I'm not alone when I say that child-free travel should be introduced on national/international rail and adult-only sections on planes. There I said it. I’m a mother of two and I don’t like travelling with or near kids – and that usually includes my own.
I’ve always believed this, but having recently taking a city break with VIP – and having had to ‘put up’ with travelling next to kids on both the outbound and inbound journeys – I firmly stand by this statement.
So what happened? Well, doesn't something different happen on every journey that involves kids? And none of it is usually positive.
We left the kids at home and took a city break to Paris, followed by a two-night trip to Bordeaux. There was a reason we left the kids at home; we wanted to experience a peaceful, enjoyable journey (and holiday), without the need to apologise for our offspring every few minutes and ending up more stressed coming back than we were when we left.
My most recent experience
Taking just one example, on the journey with SNCF (from Paris to Bordeaux) – and despite the fact that we were travelling in First Class – there were these two kids in the seats in front of us who, for most part of the journey, enjoyed the novelty of playing with the automatic levers to raise and lower their seats.
Given that it was a three-hour-plus journey – and that every time they lowered their seats it would move my MacBook that I was working on, I found this highly irritating.
Even more annoying was the fact that their parents ignored them – one of them fell asleep and the other one had their nose stuck in a book. These kids were about 4 and 6 years old so they really needed constant supervision with pockets of entertaining thrown in for good measure.
And the icing on the cake? It didn’t occur to VIP to say something to them in French asking them to stop; he’s a French teacher after all. To say I arrived in Bordeaux in a foul mood is an understatement. In fact, the more irritated I became, the more amusing VIP found it. He wasn't my VIP that day, that's for sure.
Kids are too nosey, too noisy, too demanding, talk constantly, play loudly, ask irrelevant questions and are generally bloody annoying.
And yet when I’m faced with these situations I find myself smiling sweetly and saying things ‘ah, how sweet’ and ‘aren’t they cute?’
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a callous, heartless person. Ask any of my friends and they’ll tell you I’m firmly amongst the most caring, friendly and generous people they know.
And I do actually genuinely like babies and small kids. But when I book a child-free break to get away from my own kids, the last thing I want is to have to put up with other people’s.
And this is why I’d welcome the introduction of child-free carriages/public transport sections. And even though I’m known to be a thrifty spender, I’d happily pay more for the privilege.
I'm not alone!
According to a recent survey of 2,196 Brits by Jetcost.co.uk, I’m not alone, with one in seven of us believing that babies and toddlers shouldn’t even be allowed on planes.
In fact, babies and toddlers are the most disliked travel buddies, followed by
passengers that smell, passengers that drink too much, stag/hen groups and large passengers who exceed their seat.
The most popular responses given for disliking travelling with kids were ‘inconsolable crying’, temper tantrums and mischievous behaviour.
Although it’s highly unlikely that babies and toddlers would ever really be banned from travelling by plane, perhaps the concept of ‘adult-only’ sections on public transport would appeal?
Particularly when companies have the opportunity to capitalise on this demand and feature these ‘priority seats’ as an ‘add-on’ service. I’m pretty sure they’d see their profits rise considerably.