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IndiGo's Child-Free Zones Are Yet Another Form Of Discrimination

11/10/2016 9:36 AM IST | Updated 12/10/2016 8:41 PM IST
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Todd Burandt

If you are flying IndiGo airlines with children under 12 years of age and you would like the extra-legroom seats right up front—well, forget about it. Those seats are now out of bounds for you. The low-cost carrier has termed seats in rows 1-4 and 11-14 as "quiet zones" and passengers travelling with young children, or unaccompanied minors, cannot pre-book these premium seats by paying extra.

Forget discrimination based on gender, race or colour, we have now got increasingly intolerant to God's very own—babies and children.

This is the first time that an Indian carrier has introduced the concept of quiet zones.

While IndiGo airlines defends itself by saying that this is a "globally accepted practice" adopted by a handful of airlines to save their premium flyers from crying children, it makes you wonder, as a mother, what is happening to the world? Forget discrimination based on gender, race or colour, we have now got increasingly intolerant to God's very own—babies and children.

If learning to live together in the same space for a few hours (airspace, in this case) is becoming increasingly difficult, I mean seriously, how are we going to make the world a better place for our children's children if our children are being discriminated against to begin with? That too, for a seat that anyone in their right mind should willingly give to a passenger carrying an infant. Why? Well, you know how uncomfortable you are sitting in that cramped seat yourself. Try sitting there with a crying infant. With an infant seat belt attached to your seatbelt.

IndiGo has always made its biases felt, particularly in the mother-child category. Sure, last I checked, the airline did have a reasonably good on-time departure rate. But somewhere in the middle of focussing on statistics and perfection, they are losing their human touch.

I last took a flight with IndiGo a couple of months ago and even then I was left baffled. I was travelling with an infant (a very small infant) and a toddler. Airlines usually prioritize check-in for anyone travelling with an infant. But the airline officials instead pushed me to join what seemed like a kilometre-long check-in line (if you know Mumbai airport and the IndiGo airlines check-in line, you'll understand what I mean) because they said I was not priority passenger.

The reason? I had my husband with me. Who really cares if there's an infant in this picture or not, right? So we lugged our three hand bags (anyone travelling with kids understands why you need three hand bags on a flight to anywhere), two check-in bags, one cranky infant and an energetic toddler. But hey, I had my husband with me so life's great. Thank you, IndiGo.

The airline staff just threw their hands in the air and said that they were following orders from the head office.

IndiGo has always made its biases felt, particularly in the mother-child category.

Perhaps this is one of the drawbacks of living in a country that has way too many people. There is no value of life and too much pressure on limited resources. Including a check-in line.

IndiGo airline's latest move hasn't just irked the parents out there. Leg space, armrests and seat cushioning are shrinking at an alarming pace across all airlines leaving a majority of passengers uncomfortable. It's, after all, profitability at any cost, right?

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