Should Parents Fly First Class, Leave Kids In Economy?

Should Parents Fly First Class, Leave Kids In Economy?

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I recently wrote about whether it’s okay to fly in first class, and leave your spouse in economy. I shared my take, and I’ve read the responses of OMAAT readers with great interest.

In this post I wanted to address a topic that’s in the same general sphere, but different — is it okay to fly in first class and leave your kids in economy? I think this is a bit more nuanced, and there’s also not a correct answer.

I’ll share my take, and then I’m curious to hear what OMAAT readers think. Let me say upfront that while I’d always want to travel with my kid (since I’d like to spend time with him, regardless of where we’re seated), I don’t judge those who feel differently.

When you shouldn’t fly in a separate cabin from your kids

If you are going to travel in first or business class and leave your children in economy, the most important thing is that they’re old enough to take care of themselves. You have to be realistic here — that doesn’t just mean that they’re potty trained and can follow instructions. If your child is going to bug their (stranger) seat mate for the entire flight, then they’re probably not old enough to fly alone.

For example, on a flight some time ago, I saw a fairly young kid (maybe eight years old) in economy, while her parents were in first class. While she was old enough to sit alone, it was kind of awkward, as she talked to and played with her adult seat mate for most of the flight. While the adult was a good sport, I can’t imagine that’s how they hoped to spend their flight.

There’s no consistent reasonable age cutoff for that, in my opinion, as it very much depends on the kid. I’d generally think that a kid in their teens or older can be pretty self sufficient, while younger than that it’s more iffy.

Make sure your kid is old enough to entertain themselves

I don’t think it’s wrong to fly in a separate cabin from your kids

Assuming your kids are old enough to take care of themselves, I don’t think there are any ethical issues to leaving your kids in economy, while you fly in first or business class. That ultimately comes down to a parenting choice, and I think the logic is fine.

There are potentially a few ways that people seem to justify this, all of which are valid enough:

  • “I worked hard, so I deserve to sit here”
  • “You should be happy you’re coming along at all, and if you work hard some day, you can buy this for yourself too” (or get good at the miles & points game)
  • “I don’t want my kids to get spoiled, so I don’t want them flying in first or business class”

While I don’t think I need to explain this, I think there’s an important distinction between this, and flying in a premium cabin while leaving your spouse in economy. A relationship should be a partnership of equals, regardless of who is paying for or “earned” a particular privilege. It’s a little different when you have kids.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t treat them well, but I think there are certain things that people would splurge on for themselves, but not for their kids. For example, I don’t think your 16-year-old would expect that because you drive a certain car, they’re entitled to have you buy the same car for them.

I get why some parents leave their kids in economy

As a new parent, this is something I’m thinking about

I’m a fairly new parent, and have a one-year-old. So while I still have some time to figure this out, suffice it to say that I’m already thinking about the best way to handle this in the future.

Personally I value spending time with my son whenever I can, and I could never see myself flying in a different cabin than him. If I couldn’t get him into a premium cabin for whatever reason, then I’d rather just sit with him in economy.

What I’m trying to figure out, though, is the best way to find balance over time. Thanks to miles & points, I’m able to travel in premium cabins a vast majority of the time:

  • Of course I’d love to travel with him in premium cabins on long haul flights when he’s older, as I’m sure he’d love it
  • At the same time, I don’t want him to expect that’s how he’ll always be able to travel, or take that for granted; as they say, a luxury once sampled becomes a necessity

So I’m curious how other parents navigate that over time. All the time I see adorable, well behaved little kids in premium cabins, who don’t necessarily seem jaded.

My initial instinct is that the trick is to just mix things up over time, so that flying in a premium cabin is never an expectation. Maybe I’ll do more of a split between economy and business class, and heck, maybe this is the push I needed to review more premium economy products eventually, since it seems like a good middle ground.

Maybe premium economy is the new happy middle ground?

Bottom line

It’s not uncommon to see parents flying in first and business class, and then seating their kids in economy. Assuming the kids are old enough to take care of themselves, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s a perfectly valid perspective.

Personally I think I’d always want to fly with my kid, and I’ll probably find myself in economy a lot more as a result. That’s both a function of cost, and also because I don’t want him to become totally accustomed to premium cabins, and expect that this is always how he’ll fly.

Where do you stand on the topic of splitting parents & kids between cabins?

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  1. zack Guest

    i'd sit with my kid, whether in economy or first class. in dangerous and unlikely scenarios i would like to be with them.

  2. Victoria Guest

    We fly around the world regularly with our 4 kids. We do 2 long haul flights of 23 hours per year and then we do probably around 20 short to mid range flights in total. When they were infants and pre teens they flew with us in business. Now that they are teenagers, they fly economy and we fly business on the same flight. They don't need to sleep and when they do, they sleep...

    We fly around the world regularly with our 4 kids. We do 2 long haul flights of 23 hours per year and then we do probably around 20 short to mid range flights in total. When they were infants and pre teens they flew with us in business. Now that they are teenagers, they fly economy and we fly business on the same flight. They don't need to sleep and when they do, they sleep comfortably in their seat, they never eat the food and they don't like alcohol, so premium wine is wasted on them. All they want to do is watch movies. When they are old enough to buy their own business class seat- they can fly business. Once they turn a certain age they can fly unaccompanied anyway- so what's the difference! My kids will not drive the same car as me when they are old enough to drive, so why would I waste £20,000 on 4 business class tickets- they are lucky enough to be going away on holiday!!

  3. ck Guest

    I completely agree with your take on the issue. Regardless of what some posters seem to think, kids are NOT equals, and should not be treated as such. That is how you raise spoiled, entitled brats.

    When kids are young then you should fly together, but when the kids are older they can sit by themselves. Most teens I know would probably prefer that anyway.

  4. AmyL Guest

    I totally understand your sentiment.
    TBH, with two boys (2,5) I rather fly economy and have the whole row to ourselves . It is actually more comfortable and I am not worried about my kids disturbing other passengers premium flight experience.

    Also, we enjoy teaching our kids how to act around other strangers and practice how to be polite.

    Have fun your 1 yr old ! Get them a window seat and you can see the stars in their eyes! It’s great!

  5. FlyerDon Guest

    Would you eat at a nice restaurant and leave your kids at the MacDonald’s next door?

    1. Happilytorn Guest

      When I go to a nice restaurant, I usually leave my kids at home.

  6. Morgan Diamond

    Good article Ben I like and agree with your take.

  7. Stephen M Guest

    I’ve given my (teenage) kids the choice - sit in economy and I’ll split the savings with them, or fly at the front with my wife and me. Teaches them the value of money and avoids them taking offense. They pretty much always take the money.

    1. Morgan Diamond

      Really like this idea.

    2. Kevin Guest

      Sounds like a bribe to the kids to downgrade

  8. Pam Guest

    My parents flew first class, and my brother and me flew economy. We were old enough not to bother our flight mates. Now i do the same. The lesson we were told was study hard, get a good job and you will be able to enjoy the rewards of your hard work too

  9. JQ Guest

    If the kids are young and they’re in Y then they should be considered unaccompanied minors.

  10. Hans Guest

    I tagged along with my dad on business trips a lot when I was little, and I did not mind sitting in economy while he sat in business. That was just the price I paid to come along. I got to see a lot of interesting places. If you're old enough not to be a bother, sitting in economy is no big deal. The people on here acting like it's abuse are insane.

  11. iflyfar Guest

    We contemplated this 5 years ago on a OGG-SEA segment. We had two kids ages 13-15 at the time. Hawaiian shut us down immediately.

  12. kg Guest

    I do not think parents should sit in a better cabin. Travel is a family thing. It is not fair. I agree totally with Michael.

  13. Max Guest

    My father and I are always traveling in the same class. Fortunately for me, all long hall flights have been in Business and sometimes even in First.
    Does it maybe spoil me ? Maybe yes.
    On the other side, I see and feel it more like an encouragement. I want to be able to afford it later, so I know how luxury feels and I’m willing to work for it.

  14. TheDutchPerson New Member

    I'd also add to that that since kids are smaller, they benefit less from what I consider perhaps the greatest advantage of short-haul first class: the more spacious seat.

  15. D3kingg Guest

    The parents should let the children have their first class seats and sit in economy. It builds character and self confidence for the children.

    Always fly first class with your children too if you can afford it.

  16. Tomment Member

    Ultimately it comes down to how much money you have and how much do you value your family as a whole over your own comfort. While it may seem logical in a economical sense to put yourself in the premium cabin, it sends the wrong message to the kids. It basically says you value your own comfort above your own child. That’s why I would rather sit in the economy with them if I couldn’t...

    Ultimately it comes down to how much money you have and how much do you value your family as a whole over your own comfort. While it may seem logical in a economical sense to put yourself in the premium cabin, it sends the wrong message to the kids. It basically says you value your own comfort above your own child. That’s why I would rather sit in the economy with them if I couldn’t afford to get all of us in first/business. There are far better ways to teach financial responsibility than abandoning them for your own comfort. In this case “teaching kids a lesson” is nothing more than an excuse to make yourself feel better when you put your own indulgence ahead of your relationship with kids.

  17. karim j Guest

    My parents did this and a whole lot of other neglectful behaviour and now we don't talk anymore.

    A fair compromise would be that if you are two parents and a child with one biz and two economy seats, one parent could take turns with the child in economy. That's a nice way to enjoy nice things without neglecting the child. It is all about execution, I guess.

    When I see parents take...

    My parents did this and a whole lot of other neglectful behaviour and now we don't talk anymore.

    A fair compromise would be that if you are two parents and a child with one biz and two economy seats, one parent could take turns with the child in economy. That's a nice way to enjoy nice things without neglecting the child. It is all about execution, I guess.

    When I see parents take their kids in biz I find it a bit sad as I feel that does spoil them a bit. You know many of these kids will never understand what it means to earn the money to enjoy that lifestyle.

  18. Gaurav Community Ambassador

    Ben, what is traveling with a child doing to your travel productivity? I've been impressed over the years on how focused you are and maximizing your time. I imagine it's a little different when Miles is with you.

    1. D3Kingg Guest

      In this day and age a child is likely glued to a screen so I imagine the parent is still able to be productive while keeping a peripheral eye on their child inflight.

  19. Chris Guest

    I always travel in the same cabin as my kids, they're my responsibility and more than that, travelling is fun for them so I want to enjoy their enjoyment.

    I work hard not just so that 'I' can have nice things but so that 'we' can have nice things, my 7 year old has significantly better manners than many premium cabin passengers I've witnessed and when he grows up, he will have the choice of...

    I always travel in the same cabin as my kids, they're my responsibility and more than that, travelling is fun for them so I want to enjoy their enjoyment.

    I work hard not just so that 'I' can have nice things but so that 'we' can have nice things, my 7 year old has significantly better manners than many premium cabin passengers I've witnessed and when he grows up, he will have the choice of Ryanair or Qatar on his own dime.

    Interestingly a colleague of mine used to offer his teenagers the difference in fare in cash, he would buy them a businessc lass ticket to fly with him or buy them an economy and they could have the difference as spending money, I'll certainly consider this approach in the future!

  20. George Romey Guest

    Never. You're kids are your responsibility. Not the coach flight attendants. Not the other coach passengers. I'm really tired of people dragging their little monsters into the Admirals Club while the kids around wild and the parents sop up the freeze eats and booze ignoring them. How about this? Want to still jet around the world don't have kids.

    1. Leigh Diamond

      If a child is running around the AC, then he/she is automatically too you to even consider flying alone in Y, and doesn't fit the profile of an older/more mature young traveler. That said, I agree he/she is the parents responsibility and they family unit should always stick together.

  21. Tocsin Member

    One issue with younger children is the increase in 'suites' - where two seats together are NOT! BA flyer experience here... the old Club middle seats were good for families of up to two young children cosy in the centre, parents on the outside with easy access and line of sight.

    The new Club Suites are not child/parent friendly - the, at first sight, logical booking of two middle suite seats would involve a trip...

    One issue with younger children is the increase in 'suites' - where two seats together are NOT! BA flyer experience here... the old Club middle seats were good for families of up to two young children cosy in the centre, parents on the outside with easy access and line of sight.

    The new Club Suites are not child/parent friendly - the, at first sight, logical booking of two middle suite seats would involve a trip all the way around the block to get to a child in need of care.

    In this case premium econ (World Traveller Plus on BA) would be much better.

  22. Kendall Guest

    Leave the kids in economy assuming they won't be a pest to other passengers

    It's not a matter of age, but culture and maturity. The average 8 year old American kid vs Eastern European kid for example will be vastly different

    1. Michelle Guest

      The kids might actually behave better in first class since they can sleep and it’s more comfortable and there is more/better food/better service. Just like it’s a lot harder for an adult to sit through a long haul flight in economy and keep themselves from unravelling, it’s probably the same for a child. If you put your kid through more of an ordeal the more likely the to unravel, if you minimize the ordeal probably they will be better behaved.

  23. iamhere Guest

    Interesting that you are thinking about this when these programs will face huge devaluations by then. Further, some airlines have another class between premium economy and business, besides economy, premium economy and business - first.

  24. Olivia Guest

    I recently flew international with my 19yo son. First note: I routinely leave my two teens in economy when I'm in business or first. They're seasoned travelers who have flown alone and can manage without supervision. It was my son's first trip in business class. He knew that the upgrade was a special special treat. A gift for being so patient about many cancelled trips during COVID-19. He knows in the future the key to...

    I recently flew international with my 19yo son. First note: I routinely leave my two teens in economy when I'm in business or first. They're seasoned travelers who have flown alone and can manage without supervision. It was my son's first trip in business class. He knew that the upgrade was a special special treat. A gift for being so patient about many cancelled trips during COVID-19. He knows in the future the key to the pointy end was hard work. It was an absolute thrill for me to share this experience with him. He never would have appreciated it when he was younger. When my kids were younger I would fly in economy with them on vacations, but always kept my business seat when flying solo.

    1. Alara Guest

      I agree with your thoughts as I saw many people doing this during my trip flight

  25. Bryan Guest

    My parents did this and it was fine. Clearly your kids have to be old enough to know how to behave themselves and not bother others, which we were.

  26. Bruce Member

    If you're going to travel with your kids, travel in the same class as them. If there are no first class seats available, or you don't want to spoil your kids, set a good example and travel with them in economy. Simple as. The sooner you treat children as equals with respect the sooner they mature and the sooner they develop very important self esteem. My parents only flew in business or first when they...

    If you're going to travel with your kids, travel in the same class as them. If there are no first class seats available, or you don't want to spoil your kids, set a good example and travel with them in economy. Simple as. The sooner you treat children as equals with respect the sooner they mature and the sooner they develop very important self esteem. My parents only flew in business or first when they went on business trips by themselves. Travelling together was always in economy. When they had the opportunity, very rarely we would travel altogether in business.

  27. Roger Guest

    If resources or upgrades are limited, it makes sense to put a grandparent or spouse or both in business than kids. For long-haul flights, the kids don't need the space in business nearly as much as (some adults). It's a treat for me to get to travel with my kids and I don't mind being in economy or premium economy with them. That way I can keep an eye on them also. And by the...

    If resources or upgrades are limited, it makes sense to put a grandparent or spouse or both in business than kids. For long-haul flights, the kids don't need the space in business nearly as much as (some adults). It's a treat for me to get to travel with my kids and I don't mind being in economy or premium economy with them. That way I can keep an eye on them also. And by the way, you're assuming that is they're by themselves there will be a friendly stranger nearby, when I'm more concerned it will be a creep.

  28. Majek Guest

    Usually travel business class due to work whilst kids tag along on vacation. I need to be rested when I land. Seating in economy with them results in poor performance when I arrive. They also prefer the autonomy and I simply get in the way barking instructions.

  29. Alec-14 Gold

    Cutest thing about this is that you assume in ~15 years (let alone 5) mileage programs won’t have become so devalued that there will any meaningful way to buy multiple first/business seats on multiple occasions with miles without massive spend amounts

  30. LarryNYC Guest

    So much vitriol on this thread and yet no one has bothered to point out the one thing that makes this entire discussion moot - who has had any consistent amount of success in finding 3x or 4x J award seats together? Without airlines consistently releasing "family sized" availability (god bless you if you have 3 or 4 kids and need 5-6x J open at the same time), this is all a futile debate.

    ...

    So much vitriol on this thread and yet no one has bothered to point out the one thing that makes this entire discussion moot - who has had any consistent amount of success in finding 3x or 4x J award seats together? Without airlines consistently releasing "family sized" availability (god bless you if you have 3 or 4 kids and need 5-6x J open at the same time), this is all a futile debate.

    Separately, if you're the kind that pays for J, you're probably on the wrong site.

  31. AD Diamond

    @Ben, in 15 years tell me if you *always* want to spend time with your kids.

    By the time mine were teenagers, I was happy to be with the younger one the vast majority of the time. The older one, I would have put in the far reaches of the economy cabin most of the time if I could have. As an aside, he's also the one who wanted to come home from college...

    @Ben, in 15 years tell me if you *always* want to spend time with your kids.

    By the time mine were teenagers, I was happy to be with the younger one the vast majority of the time. The older one, I would have put in the far reaches of the economy cabin most of the time if I could have. As an aside, he's also the one who wanted to come home from college for Thanksgiving as a freshman at the last minute. He was homesick but would never admit it. It was last minute and first cost very little more than coach, so I put him in first. He got home and informed me that he wasn't impressed by it. That was the last first class ticket I bought him.

    On the other hand, his younger brother flew with me in first any number of times (he's six years younger, so there were more opportunities) and was always appreciative of the experience. To this day (they're over 30 now), on the rare occasions I pay, I'll put him and his wife in first class if it is reasonable.

    All kids are different. I love both of mine but didn't enjoy the company of the older one for the better part of a decade when he had a lot of growing up to do. I hope you got one who is always great to be around... but he might not be.

  32. TheBestBlackBrent Diamond

    Dear diary...

    Another post milking the tiring 'I am a new parent' thing, it is getting stale.

    1. TheBestBlackBrent Diamond

      A white knight has appeared...

    2. Leigh Diamond

      You exude bitterness and should probably stop reading this blog. If you hadn't noticed all the comments, it's a clear sign that it's very much an interesting subject for the bulk of readers. Clueless.

  33. Eddie Guest

    For me, I think it's fine to fly in different classes. I have 3 children and it cost a bomb for everyone to be in business. The common ground is premium economy, and if that's not available, see ya later kids!

  34. Foxlore New Member

    I always sit with my kids and will continue to do so until they are adults. I’ll pass on low cost carriers because I want to pick my seats with them. They are great travelers, but with all of the nutty flip-outs that seem to happen on planes these days, I just wouldn’t want to take a chance. Even if I had the points or were offered an upgrade to business or first, I’d pass and stay with them in economy.

  35. Stanley Morris Guest

    I was amused at the part where the eight year old is chatting with the old passenger, and Ben imagines that this was not the way the adult imagined the trip. Personally, if I had to fly economy I would welcome the distraction.

    1. XPL Diamond

      When I read that I thought small world, exactly that happened to me. I was a good sport about it because I knew it wasn't the child's fault, and I knew it was the child who suffered far more from his irresponsible parents than I did. But yes they were irresponsible and no I did not appreciate it.

  36. Bibi Guest

    Have an 7 and 8 year old so far we all travel together mostly business. Just recently went around the world with them and I always let them know when they are 12-13 they will be flying economy. While mom and dad who are older and get jet lagged will be flying business there is nothing wrong with that.

  37. gstork Guest

    Wow, looks like a lot of buttons are being pushed for other fliers.

    I fly up front nearly all the time. While my daughter was growing up, she was always with us in the pointy end of the plane.

    When she was old enough, she was able to take short trips to see relatives in an adjacent state as an unaccompanied minor (in economy), and seemed to enjoy the independence, and it gave her...

    Wow, looks like a lot of buttons are being pushed for other fliers.

    I fly up front nearly all the time. While my daughter was growing up, she was always with us in the pointy end of the plane.

    When she was old enough, she was able to take short trips to see relatives in an adjacent state as an unaccompanied minor (in economy), and seemed to enjoy the independence, and it gave her a sense of confidence.

    As a teen, on shorter flights within CA or to a neighboring state, we would put her in premium econ in the row behind us, and she enjoyed being trusted to manage herself and behave like a responsible young person. Never had a problem, and it seemed like a win-win.

    Would I put her in economy alone on a long-haul flight while we were up front, or on a different deck. No, I wouldn't. I like her to be able to sleep as well as can be expected from a flatbed seat, the same as we enjoy.

  38. Tom Guest

    If we only find two business class seats on a flight, then one parent gets to sit in business with our son and looks after him for the entire flight. The other one sits in the other cabin and gets some time off.

    Also not sure why some people don't like bringing little kids into business. If they are little shits then they are technically bothering less people than if they were in economy. If...

    If we only find two business class seats on a flight, then one parent gets to sit in business with our son and looks after him for the entire flight. The other one sits in the other cabin and gets some time off.

    Also not sure why some people don't like bringing little kids into business. If they are little shits then they are technically bothering less people than if they were in economy. If somebody makes a comment then they should be flying private rather using commercial, which is basically public transport of the air.

  39. Jerry Y Guest

    We always asked our kids if they wanted to sit in first class or the cost difference between first and economy. They never sat up front. Always took the money.

  40. Ktc Guest

    To the title question - absolutely.

    Grand parents > parents > kids

    Kids are to learn and earn .

  41. Joey Diamond

    I still remember watching HOME ALONE when all the adults flew in business class and all the kids/cousins in economy. I think that's fine especially in a big group.

    1. Pj Gran Guest

      And what will happen if there's an emergency, say an evacuation? I can't imagine going back to economy looking for my kid during the chaos. I don't think that's even possible due to the circumstances.

      Or worst, as you are required to exit the plane as soon as possible, you get down the slides, leaving your kid behind, and then wait in vain at the ground, thinking how she will manage to get out.

  42. Trixie Guest

    Heck no! Unless they're adult children, then I'd feel guilty but I'd live with it.

  43. Carl Guest

    We are mostly flying premium, business and first and will always take our children and nanny with us in the same cabin. She feels really grateful and never thought having the opportunity. Next one is going to be qsuites with qatar.
    For those not wanting kids spoiling their experience. Just fly private or book all seats yourself. Or start an adult only airline.

  44. Poop Guest

    If you leave your kid in coach while you sit in first class I'm going to give them cigarettes, alcohol, tell them how great Marijuana and psychedelic drugs are, tell them santa isn't real, etc.

    Just because you made a mistake doesn't mean we should have to suffer.

  45. Ole Guest

    Kids didn’t ask to be born. It was parents decision. That doesn’t mean, one should spoil their kids and make them into an entitled spoilt brat, but parents and kids must always fly in same cabin. “I deserve it as I work hard” is a Bs argument. Your kid is too young be working job that pays him enough to fly first class.

  46. Julia Guest

    One issue not mentioned is size. My husband is tall and I'm wide so the seat width and pitch matter more to us than our teens. We've been considering a split like this for our next family vacation. When they were kids it was easier to take some of their "extra" room and we all sat in coach, but now that they are the size of small adults that's no longer as comfortable for anyone.

  47. Brad Templeton Guest

    I buy business because I'm big, and the coach seat is very uncomfortable. It's a price one pays. If people are small there's just not the same need for the larger seat. A 12 year old isn't going to really get the value of a $6000 business class seat compared to a $900 coach one, and unless the parents have money to truly burn (they clearly aren't poor) it seems foolish to spend it.

    Here's...

    I buy business because I'm big, and the coach seat is very uncomfortable. It's a price one pays. If people are small there's just not the same need for the larger seat. A 12 year old isn't going to really get the value of a $6000 business class seat compared to a $900 coach one, and unless the parents have money to truly burn (they clearly aren't poor) it seems foolish to spend it.

    Here's a solution some enterprising startup (or the airlines) could offer. Let coach passengers volunteer for nanny duty in exchange for getting their seat cheap or even free. Have some agency vet them. If there is a volunteer registered, the parents can pay a fee to subsidize that seat, but they save a fortune compared to buying the front of the plane for the kids. This can work even with small kids. Ideally you have a few registered spare nannies who get a minor subsidy if they are not assigned a kid, as that covers when the nanny flakes out or misses the flight. I could easily imagine many signing up for half price tickets if they will watch some kids. Probably more than enough.

    The other option of course is for the parents to get one biz class seat, and one in coach with the kids, and take turns. The airline may not allow that, but the airlines should change their mind on that, maybe charge an extra fee so they can both get the meal.

    Once the kids are old enough, no reason they can't fly alone at the back. Today they can even text their parents in the front on most airlines. (A few airlines even support texting via the seatback but that may have gone out of style.)

  48. SSS Guest

    @Ben, what is it you want to say about your upcoming trip to Germany with your parents?

  49. BradStPete Diamond

    Couple of thoughts...my first flight alone was when I was 10. Nonstop from Las Vegas (home) to San Diego. At 13 I was making connections on my own..and the world was different in 1973. I was a kid more than pleased to be on his own.

    Thought 2... Not everyone uses miles to travel, I know this is shocking to some readers. People do actually pay for travel. I made travel arrangements for very wealthy...

    Couple of thoughts...my first flight alone was when I was 10. Nonstop from Las Vegas (home) to San Diego. At 13 I was making connections on my own..and the world was different in 1973. I was a kid more than pleased to be on his own.

    Thought 2... Not everyone uses miles to travel, I know this is shocking to some readers. People do actually pay for travel. I made travel arrangements for very wealthy families who routinely put the teens in main cabin and mom and dad in First or Business. Kids didnt give a fig about traveling in First. Mom & Dad enjoyed and everyone was quite happy.

  50. Dander Guest

    Parents need to stay in coach with the kids unless the kids are teens and can behave

    1. Roger Guest

      If resources or upgrades are limited, it makes sense to put a grandparent or spouse or both in business than kids. For long-haul flights, the kids don't need the space in business nearly as much as (some adults). It's a treat for me to get to travel with my kids and I don't mind being in economy or premium economy with them. That way I can keep an eye on them also. And by the...

      If resources or upgrades are limited, it makes sense to put a grandparent or spouse or both in business than kids. For long-haul flights, the kids don't need the space in business nearly as much as (some adults). It's a treat for me to get to travel with my kids and I don't mind being in economy or premium economy with them. That way I can keep an eye on them also. And by the way, you're assuming that is they're by themselves there will be a friendly stranger nearby, when I'm more concerned it will be a creep.

  51. Dustin Guest

    We have four kids aged 10-16. Would not hesitate to sit them in economy while my wife and I sit in business. We would seat the kids together so they can keep each other company and watch over one another. Half of them are small enough that economy is no big deal in terms of legroom and all of them barely appreciate the advantages that business class offers anyway so it is frankly a waste of money to put them in in the premium cabin.

  52. Steven M Jacoby Guest

    Easiest solution is to keep the kid in a separate location - home! I'd rather have a drunk on the plane (particularly in Business Class) than a child.

  53. Tony Guest

    I haven't flown long haul in economy for decades, except when I flew with my kid when he was too small and might be disruptive in a premium cabin. Once he was no longer disruptive, we always flew together in the same cabin.

    1. Antonio Guest

      Id certainly do if i had a blog to promote boredom, but if im not wrong 'One Mile at a Time brings you breaking travel news, reviews and strategies to maximize elite travel status. Earn more miles, points and rewards with today’s top credit card offers.'
      on my side i congratulate you for being so easy to be amused and interested, unluckily i have certain objectives when accesing information.

    2. henare Diamond

      I don't understand why this is made to be so complicated. Parents and their children should travel so they don't burden other passengers.

      It really is that simple.

      I read what @Brad Templeton wrote and whileI am sure it comes from a reasonable. and thoughtful place, is just bonkers wrt complexity.

  54. Susan Guest

    Parents should fly in the same cabin as their kids it is unreasonable to expect an unfamiliar seat mate to look after your kids. Not to mention the horror stories of a pedophile seating next to a child who managed to inappropriately touch them. I was in economy on a 5 hour flight where this couple boarded with a toddler and an infant less than 1 years old the mom was visibly pregnant the parents...

    Parents should fly in the same cabin as their kids it is unreasonable to expect an unfamiliar seat mate to look after your kids. Not to mention the horror stories of a pedophile seating next to a child who managed to inappropriately touch them. I was in economy on a 5 hour flight where this couple boarded with a toddler and an infant less than 1 years old the mom was visibly pregnant the parents sat together on 2 seats across the aisle from their kids not to mention what if we had an emergency the baby started screaming and kicking and I looked back and the mom and the dad were cuddled up asleep . Point is with little kids parents should sit in the same seat row with their kids. I love kids but be reasonable

  55. jetset Diamond

    Worse example I've seen is a family and their nanny traveling together. Keeps appeared to be ~11-15 years old.

    Parents in First class
    Kids in Economy Plus (by themselves)
    Nanny in the last row of regular economy

    Absolutely appalling. The kids were (unsurprisingly) horribly behaved. Blasting games and movies on their iPad speakers full volume despite having headphones, constantly moving around, etc. Neighboring adults and FA's tried to control them to no avail....

    Worse example I've seen is a family and their nanny traveling together. Keeps appeared to be ~11-15 years old.

    Parents in First class
    Kids in Economy Plus (by themselves)
    Nanny in the last row of regular economy

    Absolutely appalling. The kids were (unsurprisingly) horribly behaved. Blasting games and movies on their iPad speakers full volume despite having headphones, constantly moving around, etc. Neighboring adults and FA's tried to control them to no avail. One woman finally had enough and switched with the nanny.
    You're going to pay for First class but not pay a few extra dollars to put your nanny in economy plus?? Insanity. And they weren't upgraded because I did check the list.

  56. John Guest

    I think a one year old is too young to sit alone in economy. Wait until 2 or 3.

  57. Kim Guest

    No. Sit with your children and take care of them. Be a responsable parents!!

  58. Jhonn2 Guest

    As someone who flies business 90% of the time, allow me to provide my 2 cents.

    a) If you have a kid younger than 5, do us a favor and have a seat in economy. We pay a lot of miles/money in the hopes of a nice business class experience, not screaming kids.

    b) If you are flying with a teen, buy him/her a seat in economy. As a self-made person myself who grew up...

    As someone who flies business 90% of the time, allow me to provide my 2 cents.

    a) If you have a kid younger than 5, do us a favor and have a seat in economy. We pay a lot of miles/money in the hopes of a nice business class experience, not screaming kids.

    b) If you are flying with a teen, buy him/her a seat in economy. As a self-made person myself who grew up in a rather poor household, I find it very spoiling whenever I see teens in business class. As an old saying goes, "Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

    So yes, I'd only consider OK for kids between 6 and 12 in business class, anyone older/younger than that should be in economy.

    1. Brian Guest

      Sometimes i wish i could downgrade (with refund of course) to economy when there is a screaming kid in business. Ear plugs only go so far. Noise cancelling headsets are sometimes uncomfortable to sleep with.

    2. Santastico Diamond

      This goes back to my comment below. Every family is different. My kids know how hard we work and they appreciate everything they get from us. There is no entitlement or spoiling them. When it makes financial sense, they fly business but they know how to fly coach and also appreciate the opportunity to travel. I think it is matter of having them aware of the situation. Also, having them fly business makes them want...

      This goes back to my comment below. Every family is different. My kids know how hard we work and they appreciate everything they get from us. There is no entitlement or spoiling them. When it makes financial sense, they fly business but they know how to fly coach and also appreciate the opportunity to travel. I think it is matter of having them aware of the situation. Also, having them fly business makes them want to work hard to be able to do that for themselves and their family later in life.

    3. John Guest

      I have a 4 year old and a 2 year old. No chance I'm sitting in economy. I pay a lot of money/miles to sit up front as well. Much more comfortable for my family to sit there and not economy.

    4. tda1986 Diamond

      How is ditching your kid in economy while you fly up front "teaching him to fish"? Seems to me it teaches that dad prioritizes his comfort over being with his child/the child's comfort. Or perhaps that earning lots of money means you deserve better than others who do not?

      As a self-made person myself, I prefer to give my daughter the types of opportunities I missed out on as a child while teaching her to...

      How is ditching your kid in economy while you fly up front "teaching him to fish"? Seems to me it teaches that dad prioritizes his comfort over being with his child/the child's comfort. Or perhaps that earning lots of money means you deserve better than others who do not?

      As a self-made person myself, I prefer to give my daughter the types of opportunities I missed out on as a child while teaching her to be both appreciative and understanding of the fact that others don't have the same opportunities.

    5. SSS Guest

      The only thing worse than a kid in business is a self entitled twat who thinks that he / she deserves a “nice” business class experience. If you don’t want to fly with other people then fly private.

      That said, it is entirely on the parents to ensure their kids are well behaved. A cry or a grizzle is completely fine from a toddler. But if you’re going to let you kid cry out for more than a minute, you need to deal with that.

  59. NFSF Diamond

    Will be interesting to see what happens your son is older and you have to travel during certain times. Makes finding awards much, much harder.

  60. Antonio Guest

    Next boring article can be: Should married fly 1st class leaving husband with doggy and baby at home? Hope 'nanny' is on duty

    1. Santos Guest

      Looking forward to your next boring comment on it!

    2. Antonio Guest

      Id certainly do if i had a blog to promote boredom, but if im not wrong 'One Mile at a Time brings you breaking travel news, reviews and strategies to maximize elite travel status. Earn more miles, points and rewards with today’s top credit card offers.'
      on my side i congratulate you for being so easy to be amused and interested, unluckily i have certain objectives when accesing information.

  61. Santastico Diamond

    Did not write on yesterday's post because each family is different so I am not to judge how each one does it. I follow the same strategy for the kids as I outline below. Note: I have a family of 4 and my kids are mid to late teens so they can be by themselves and have travelled alone many times.

    Domestic: everyone flies coach. If I am upgraded due to status, it usually goes...

    Did not write on yesterday's post because each family is different so I am not to judge how each one does it. I follow the same strategy for the kids as I outline below. Note: I have a family of 4 and my kids are mid to late teens so they can be by themselves and have travelled alone many times.

    Domestic: everyone flies coach. If I am upgraded due to status, it usually goes to my wife although she could not care less for the better seat so sometimes it goes to my kids.

    International: it goes in this order:
    1) If it makes financial sense, all 4 in business
    2) If it does not make financial sense for 4 paid business class tickets:
    - Me and my wife in business, kids in coach
    - If it makes sense for only 1 paid business, I buy a business under my name so I can get the miles to keep status and wife takes the seat., As said before, she does not care for anything offered in business class so sometimes 1 kid takes that seat on the outbound flight and other kid takes on the inbound.

    If anyone goes in business, nobody from coach visits the business class during flight. Whomever is in business can visit the other in coach.

  62. Geo@YQB Guest

    Have this happening with us in one week. Wife and I are both Aeroplan 25k members (chase cc) and are able to upgrade ourselves and 1 guest each. We have 3 kids. Upgraded ourselves and 2 youngest 10,13 to business class on widebody lieflat transcon flight. Oldest, 16, is currently seated in Premium Econ directly behind our row (bulkhead separation). Pricing in Business was way over priced for his ticket, so premium econ was the...

    Have this happening with us in one week. Wife and I are both Aeroplan 25k members (chase cc) and are able to upgrade ourselves and 1 guest each. We have 3 kids. Upgraded ourselves and 2 youngest 10,13 to business class on widebody lieflat transcon flight. Oldest, 16, is currently seated in Premium Econ directly behind our row (bulkhead separation). Pricing in Business was way over priced for his ticket, so premium econ was the compromise. Will try to upgrade him at airport, day of, but otherwise he is fine with Premium econ. Was able to upgrade the 4 of us for return, and found 1 business ticket that was reasonably priced for him, so all 5 in business.

  63. dfw88 Guest

    If you really want to let your kids experience premium cabins without spoiling them then you should take up the non-rev lifestyle. One day your kid will be flying business class on a 16-hour flight from India to the US and the next day he/she will be waiting around some tiny airport in Podunk-ville, USA for 12 hours until you can squeeze into the last row of economy for a flight the rest of the...

    If you really want to let your kids experience premium cabins without spoiling them then you should take up the non-rev lifestyle. One day your kid will be flying business class on a 16-hour flight from India to the US and the next day he/she will be waiting around some tiny airport in Podunk-ville, USA for 12 hours until you can squeeze into the last row of economy for a flight the rest of the way home. It lets them experience premium cabins without ever taking them for granted!

  64. Reyyan Diamond

    If you leave your kids behind in economy, they also have the right to leave you in a nursing home… and don’t get all sad when that happens :)

    1. Antonio Guest

      Ha ha... Well, It depends on the heritage, if high enough we can hire a Hot gardener for oldie daddies... Lets be good

    2. Steve C Guest

      Ring the Bell for best comment. If anything I would head to economy with my kid and make the best of it.

  65. Mo Guest

    To even ask the question... shows the sad state of society. Selfishness first and above one's kids to boot. Absurd

  66. tda1986 Diamond

    Nothing about safety concerns? In my view, if you are not certain that your child could manage himself/herself in the event of an emergency, then you need to be in close proximity to your child. Also, if you're not certain that you would not attempt to reach your child in the event of an emergency, then you need to be in close proximity to your child. I think that by the time a child meets...

    Nothing about safety concerns? In my view, if you are not certain that your child could manage himself/herself in the event of an emergency, then you need to be in close proximity to your child. Also, if you're not certain that you would not attempt to reach your child in the event of an emergency, then you need to be in close proximity to your child. I think that by the time a child meets these conditions, all other potential concerns will have already been addressed.

  67. Sean M. Diamond

    This is a huge issue on Emirates, particularly on the A380 where parents seem to think its ok to use the bar area as a playground for their demon spawn otherwise consigned to Economy class with the nanny.

    Worse still when the parents are in First and the kids in Economy, so the kids and nanny get to traipse through the entire Business Class cabin every time they want to visit.

    1. Icarus Guest

      They shouldn’t be permitted to visit higher cabin. Only vice versa eg first visiting economy. If Air France only has 4 seats it makes sense of the family of 4 can book them all.
      Children can also be much better behaved than adults.

  68. Mike Guest

    Nothing like paying top dollar for first class only to have a screaming kid sitting right behind you for 8+ hours

    1. tda1986 Diamond

      Fly private. If you fly commercial, you're stuck with whoever ends up flying next to you. Could be a screaming child, a crypto bro who won't shut up, a Karen who mixed her wine with her meds...

    2. Johnnn2 Guest

      Spot on comment! Kids younger than 5 should not be allowed in business class cabins.

    3. jetset Diamond

      I've been on a flight with a baby in Business who slept perfectly the entire flight, while a middle-aged drunk man next to mean was SHRIEKING laughing at some dumb movie. No noise cancelling headphone could compete with his noise level. The FA's had to ask him to keep his voice down for the baby (and every other passenger in the cabin)...

  69. Khatl Diamond

    Most airlines allow it once the kids are of a certain age. I see no issue letting a teenager fly in a separate cabin. And if there's multiple brothers/sisters, they like/often want the separation. But letting kids, say, 11 or younger fly alone without anyone else older seems unfair/unkind to me. The one exception is if they are with the airlines unaccompanied child program

    1. Icarus Guest

      Under 15 and many airlines consider them as unaccompanied minors

  70. Jakob Eriksson Guest

    I have 3 kids, and the 5 of us travel almost exclusively up front on long international flights, thanks to my miles earning hobby. As a result, my kids always look forward to long flights. The longer, the better, really. Treating the kids to flat bed seats means the world is our oyster, and we all have a great time getting to our next destination. That's worth a little extra mile earning effort.

    Sure,...

    I have 3 kids, and the 5 of us travel almost exclusively up front on long international flights, thanks to my miles earning hobby. As a result, my kids always look forward to long flights. The longer, the better, really. Treating the kids to flat bed seats means the world is our oyster, and we all have a great time getting to our next destination. That's worth a little extra mile earning effort.

    Sure, they're spoiled. But so am I. If the time comes that I can no longer fly business/first on long flights, I expect I'll be doing a great deal less long-distance flying!

    1. Jakob Eriksson Guest

      That said, I could stretch to parents in first, kids in business. ;-)

    2. Kai Guest

      You are telling me you can find 5 award Tix in the same flight in business? Unless you are paying 200k each way I don't believe you. Stupid to pay that much

    3. Jakob Eriksson Guest

      Kai: my youngest is 3 so I've not had to deal with finding 5 business seats for the full 7 years. That said, I've prevailed, at reasonable rates. We just returned from our 14th international business cabin award flight (one ways) with all 5 together. Typically under 100k per person. Sometimes quite a bit below.

    4. Drumstick Guest

      I do 5-6 TATL seats in J at least twice a year on points. Just need to know what you’re doing.

    5. farnorthtrader Guest

      They are definitely out there. Last summer, flew 8 of us (me, my wife, 4 children, wife's parents) Edmonton (Canada) to Italy and home from Morocco, all in business, all for 1,080,800 aeroplan miles, 135,100 miles each. Full retail on the flights would have been about $90,000 USD.
      Over the last 10 years, we have been to 20 countries with either 6 or 8 of us, always flying long flights in business class and...

      They are definitely out there. Last summer, flew 8 of us (me, my wife, 4 children, wife's parents) Edmonton (Canada) to Italy and home from Morocco, all in business, all for 1,080,800 aeroplan miles, 135,100 miles each. Full retail on the flights would have been about $90,000 USD.
      Over the last 10 years, we have been to 20 countries with either 6 or 8 of us, always flying long flights in business class and have never paid more than 75,000 miles per one way ticket transpacific or transatlantic.

  71. Hobbs Guest

    Kid lives rent free. Kid sits in economy.

    1. tda1986 Diamond

      "Kids live rent free?" If you feel the need to whine about providing the basic necessities of life for children, just don't have them.

  72. Never In Doubt Guest

    Economy?

    Leave the brats at home with some saltines and bottled water.

    They’ll be fine.

    1. ConsAreTraitors Guest

      Bottled water, Mr. Money Bags? What, is tap water not good enough for kids nowadays?

    2. Never In Doubt Guest

      You don't think I give them the run of the house while I'm gone?

      They're locked in the closet.

  73. A350-fan Member

    I mean, we all saw what happened when Kevin McCallister's mom and dad did this very thing.

  74. Burt Guest

    Aren't they required to sit in the same cabin? It would be interesting to know at what age they are allowed to sit by themselves and how it differs by airline. I recently fly Luthansa first across the atlantic with a 7 and 4 year old! Only my 2nd time flying first. It was awesome! I think when they are teenagers and no longer like me, that is when they will sit in the back!

    1. Burt Guest

      Luthansa gives out some really cool amenity bags for the kids. I'm not sure if it is the same bags as in business class, but it was really cool! Airplane toothbrushes!

  75. Jon H Guest

    Recent LH first from IAD-FRA, another Miami based couples had their 2 under 5’s running riot in cabin, while both parents enjoyed an uninterrupted dinner - pursar said he could not control the children but I reminded him the parents could and did not get to use the cabin like a private playground and abdicated their parental roles -things settled down quickly after that. It’s not the children mostly, it’s idiot inconsiderate parents……

  76. Omar Guest

    I want to read every combo of this story. "Is it ok for kids to fly in first class while their parents are in economy?"

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Your wish is the SEO Gods command!

  77. Michael Guest

    Your relationship with your kids should be one of "equals" too. If you sit in first class and leave the kids in economy because you've "worked hard" and they haven't, then you're an ass.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Michael -- Like I said, it's not something I'd personally do, but let me challenge you on that for a second. Maybe "equal" isn't the right word, but rather think of it along these lines -- if you buy yourself a nice car, does that mean you have to buy your 16 year old an equally nice car?

    2. Reyyan Diamond

      @Ben, Let me challenge you on that, if you go out for dinner in a restaurant, do you forbid your kids to take the more expensive items on the menu card while you as a parent still take the most expensive item? That’s downright selfish.

    3. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Reyyan -- Let me once again emphasize that I would never fly a premium cabin and leave my kid in economy. I'm not explaining it from my perspective, but rather am trying to understand it from others' perspectives.

      To answer your question, I think there's a difference between ordering food and something that's a luxury good (a car, a watch, a first class seat, etc.).

    4. XPL Diamond

      A better analogy is, if you buy yourself a nice car, would you allow your children to ride with you in it? Or would you make them ride in your ratty old other car, so they don't scuff up the new one?

    5. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ XPL -- I'm not sure I'd agree that's a better analogy, but to each their own. Having a kid drive with you in your car costs nothing extra, while having your kid fly with you in a premium cabin could cost thousands of dollars extra. As I said above, none of this is something I'd personally want to do, I'm just trying to share both sides.

    6. Michelle Guest

      I am not Michael but I think buying your teenager an expensive car is fine. If you have the money you ought to be sharing it with the kids or weaker members of your family. Spoiling kids is more a matter of whether you don’t intervene when they are bullying a weaker person.

    7. Jhonn2 Guest

      Your children are not "equals" as you as a parent have a significant degree of authority and responsibility over them. The same way your boss isn't your equal, it's your superior.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Reyyan Diamond

If you leave your kids behind in economy, they also have the right to leave you in a nursing home… and don’t get all sad when that happens :)

10
Michael Guest

Your relationship with your kids should be one of "equals" too. If you sit in first class and leave the kids in economy because you've "worked hard" and they haven't, then you're an ass.

10
tda1986 Diamond

"Kids live rent free?" If you feel the need to whine about providing the basic necessities of life for children, just don't have them.

7
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