Malaysia Airlines (MAS) announced it will not accept infants in first class cabins on its future Airbus A380s, stirring up mixed reactions of surprise and relief.

In an official statement, the carrier attributed the move to the cabins’ configuration that was not equipped to accommodate bassinets.

“In 2003, Malaysia Airlines embarked on a revamp of first and business class cabins of the B747s. The seat configuration was reduced from 18 to 12. As a result of the seat revamp and the introduction of the ottoman, there was no facility for positioning bassinets in the first class cabin,” stated the release. MAS has placed an initial order of six A380s, the first of which is expected to be in service by 2012 (see story here). These will feature a first class layout similar to the current B747.

Infants will be able to ride all other aircraft types, including the B737s, A330s, B777s and B747s, which all sport a two-class configuration.

The announcement was first made by MAS chief executive Tengku Azmil on Twitter, who observed that the airline received “many complaints from first class passengers who spend money on first class and can’t sleep due to crying infants.” He also added that flights to North America are not configured with first class cabins so passengers with babies will not be affected.

Some of his Twitter followers have expressed support. One said: “No kids in F is a good move. They wouldn’t know how to appreciate it anyway. Stuff them in cargo I say.” Others have shown dismay, with a mother saying: “Why can’t I have my child with me?”

Noisy infants in premium cabins have been the subject of heated debate. Business Traveller readers have consistently complained about infants onboard in the forum, going as far as describing their experience with babies or toddlers onboard as “traumatic.”

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Alisha Haridasani

To contribute to the debate and read what people think about babies on planes, see

Frequent Traveller: Baby Blues