Baby on board: Airline introduces child seat map to allow passengers to avoid sitting next to babies

For passengers hoping to avoid sitting next to a screaming baby on a long flight, or perhaps a parent traveling with a little one and anxious about irritating their fellow seatmates, Japan Airlines has a booking feature that may help solve the problem.

The company introduced "child icons" during the seat selection process on its website, which shows customers the seats where tickets have already been purchased for little ones.

“Passengers traveling with children between 8 days and 2 years old who select their seats on the JAL website will have a child icon displayed on their seats on the seat selection screen,” Japan Airlines states on its website. “This lets other passengers know a child may be sitting there.”


A file image shows a toddler crying in the seat beside his mother as they fly in a passenger jet departing from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. (Photo by Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

The child icon doesn’t always display, including for passengers who book seats as part of a tour or those who purchase tickets on a third-party website, the company warns.

They also note that the icons may not display correctly if there is a change in aircraft.

One user on Twitter thanked the airline for the feature, adding that it should be “mandatory” for all passenger airlines.

“Thank you, @JAL_Official_jp for warnings me about where babies plan to scream and yell during a 13 hour trip,” wrote Rahat Ahmed. “This really ought to be mandatory across the board.”

As another user put it, babies cry — and it can be a stressful process for parents.

“As a father of 5 and having travelled with each one as a baby at one point or another, I try to do everything I can to keep them from crying,” wrote David Walker. “It's hard on parents too. And remember: it's just one day. You'll survive your flight. Chill.”

In addition to the child seat map, Japan Airlines offers other services to make traveling with a young child a bit less taxing.

The company offers a stroller rental service for use at the airport. Parents traveling with infants can receive priority boarding — as well as hot water for baby’s bottle and diaper changing tables on board.

This story was reported from Cincinnati.