By USA TODAY
Passengers who don't want to sit near young children will soon get that option on Malaysian low-cost carrier AirAsia X.
The airline, which functions of the long-haul unit of Kuala Lumpur-based AirAsia, says it will set aside the first seven rows of coach for passengers aged 12 and older. AirAsia X is euphemistically calling the area is "Quiet Zone," saying it will debut in February.
The airline says on its website that it is introducing the seating section because "we know that sometimes all you need is some peace and quiet for a more pleasant journey with us."
AirAsia X's move follows similar efforts by rival Malaysian Airlines, which announced earlier this year that it will create a child-free zone on its Airbus A380s. Prior to that, Malaysia Airlines had already moved to ban infants in the first-class sections of its jumbo jets.
News agency AFP writes "the cost of choosing a seat in the quiet zone will be the same as the (35 Malaysian ringgit or about $11.35) charged for picking specific seats or the (110 ringgit/$35.70) it costs to select a seat with extra legroom."
The Telegraph of London also picks up on the story, writing "the zone incorporates seven rows of seats towards the front of an Airbus A330, behind the airline's Premium FlatBed seats. AirAsia claims passengers will experience 'minimal noise' in the seats and soft lighting."
AirAsia X's Quiet Zone will be separated from the rest of coach, with lavatories, bulkheads and a galley providing a buffer between the "non-quiet" area of economy.
However, would-be customers should be aware of the fine print on AirAsia X's site, which notes the airline "reserves the right to seat a passenger with a guest under 12 at the Quiet Zone during situations deemed necessary for operational, safety or security reasons."
AirAsia X's flights operate mostly within southeast Asia and Australia.
The carrier had served European destinations such as London and Paris, but announced earlier this year that it would drop those routes because of rising jet fuel prices and weakening demand for air travel due. AirAsia X's decision also came amid the European Union's controversial plan to implement a carbon emissions scheme on airlines and as Britain contemplated additional passenger duty taxes.