Airline will tell passengers if they'll be sitting near a baby

An icon on the seat map indicates children who are between 8 days and 2 years old.
Crying boy
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By Kerry Breen

Flyers looking for peace and quiet may want to consider booking on Japan Airlines.

The airline, which offers flights from major cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and Boston, has a new feature that alerts travelers to where a baby may be sitting on a flight, a tool that some frequent flyers are happy to see.

Rahat Ahmed was one of the first to share his discovery of the tool.

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"Thank you, @JAL_Official_Jp for warnings me about where babies plan to scream and yell during a 13 hour trip," he wrote on Twitter. "This really ought to be mandatory across the board."

According to Japan Airlines, an icon will appear on the seat map to identify children who are between 8 days and 2 years old. In some cases, the icon may not appear, such as if seats were selected through a third-party site or if tickets were booked "as part of a tour or using award tickets." The airline also noted that if there is a change in aircraft, the child icons may not display correctly.

While many agreed with Ahmed's tweet, some saw the seat map as unnecessary.

"They are babies as we all once were," wrote one Twitter user. "We need to learn tolerance or will soon start needing a map of seat locations for mouth breathers, droolers, farters, drunks, and perhaps a lot more things in life. What ever happened to life's surprises?"

"At its core, my comment was about UI/UX," Ahmed told TODAY Parents. "Having access to more information when I'm booking flights is extremely helpful, especially since I travel quite a bit. I just did some math and noticed I've been in an airline for nearly 200 hours in the past 6 months, so planning my flights becomes a higher priority than if I took a flight every now and then."

Another said that after having his own children, he was more sympathetic to parents who are traveling with children.

"I'm at the age where all my friends are having children," Ahmed added. "They're wonderful, and I love interacting with them! Unfortunately, on long-haul flights, when you're next to strangers halfway around the world, you don't want to overstep your bounds — but I'm always happy to help if I can."

Japan Airlines has not returned a request for comment.

The seat map is just one feature that the airline offers that is intended to make traveling easier on parents, young children and other passengers. Parents with young children are given priority boarding, and hot water is available on most flights so parents can fix baby bottles. Picture books and soft blankets are available for children to use during a flight.

Parents can borrow a child seat, free of charge, for onboard use so long as they contact the airline at least three days in advance, or bring their own seats so long as they meet the airline's regulations. Child seats can also be checked as baggage, free of charge, with no reservation required. In the airport, parents can borrow a stroller while waiting for the flights to depart for no additional charge.