I'm glad to see more marketers responding to the righteous indignation of folks like me who despise the offspring of others for ruining an otherwise great meal, trip or experience.
I speak, of course, of brash, bratty and ill-mannered kids; the kind who will race up and down a restaurant or airplane; the kind who will scream and cry at the top of their lungs because daddy refuses to take them out of their high chairs; the kind who throw their stuffed animals at each other and repeatedly pummel the back of your plane seat for, say, three hours in a row.
Recognizing that repeat customers such as I are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore, Ryanair has launched child-free flights. Malaysia Air announced it would institute a baby ban in first class (Sigh. It makes me want to book a flight to Kuala Lumpur just to enjoy the solitude). And, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are also reportedly considering no kids policies.
And, it's not just airlines that dislike other people's kids as much as I. The Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City has been kid free since '03. And, Celebrity Cruises has declared sections of their cities on the sea strictly off-limits to anyone under 16. As Larry David would say, "It's a good thing! It's a good thing!"
There's a reason marketers are finally waking up to the havoc caused by poor parenting and their run-away freight train-like offspring. There are more and more empty nesters every day. What's more, 20 percent of American women NEVER bear children (that's a 50 percent increase since 1970). And, the cost of raising a kid now averages $230k. That's simply too much for many cash-strapped couples in this never-ending recession of ours.
There's even a website solely devoted to helping people like me find kid-free destinations. It's called LeaveThemBehind.com. I love it! Another site called NoChildrenByChoice says more and more brands are getting past their fear of alienating America's long-standing love affair with baseball, apple pie and kids and, instead, promoting child-free vacations.
No matter what your fear or phobia, it helps to know you're not alone. And, baby (pun intended), I'm not alone by a long shot when it comes to disliking someone else's snot-nosed child ruining my experience.
I may even reconsider my future retirement plans (which had called for hanging onto my New Jersey home for weekends and buying a pied-a-terre in the Apple). It turns out there's a city in Scotland that has a village rule preventing households from having even one child! Dogs, however, are welcomed. It's called Firhall. I'd call it Nirvana.
Negative AnnmB. No sympathy for you. Next!
Thanks Jepotts. I agree it’s a larger societal issue and that bad kids merely reflect poor parenting.
Amen, Julie. My all-time worst experience occurred a few years back when I was flying home in coach. The woman next to me unlatched her tray table, yanked out some diapers and proceeded to change her soiled baby right next to me. The word atrocious doesn’t do it justice.
As a person who is childless by choice, I have to say that my compassion has run out for harried parents with uncontrollable children.
The majority of promotions and services in our society caters to families and couples, so it’s nice to see the other side of the story finally represented.
I have two small children, 5 and 3, who are well-behaved in restaurants and did wonderfully when we flew — economy class — to Florida last year. But unlike some parents, I do not have a sense of entitlement that my children should be able to go everywhere, and that there should be no child-free zones. I think it is a backlash against this mentality as well as the growing number of childless people that is leading to more child bans. Recently a restaurant near Pittsburgh garnered headlines worldwide for banning children under six. Before I could take offense, I remembered a night my wife and I went out to dinner, before we had children, and were surrounded by so many ill-mannered children that we asked to be moved to the smoking section (this was several years ago) simply because there were no kids there.
Like yours, my kids are older now, so I revel in the luxury of traveling without worrying about towing all kinds of paraphernalia and praying for sleep-filled flights. I, too, like my restaurants and plane rides to be fussy toddler-free, but I do have some compassion for the parents of a normally well-behaved child who just has a meltdown. They’re exhausted and stressed from trying to keep their child from bothering others while they fly to vacation or have a meal out with the grandparents. I, on the other hand, get to go home to my toy- and diaper-free home. Can you find a little sympathy (and patience) at least in some cases, RepMan?