For first-class passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines, squalling babies are a thing of the past.
The airline has booted babies from the deluxe cabins of its Boeing 747-400 aircraft because of complaints from jet-setters who don't get enough shut-eye, Australian Business Traveller reports.
The policy will be extended to the airline's six Airbus A380 jets due for arrival in June, 2012. Malaysia Airlines CEO Tengku Azmil defended the ban on Twitter, saying he's heard from too many first-class passengers who "can't sleep due to crying infants."
Like the airline's 747-400s, the A380 jets will make long-haul flights between Kuala Lumpur and Sydney, London and Amsterdam.
Travellers with babies less than 2 years old will be sent to the back of the Airbus, either in business-class cabins equipped with bassinets or economy seats (where sleep-fighting infants get to scream on their parents' laps).
Currently at MalaysiaAirlines.com, a first-class one-way ticket from Kuala Lumpur to London costs about $5,000.
Online reports suggest the baby ban is the first of its kind for air travel. But if airlines start paying heed to their wealthiest customers, child-free flights may take off.
In a poll released earlier this year, about 75 percent of business travellers in the United Kingdom identified children as the most annoying thing about flying first class.
Travel specialists have urged airlines such as Virgin Atlantic and British Airways to offer kid-free flights, the Daily Mail reported in February. Former Virgin Atlantic director Paul Charles nixed the idea, telling the Daily Mail, "Once you did, would you start banning other types of traveller? It would be a mistake."
But so far, Malaysia Airlines shows no signs of regret.
Should babies - or kids - be allowed to fly first class?
Editor's note: $5,000 is the cost of a one-way ticket from Kuala Lumpur to London, not a return ticket. This version has been corrected.