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There’s a New Option for Avoiding Babies on a Flight

Baby on board.

No one feels excited about squeezing down an airplane aisle and finding that their assigned row has a baby in it. Even adorable tykes have a reputation of turning up the pipes when their ears pop, they get bored, or they’re just being babies and that’s what they do. But, babies gotta fly, so what are noise-sensitive passengers to do?

Japan Airlines (JAL) has a new solution: an airplane seat map that tells you if and where babies are seated on your flight.

Here’s How It Works

Adult passengers who are traveling with children up to the age of 2 years will show up on all JAL seating maps with the adorable baby icon below:

JAL Screenshot
JAL screenshot

Adult passengers who aren’t traveling with babies and would rather not sit next to one can choose a seat as far away from the baby icons as they can get. And, the reaction of most JAL fliers has been, “thank goodness.” One JAL passenger spoke for many fliers when he Tweeted “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.”

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But, before you leave to joyfully book your next trip on JAL, you should know that not everyone will have access to a seat map with all of the babies pointed out. The baby map only works on bookings made through the JAL website, not third-party booking sites. And, even if you do book a seat using the baby map, your seating arrangement could change if there’s an aircraft change on your itinerary.

What to Do If You’re Not Flying JAL?

While a baby map is a neat idea (we could also get into emotional support animal maps for allergy sufferers or lady who thinks it’s OK to put her bare feet on the armrest in front of her maps for people who don’t know how to behave on a plane), for 99.9% of flights, your environment is out of your control. Babies are going to cry, and they might even sit next to you while they’re doing it. And, as many a Pinterest quote has pointed out, “You can’t control other people. You can only control your reactions to them.” So, we have a quick guide to dealing with most of the hiccups that a flight can throw your way.

We could also get into emotional support animal maps for allergy sufferers or lady who thinks it’s OK to put her bare feet on the armrest in front of her maps for people who know how to behave on a plane.

Cover Your Ears

Planes are very noisy places, and airplane-issued earbuds aren’t always enough to drown out engine noises, crying babies or other airplane sounds. So, if you’re a frequent flier or one that’s getting ready to embark on, say, a 13-hour trip where a crying baby could really ruin the journey, consider investing in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones.

Take a Chill Pill

You’d be amazed at what a stiff drink, a few CBD gummies (legal only on domestic flights), or a mild anti-anxiety pill can do for your ability to deal with the stresses of flying. If just the thought of flying next to a fussy baby is enough to deter you from a flight, a little relaxation intervention might be just what you need.

And to Parents: Take Preemptive Measures

It would be great if everyone in the world were compassionate and understood that babies cry, and that baby is probably making baby’s mom uncomfortable too. Until then, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends preemptive measures for parents like getting baby their own set of earphones to drown out loud plane noises that may upset them and keep them from sleeping, a pacifier to suck on to help relieve any pressure in their ears, or simply walking them up and down the aisles to relieve boredom.

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