Family Matters

No Kids Allowed: Malaysia Airlines Corrals Children Under 12 into Special Zone

Do airlines really need kid-free zones?

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Last month, TIME’s Newsfeed shared the launch of the dreamily named Nanny in the Clouds, which pairs up travel-weary parents flying with kids with babysitters who just happened to have booked the same flight.

About to embark on a six-hour flight with my three kids, I logged on, punched in my flight number and received the bad news that no nannies had signed up for my flight. Guess it’ll be just my husband and me, playing Pictureka/Wikki Stix/Go Fish/stickers interspersed with iPod reruns of Sid the Science Kid.

It’s a shame I’m not headed anywhere Malaysia Airlines flies, because it’s about to debut what could be a veritable kiddie party zone: families en route with children under 12 will have their very own family-friendly economy-seat section on the main deck of the airline’s brand-new A380s. It’s unclear what exactly will make the section so family-friendly — a playground, perhaps? Nonstop showings of Despicable Me? Mac and cheese for dinner? — because the airline has not yet responded to my email query.

Of course, it’s possible that all this talk about cozying up to families is really just code for let’s-cram-all-the-screaming-babies-and-their-well-behaved-older-sibs-into-one-section-so-kid-haters-can-fly-in-peace. One might suspect this is the case since Malaysia Airlines — the same airline that last year banned babies from first class — is also designating a kid-free economy upper deck aboard the same routes, starting July 1, between Kuala Lumpur and London.

At least they’re not proposing what Canadian airline WestJet suggested as an April Fool’s prank. According to CNN:

On April 1, the airline launched a video advertising a new service dubbed “Kargo Kids” in which parents check their kids in with their luggage. The parents enjoy the flight, the kids are sent down to their own special club in the cargo hold.

Not a bad idea, really.