Airline launches child-free zones

In-flight serviceDo you feel a sense of dread when you notice that your seat on the plane is next to a family with young children?

Crying infants and screaming toddlers can make flying exhausting - and not just for their parents.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

But now, passengers flying with Scoot Airlines, the budget arm of Singapore Airlines, can pay S$18 (£9) to be upgraded to a 41-seat "ScootinSilence" cabin that is guaranteed to be free of children under the age of 12.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the child-free zone, which stretches for several rows, also offers four inches more legroom than passengers can expect in economy class.

Scoot Airlines is not the only company to offer customers the chance to pay more to avoid children on their flights, though.

In February, Malaysian airline Air Asia X also launched "quiet zones" with "special ambient lighting" and a "more relaxing atmosphere" on selected flights.

And last year, Malaysian Airlines banned infants from first-class cabins on its Airbus A380 "superjumbo" aircrafts and Boeing 747s, saying that it had received complaints of noise from crying babies in first class.

Those first class fliers are not the only ones to prefer child-free flights, however. A 2012 survey by review website Tripadvisor found that more than third of Britons would be prepared to pay more to avoid sharing their air space with other people's children.

And while some parents will undoubtedly be angry to hear that other passengers would prefer them and their kids to be moved to a different area of the plane, others have welcomed moves to separate families with young children from other travellers.

As mum Cathy Winston to the BBC: "I know from before I had my daughter what it's like when you're trying to get some sleep and there's a baby crying. If I knew that all the people around me had chosen to sit there, it would take some of the stress off."

Singapore-based Scoot Airlines runs daily services to Sydney and five flights a week to the Gold Coast.

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Airline launches child-free zones

If you are a victim of a strike, or any other event beyond the airline's control (including ash clouds!), they must offer you a refund (in which case it's up to you to find a way home) or an alternative flight. While you are waiting for the flight you have the right to food and refreshment and accommodation.

If you are on a package holiday, your tour operator is entirely responsible for looking after you until you get back to the UK.

This is more likely to happen due to the financial crisis, but in some situations you are covered. 

If you pay by credit card and it's over £100, you'll get a refund from the card company. 

Your travel insurance may well cover you too, but check before you go.  

Talk to the airline, and if it is temporarily misplaced they should arrange for it to be sent to your accommodation, and you should be either given cash to cover the essentials in the interim.

If it's completely lost you must wait 21 days and then make a claim for compensation. If you are travelling as part of a package you can claim costs from your operator.

If you are travelling within the EU you need an EHIC card, which gives you access to public healthcare. However, this won't necessarily be free, and if you need extra services such as accommodation for a carer, a helicopter home or a delayed flight, you could end up seriously out of pocket.

The only protection that will guarantee you will be looked after without running up a horrendous debt is by having travel insurance - which often covers up to £10 million of costs.

The most common form of theft is pick-pocketing, followed by theft from a car and bag snatching. Meanwhile, 752,000 of those surveyed had items stolen from their hotel room or villa.

If you have anything stolen, your only protection is insurance. You need to tell the local police immediately and get a crime reference for your travel insurer.

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