Malaysia Airlines is extending its controversial 'baby ban' to the upper deck economy section of its new Airbus A380, and also prohibiting children under 12 for good measure: see our full report
UPDATE | Stung by a worldwide wave of criticism over its ban on infants travelling in first class cabins, Malaysia Airlines has issued a media statement defending its decision
However, whereas MAS managing director and CEO Tengku Azmil has previously cited complaints from passengers who "spend money on 1st class and can't sleep due to crying infants" as justification for the 'baby ban' – which applies to its Boeing 747-400s and forthcoming Airbus A380s – MAS takes a different tack in explaining why the pointy end is a baby-free zone.
"Bassinet facilities were originally available in the First, Business and Economy class zones of the 747’s" the airline says in a statement issued late this afternoon. "In 2003, Malaysia Airlines embarked on a revamp of First and Business class cabin of the B747s. The First class seat configuration was reduced from 18 to 12 for passengers to enjoy increased cabin space and extended legroom."
"Each new seat came with an electrically operated ottoman that doubles as a visitor seat and could convert to a lie-flat bed with the main seat. As a result of this seat revamp and the introduction of the ottoman, there was no facility for positioning bassinets in the First Class of the B747s."
The airline is at pains to point out that the business and economy cabins of its 747-400s, like the rest of its current fleet, "are equipped with bassinet facilities to cater for infant travel."
PREVIOUS | Malaysia Airlines will extend its controversial 'baby ban' to the airline's new flagship Airbus A380.
MAS managing director and CEO Tengku Azmil confirmed the plan, telling Australian Business Traveller in a Twitter exchange that "we r (sic) planning to stick to our policy for now".
When asked to clarify if this meant the "no babies in first class policy – so no bassinets in 1st on MAS A380?" Azmil replied "Yup!".
Earlier this month the refreshingly outspoken Azmil used Twitter to defend MAS' decision not to install bassinets in the first class cabin of its Boeing 747-400 fleet, as a result of which parents with infants are not permitted to travel in first class and have to book in the bassinet-equipped business or economy sections instead.
Azmil said that the airline has received many complaints about crying infants from first class passengers that they "spend money on 1st class and can't sleep due to crying infants", following this with the admission that it was possible for MAS to fit bassinets to the pointy end of its 747-400s "but many ppl complain abt it."
These 747-400s fly between Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, as well as KL-London and KL-Amsterdam, with the Airbus A380s due to take over those routes next year.
Sydney and Melbourne are on the shortlist for the MAS Airbus A380 once the first flights from KL to London and Amsterdam are bedded down and MAS builds up what will eventually be a six-strong superjumbo fleet.
Do you agree with Azmil? Should babies be banned from the pointy end of the plane and relegated to economy, or premium economy at best, so that travellers paying a premium for their tickets can be guaranteed a more peaceful flight for working or sleeping?
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About David Flynn
David Flynn is the editor of Australian Business Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.