For those of us who turn right upon entering a plane, where we end up spending the next few hours of our life can be a source of stress, especially if we’re in for the long haul and sleep is a priority. Numerous factors affect the comfort of a journey, from the shortcomings of the middle seat to malodorous neighbours and those who make themselves a little too comfortable – no, clipping your toenails while in your seat is not acceptable in-flight etiquette – but many travellers are united by their hostility towards one particular type of passenger: young children. Enter Japan Airlines’ (JAL) seat-booking system, which illustrates where passengers aged between eight days and two years old will be situated by placing a smiling baby icon on the seating plan, thus allowing others to avoid them. According to Al Jazeera, All Nippon Airways offers something similar. The service provided by JAL found viral fame on September 24, when frequent flier Rahat Ahmed tweeted: “Thank you, @JAL_Official_jp for warnings [sic] me about where babies plan to scream and yell during a 13 hour trip. This really ought to be mandatory across the board.” The internet responded, as it is wont to do, with righteous indignation, which poured in from both sides of the aisle, prompting Ahmed to follow up with a post promoting empathy and pointing out that adults can be just as bad as babies. Ahmed was accused of being ungenerous to parents of small kids, who not only have to deal with the reality of travelling with infants but must also withstand the withering looks of fellow fliers, although many who responded understood where he was coming from. “I think when people travel a lot, they have quite a few things they look into,” he told The New York Times , suggesting that how close a passenger was to the front or back of the aircraft and whether they were in an aisle or window seat were equally important factors in determining how pleasant a plane ride would be. Thank you, @JAL_Official_jp for warnings me about where babies plan to scream and yell during a 13 hour trip. This really ought to be mandatory across the board. Please take note, @qatarairways : I had 3 screaming babies next to me on my JFK-DOH flight two weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/kQYQFIqqCD — Rahat Ahmed (@dequinix) September 24, 2019 For those travelling on an airline that does not inform you how old or how prone to tantrums your row-mates might be, there are some rules of thumb to follow when selecting a seat. Bulkhead seats are often allocated to those flying with babies and are best bypassed if uninterrupted sleep is in order. Noise-cancelling headphones should do the trick, too, and don’t forget to pack an eye mask and neck pillow. If turbulence is a concern, select seats over the wings or towards the front of the aircraft – the wobbling feels worse at the back. And, perhaps most importantly, a little compassion goes a long way, especially in cattle class. Besides, as Ahmed pointed out, sometimes the infants are the least of your concerns. He updated his followers with news of his JAL flight, tweeting on September 27: “Safely in New York. Amazing service as usual by @JAL_Official_jp. Ironically chose to sat [sic] next to several babies on my two flights: Some great, some loud. It happens. Some adults were worse.” The mind boggles … Tourists in Thailand might soon be required to provide a relevant licence to rent a motorbike Thailand ’s roads are among the most dangerous in the world. The Southeast Asian nation has the ninth-highest rate of road fatalities per capita, according to a 2018 report by the World Health Organisation. When it comes to per-capita deaths attributed specifically to the motorcycle, it takes the top spot. However, knowing the dangers does not stop tourists from taking their lives into their hands and renting a scooter to see the sights, regardless of whether they have a licence to drive one or not – all that is usually needed to hire a two-wheeled vehicle is a passport and enough money to pay for it. Technically, to drive legally in Thailand you’ll need a general International Driving Permit, but few scooter-rental shops will ask to see it. The police might, though, and if you don’t have one you’ll be expected to pay a fine. However, change is afoot. On September 25, English language news website the Thai Examiner reported that “all tourists visiting the kingdom must provide a valid motorbike licence before hiring a motorbike […] The new requirement may be in place for the start of the high tourist season in the next 30 days or so”. The proposal, which was put forward by transport minister Saksayam Chidchob, was due to be discussed with the “relevant agencies” on October 1 and is one of a number of initiatives suggested to curb road deaths involving motorbikes. Saudi Arabia relaxes dress codes as it opens to non-religious tourism Saudi Arabia , a repressive kingdom known for oil riches and strict social codes, has opened up to non-religious tourists for the first time, with an electronic visa programme for 49 countries and territories, including Hong Kong, mainland China, the United States, Canada and Britain. The initiative is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to steer the country’s economy away from a dependence on oil. Speaking to Bloomberg, Ahmed Al-Khateeb, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, said the country hopes to become one of the top five destinations in the world. To help it achieve that goal, authorities have relaxed the dress code for foreign women, who are not required to wear the abaya worn by Saudi females, although “modest dress” is necessary, including at beaches. The consumption of alcohol remains banned. Whether these moves are enough to entice arrivals in their millions to a nation better known for the murder of dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi than its five Unesco World Heritage Sites seems unlikely.