Japan Airlines JAPSY, -1.45% has a feature in its booking process that signifies where children are seated on its flights. When passengers traveling with a baby who’s less than two years old choose their seats, a child icon will appear on those seats when others go choose their seats.
It’s not clear when Japan Airlines 9201, -1.48% first rolled out this feature; however, it was first broadly observed after Rahat Ahmed, a venture capitalist, tweeted about it. Japan Airlines didn’t immediately return a request for comment.
There are some caveats to the child-icon feature that Japan Airlines noted on its website. Baby icons won’t appear if the person is traveling with children chosen their seats as part of a tour reserving or on another site rather than directly by Japan Airlines. Baby icons also don’t appear for passengers who bought their tickets with frequent flier miles.
Japan Airlines isn’t the first carrier to try to make trips more comfortable for other travelers when babies are on board. In 2016, Indian airline IndiGo rolled out “Quiet Zones,” where children below 12 were not allowed to take a seat. Other airlines have launched related child-free rows of seating for an extra charge.
Business travelers without children aren’t the only ones feeling stressed by airline policies in terms of seating children. An investigation by Consumer Reports discovered that there were more than 100 complaints made to the U.S. Department of Transportation from families who found it tough to ensure that they might all sit together on flights. Some families also complained about being forced to pay additional to assure that parents were seated with their children.
And although the DOT was ordered by Congress to review airline family seating policies, Consumer Reviews found that the agency had not taken steps to institute more family-friendly policies among airlines.