The flight my husband and I took from Haneda in April were filled with four or five families with kids (infants or teenagers), which was usually a bad sign. Here is a list of the pet peeves we had on this flight journey:
1. Have you checked which seat you are going to occupy properly? : We reserved isle seats for both of us (my husband to be seated in the seat in front of me in the row C, and myself behind him). When we arrived at the seats, my husband noticed that his seat was already occupied by someone else who was seated with his families and had to tell this guy that he was occupying my husband’s seat in error. This ‘family guy ‘moved to the window seat and my husband was seated in the designated isle seat. Some people just assume where they are sitting. But there are always some people who reserve certain seats for reasons.
2. Mind your kids and their behaviour: Looking at three seats in D,E,G on the same number row across the isle from my seat C were occupied by a woman with two infants. They were the main cause of the nightmare on the entire journey. Two daughters, who were assumingly 1 and 3 years old ,were either bawling or screaming constantly. The noise got worse with seat tray banging and lamp flickering by the kids and their mother had no intention of controlling their behaviour. They also trashed around their food debris and litters constantly on the floor. Did anyone see the amount of rubbish they produced for the entire flight journey? At one point, I saw the woman changing one of the kids’ nappies on the seat. Another time, she was checking the content of the nappy by pulling down the pants of the daughter’s, while food was being served.
3. Be considerate to other fellow passengers: my husband’s sleep was constantly disturbed by a family of five who were seated next to him occupying over two rows of seats, who often kept walking back and forth to get snacks situated at the breakout area. The father figure of the family tried to cross over my husband’s legs while he was asleep. Unfortunately he wasn’t slim enough to squeeze himself out of the narrow space left and knocking off the a bottle of water left in the seat pocket situated at my husband’s seat, hence waking him up with a loud din.
4. Opt out of ‘Codeshare’ flight: It seems that the flight we took from HND to LHR was a codeshare flight with BA, though we originally purchased the option with JAL only. So in a way we ended up paying more than these BA passengers would have paid. I personally have never had good experience with codeshare flight with BA and this flight has proved it once again.
5. The speed of serving airline food: Is it necessary that the passengers simply get fed with airline food in a hurried manner with less than 20 minutes? When we get served with a main meal, a pot of ice cream gets served at the same time. Why ? For someone who has delicate digestive system, consuming ice cream straight after the main meal does cause an issue. But I do like ice cream, and can only indulge myself in this when I do have good appetite. Mostly I don’t especially prior to the flight, so I tend to skip it nowadays. But I really would like JAL to stop feeding passengers like a herd of cattle.
6. The level of service during the pandemic and post pandemic: I was fortunate enough to fly back to Japan once with JAL during the pandemic outbreak (before the lockdown and more tight restriction on the overseas travelling) and on that flight there were just about 10 passengers on board. We in the economy class were treated almost like VIPs and Cabin attendants were so attentive and even thanked each passenger for choosing JAL to travel. On this codeshare flight back to the LHR, I felt being part of ‘cattle’ class, having to put up with noise, smells and litters on the entire flight journey.
I am sure there are many reasons or occasions why kids have to accompany their parents on the flight journeys. But when they do, I urge the parents to take care of their kids so as not to cause any nuisance or disturbances to other passengers. I also feel that airlines should manage better seat allocation befitting each flight situation. For instance, families with (small) kids should be seated in ‘family friendly’ allocated seat location, and other passengers can choose seats away from them if they wish.