Japan Airlines Launches Tool To Show Where The Babies Are On Your Flight

Published on October 10, 2019

Japan Airlines has blessed us all with the gift we have always wanted: the ability to know ahead of time whether or not a baby will be seated near us on a flight. Passengers that book flights on Japan Airlines may notice a new icon pop up on the seat map when they choose their seats. The baby icon pops up on the seat map when passengers have purchased a seat and indicated that the seat is for a baby or child between the ages of 8 days and 2 years old. The service is meant to help passengers choose seats if they are passionate about not wanting to be seated near a child—particularly on a long haul flight.

“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,” says the Japan Airlines website. “This lets other passengers know a child may be sitting there,” it continues. While the tool may be useful, however, it may not always reflect every single baby or toddler that ends up on the flight. If a passenger books a seat on the flight through a third-party website or travel agent they may not register in the seat map system that they are traveling with a baby, but the concept of the baby icon on the seat map gives passengers the freedom of being able to have a heads up that there may be a baby nearby.

Japan airlines
A seat map displays a baby icon where children have been booked to sit on flights.

Social Media’s Reaction Is Positive

For passengers flying for business, not having a baby nearby could mean the difference between getting rest before an important work event and having to work after sitting next to a screaming baby. As a voice of the baby-less—most people have nothing against babies, we just don’t want to sit by them on long haul flights where things like ear pressure can induce hours of screaming and crying. The airline also disclosed that the seats may not be correctly displayed where a child seat is reserved if the aircraft was changed after the child seat was booked, but it’s the thought that counts. Users on social media have thanked the airline for its decision to include this information in its seat map. Some have even requested that other airlines follow suit to help those child-free people travel without worrying that it will go smoothly.

Passengers on Japan Airlines that do plan to take children on a trip, though, are given a lot of resources to help make the journey a little bit less stressful for everyone. The airline offers amenities like complimentary child seats for children between 8 days and 2 years old, as well as certain seat priority for passengers traveling with more than one child also between that age group. Many airlines, particularly on trans-pacific or transatlantic flights, offer services and amenities like bassinets and special seats for new parents. Now, if an airline could indicate where dogs are on a plane so that we could all fight for the seat next to it, that would also be fantastic.

Julia Sachs is a former Managing Editor at Grit Daily. She covers technology, social media and disinformation. She is based in Utah and before the pandemic she liked to travel.

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