea ever.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 633

Ooops, I see some possible controversy arising with this, as a policy.

Whilst I think - personally - that this is a great service enhancement for passengers, I sadly recall all the fuss with QF and their policy of a few years back with males being seated next to children. There are those within the wider community who may well suggest that this is an unacceptable option whereby potential paedophiles could choose their seat and possible victim of choice. Not my belief, but I do recall the controversy this style of policy has previously generated.

23 Feb 2015

Total posts 272

Interesting point. You would like to think parents of kids that young wouldn't leave them unattended, if the range went higher I could definitely see the issue though.

I believe that children 0-2 have to be accompanied...

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 633

I've read reports on other sites that the policy applies to children from two months old through to twelve years of age.

As David points out, only bookings made directly through JAL (not via travel agents or OTA) will be nominated with this icon in their booking.

09 Jun 2017

Total posts 27

I have to say my heart sinks when I see the parent arriving with a small child to sit 2 rows from me after paying many thousands of dollars for the comfort of Business class. I have the worst experiences on Singapore Airlines where I have not had one flight where a screaming child has not been the centre of all the attention during the flight. This is not from the cabin crew but from all of the passengers in Business class tossing and turning due to the unrelenting noises. The cabin crew seem to think that it is OK that the baby screams and nobody else cares. I know that my comments are going to cause backlash from parents travelling with children but too bad. If you are going to insist on bringing small children into aircraft cabins, please consider those that have paid a premium for their travel and DON'T annoy everyone in 1st or Business. Economy is a nice area where you can all sit together as a family of 3 and stay awake with all of the others that can't sleep for various reasons. Bring on more airlines that ban children in premium cabins!

That's the opposite of my experience with SQ. When on an overnight flight with my kids (then aged 7 and 10) they were giggling (not too loudly, but apparently loudly enough) at the comedy shows on the IFE after the cabin was darkened. After a while a cabin crew member told them to turn it off and be quiet. I had no problems with that as I respect others' right to peace and quiet.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 633

I'd bet that the same FA's wouldn't have dared speak to your kids in that same manner, had your kids been 17 and 20 years of age.

Virgin Australia - Velocity Rewards

16 Oct 2018

Total posts 2

Bit short sighted, Gswift.

I do insist on bringing my children on planes when I travel - I can't leave them at home! I recently flew Singapore business overnight with my 18m old and 4 year old. More annoying where the businessman that snorted for the 7 hours rather than blowing their nose. Retirees that turned their lights on to go to bathroom every 30 minutes we're worse again!

31 Oct 2018

Total posts 4

Now if only there was a way to flag the obnoxious wanna be frequent flyer. You know the ones I'm talking about. They expect the world of the crew, keep their window shade open when everyone else is sleeping, watch their iPad without earphones, have loud conversations with other passengers (even ones they don't know), recline their seats in economy, especially during a meal service, oh, and are always the first ones to roll their eyes when they see a kid seated near them!

Would happily sit next to a kid for 14 hours rather than that self entitled twat.

If you don't want to sit next to my kid in business, you should fly first. And if we happen to be flying first and you still want to avoid my kid, work harder, be more successful in life and fly in a private jet!

05 Mar 2015

Total posts 247

If I don't want to sit next to your kid in business then why shouldn't I have a choice not to sit there, if the airline provides me with that choice via the seatmap? It's no skin off your nose where I sit, you wouldn't even know that I have chosen not to sit near your child.


I would have thought that now we no longer have smoking on aircraft you could load the same way.

Fill 'with children' from the back, and 'without children' from the front.

No one wants to travel with crying babies, or kids constantly kicking your seat, and parents thinking this is OK!

Until my own children could travel without disturbing others, we did not travel by air!

22 May 2011

Total posts 72

Perfectly said nekillim2016!

You can ask an adult to stop doing things that annoy you - you can't ask a baby. We can't ask animals to stop doing things either - so we shouldn't allow that as well (thankfully unlike the US, we don't).

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