Recent headlines suggest Malaysia Airlines is the first airline to ban babies on flights. In fact, it was a twitter exchange between Malaysia Airlines’ CEO Tengku Azmil and an Australian travel writer that “confirms” Malaysia Airlines will not be installing bassinets in the first class cabins of their 747-400 and upcoming A380 aircraft – alluding to the possibility that infants will not be allowed in first class. Hardly banning babies on flights at all, and actually, not even saying with certainty that all babies will not be allowed in first class.
I may not have a journalism degree, but something tells me confirming a story on Twitter is not the pinnacle of journalistic excellence… but I digress.
Bassinets are sometimes offered by airlines in the bulkhead rows of seats. Typically they are not allowed for infants over a certain weight, and should not be used once baby is old enough to sit unassisted. However, flying with babies is a pain, so if you manage to reserve a bassinet, having that extra space just to hold stuff while you hold the baby is a bit of a luxury.
Bassinets are not offered for ticketed infants. Bassinets are customarily reserved for parents flying with a lap infant only. This is where the whole Malaysia Airlines thing has (possibly) been blown out of proportion. The aircraft mentioned are used for long-haul flights, a full-fare first class return ticket from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is over £5000. If a parent wanted to purchase a full-fare first class return ticket for their infant, to use with an approved-for-flight car seat, I have a hard time believing that Malaysia Airlines would refuse to sell that ticket. I think what Malaysia Airlines is saying, is that lap infants will be discouraged in their first class cabins on long-haul flights, as parents won’t have access to bassinets.
**Hardly as exciting as saying babies are banned from first class**
I’ve emailed Malaysia Airlines for confirmation that infants are, in fact, banned from these first class cabins. I’ve also “tweeted” CEO Tengku Azmil as well. Seeing as such outlets as The Globe And Mail, and the LA Times are willing to accept tweets as credible sources, who am I to argue?
EDITED TO ADD:
So Tengku Azmil tweeted me back this morning: “We do not take infants in 1st Class whether on their own seat or on the lap. We do lose some revenue but many ppl complained”
Malaysia Airlines may want to update their online booking process, as this was not mentioned when I tested booking a flight from London to Kuala Lupur.
Oh well. Wouldn’t handing out noise-cancelling headphones to 1st class passengers than restricting potential revenue?And doesn’t Tengku realize that toddlers are way more annoying than infants? 😉