The next time you’re picking out your transatlantic flight tickets, you might want to think about purchasing through Japan Airlines.
The commercial airliner is changing up its seat-selection process with a nifty new feature in its seating map; an icon of a smiling baby. The reason being that it will allow other flyers who are praying for a peaceful flight to have a little more control over that outcome by selecting a seat that isn’t near a small child with a potential for temper tantrums.
That’s not to say that such customers don’t throw temper tantrums of their own. Often times a flight attendant has had to stand through a belligerent lecture on what an inconvenience it is to have to sit near a screaming child. As if the flight attendant had some control over the matter.
While before, who you wound up sitting next to on a plane ride came down to luck of the draw, this small innovation to JAL’s seat mapping chart will change all that.
One of the first people to post about the new feature, Rahat Ahmed, gave a shout-out of praise to JAL for their progressive thinking when it comes to their customers.
“Thank you, @JAL_Official_Jp for warnings me about where babies plan to scream and yell during a 13 hour trip. This really ought to be mandatory across the board,” his Twitter post reads.
Thank you, @JAL_Official_jp for warnings me about where babies plan to scream and yell during a 13 hour trip. This really ought to be mandatory across the board.
— Rahat Ahmed (@dequinix) September 24, 2019
While the airline company is going out of its way to ensure that their customers have options, they do note that there are some instances in which the icon might not always be accurate. For example, if tickets are booked for a tour package, through a 3rd party site, or if flight schedules were changed, then the icon may or may not appear accurately on the seating chart.
Also, the child icon only appears for children from 8 days to 2 years old, meaning that you still may end up next to a toddler or small child.
Though thousands of people were as thrilled as Rahat at the advancement in seating options, there were more than a few who felt very differently about the matter.
One commenter noted that, in its own way, the tool is discriminatory and in order to be fair, we would need many more icons for other people that are less than pleasing to be stuck with on a flight.
They are babies as we all once were. We need to learn tolerance or will soon start needing a map of seat locations for mouth breathers, droolers, farters, drunks, and perhaps a lot more things in life. What ever happened to life’s surprises 😉?
— GS (@gsundar) September 26, 2019
While there are many people on both sides of the fence about whether or not this is a positive step in the right direction, in reality, the tool is intended to be helpful for those frequent flyers who spend untold hours in the air with strangers. According to Rahat, that is exactly what the tool will do for him.
“Having access to more information when I’m booking flights is extremely helpful, especially since I travel quite a bit. I just did some math and noticed I’ve been in an airline for nearly 200 hours in the past 6 months, so planning my flights becomes a higher priority than if I took a flight every now and then,” he explains in an interview with TODAY Parents.
Before any parent-flyers out there get angry at the airline for their new seat mapping tool, they should know that JAL also goes above and beyond to make flying as convenient as possible for them, too.
They offer a whole host of services to make life a little easier when traveling with a baby or kids. They offer priority boarding for those traveling with young kids, they keep picture-books and cozy blankets available for kids on the plane, and in-flight hot water to prepare baby bottles.
They even offer free child safety seats for your flight if you reserve it 3 days ahead of time. You can also bring your own if you prefer, as long as it’s up to the airline’s regulations, or check the seat as baggage if you want, completely free. If your kid is too tired to walk or you’re too tired to carry them, the airline will provide a stroller while you wait for departure as a courtesy.
With everything they are doing to appease parents, we think it’s safe to say that it doesn’t hurt to do something for their non-parent customers, as well.
To learn more, watch the video below.
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