So, about infants in first class…

There are two airline related topics that will instantly turn people uncivil – seat recline in coach and babies in first class. Every time I read an article (or write a post) about seat recline in coach, the commenters on both sides get extreme, typically threatening one another.

My stance with seat recline in coach has always been that it’s a right (that’s why the recline button is on the seat of the person wanting to recline), though people should be respectful about it. I don’t recline in coach on domestic flights (though admittedly I don’t fly coach domestically a whole lot… other than this week) because I think space is already tight enough for everyone. But still, it’s a right. The person behind you could have purchased a seat with more legroom, much like the passenger of size could have purchased two seats, but chose not to. It’s not my fault they’re tall and the airlines design seats to be so small. But like I said, I just don’t recline out of courtesy.

Babies in first class is a tougher issue, though, and one I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into… until my mileage run last week. I won the baby lottery twice.

There were four infants in first class on my flight from Tampa to Chicago, including ten month old twins. The babies were well behaved aside from about 30 minutes of crying, which is understandable. What drove me absolutely nuts were the parents that were obviously very stressed about traveling with infants and constantly yelling back and forth at each other. It was truly painful to watch, especially since the dad was pretty whipped. “MAKE HIM DRINK THE BOTTLE.” “He doesn’t want to drink, honey.” “THEN FEED HIM CHEERIOS.” “He doesn’t want Cheerios, honey.” Poor guy!

On my return redeye from San Francisco to Miami I also had two babies in first class. Even worse, I had one of the nuttiest seatmates I’ve had in a long time. She was an American living in the Caribbean (“I don’t need the US government knowing what I’m doing”), and she was into black magic and a lot of other “alternative” things, which she extensively tried to educate me on. She said to me “if they just gave me five minutes with the baby I’d have him knocked out for the next five hours.” No way I’d trust this lady with my kid!

Even worse than listening to the baby cry for an hour was listening to the lady next to me bitch and moan nonstop for the entire time. Fortunately I managed to convince the flight attendant to pour her steady, big glasses of red wine, so she was knocked out soon enough.

But in both cases I’d say having the babies in first class certainly took away the benefit that comes with first class, which is being able to arrive relaxed. Of course I had upgraded, but what about the others on the plane that paid for first class (including the nutty lady seated next to me, who was going bonkers)? Even more so, what if my flight had been in international business class on a route that’s all about arriving well rested (like the British Airways New York to London Sleeper Service)?

The main issue is that as much as some like to complain about it, this isn’t really any one party’s fault. The babies? Well, it’s certainly not their fault they cried, I remember doing the same when I was a few months old (okay, maybe I don’t actually remember it, but I’m sure I did). The parents? Well, everyone thinks their kids are the best in the world, so when the baby cries some parents just smile and say “isn’t he cute?” Even the most well behaved infants will cry, no matter how hard parents try to prevent it. But ultimately you can’t control the actions of an infant.

A while back Malaysia Airlines announced they would be banning infants in first class, which is the first airline I know of that has instituted such a policy.

Let me put it this way – if you’re paying $20,000 for a first class ticket, you damn well deserve to arrive well rested. At the same time, if you’re a parent and paying $20,000 to fly in first class with your baby, wouldn’t the airline be crazy to turn down the revenue? Keep in mind that on international flights, the infant fare is 10% of the full fare cost of the ticket, so they’re getting quite a bit of extra revenue for nothing.

I don’t know where I actually stand here, but rather I’m just sharing my thoughts. I doubt we’ll see an airline follow Malaysia’s lead, because nobody will change their spending habits based on an infant in first class since the competition allows it as well! Airlines only have revenue to lose by banning babies, at least in the short run.

I’ll close by saying that if I were a parent and had an infant, I would fly coach (though I’m not suggesting anyone else should feel the same). Much like I think seat recline is a right yet I don’t exercise it, I acknowledge that having an infant in first class would be a right, though I’d feel uncomfortable as a parent. People get a lot more irritated by infants in first or business class than in coach, and I would get stressed out trying to ensure the infant doesn’t cry and that I don’t disturb anyone else’s rest. But then again I tend to worry about everything in life a bit too much.

Where do y’all stand? If you’re a parent, do you feel at all uncomfortable in a premium cabin with an infant cause you don’t want to get yelled at? Business travelers, if an airline banned infants in premium cabins, would you vote with your wallet and be more likely to fly with them?

Filed Under: Advice, Travel
  1. Its just like everywhere in your live. You mostly can not select who is your neighbor. Not in a plane, not at your home. Even if you pay multi million dollars for your home you can have bad luck and ashore with his loud family will become your next door neighbor. But I think it is ok. Sure I am bit pissed when I pay a lot of € for a business or first class flight and have a crying baby next to me. But thats bad luck. So we can’t start selecting people. So some don`t like babies, the other don`t like a gay in the first, the other don`t want to have a arabic looking guy next to him. We should stop wasting time and thinking about something we can never change. And I am sure as soon as we guys become fathers we will also fly first class with our family, if we can afford or get good upgrades. Greetings from Germany, Arne

  2. At first, my knee-jerk response was in favor of a baby-free first class experience, but reading Arne’s comment got me thinking. There are lots of potentially annoying experiences that could make a first class seat less than restful (snoring, loud inane conversations, chatty captains who go a little overboard on the PA, etc.).

    I guess the best solution is just to get a window seat, a good set of headphones/ipod, and an eyemask and tune out. Then, as long as parents keep their baby on a leash (please don’t let them crawl around the cabin as I’ve seen on numerous occasions), I’m good to go.

  3. Lucky – I haven’t seen a comment from you on the new Pan Am TV series!

    For example how exciting first class was looking back then ..

  4. A couple of years ago, I started flying with earplugs and a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Best decision I’ve ever made.

    Good quality ear plugs or NC headphones with music playing really can block out almost anything, even crying babies or squabbling parents. I put in my earplugs at pushback. Once above 10,000 feet, I swap them for my headphones (which are more-easily removed for speaking with the FA or a non-crazy seatmate). I reverse the process on approach. I follow the process religiously on every flight.

    It may sound obsessive, but it helps immensely. Even in the absence of babies, I arrive more rested and relaxed due to the absence of engine noise. Pay attention the next time you see off-duty flight crew members on the plane. A significant percentage have earplugs in from pushback to touchdown.

    As a side note, you’re a great writer, Ben. I sincerely hope you can turn this into a real career so you don’t have to be an office drone when you “grow up.”

  5. @ Bruce — seriously put your kids on a leash — that’s the most naive and retarded thing I have heard — people need to travel and keeping an infant/toddler confined to an area is hard enough do cut the parents some slack.

    As a father of a almost 3 year old, I understand parents because most are cognizant of what their children are doing and careful about imposing on others — I’m not talking about the
    2% that really don’t give a crap BUT there Also is the 30 year old guy that acts like a prick and a 3 year old — what’s HIs excuse?

    We have traveled with my son to London, Prague, Vienna, Vancouver, new York, Atlanta, cancun, among other places and what ticks me off Is the few times that my son has actually cried I get these god awful looks from people like we should be quarantined or something. Babies cry people! get over it.

    When we travel and we can go business of first why the heck not especially if we have to keep the infant in the lap. Do you know how hard it is to travel with an infant in your Lap? So if I can splurge or upgrade then so be it because it’s in my best interest and my child’s best interest to do so. If you can’t handle a baby crying for 30 minutes on an 8 hr flight and somehow this is cramping your style put on your Bose earphones and go back to your ego centered and self indulgent life.

  6. I didn’t get into collecting points and miles hardcore until the last year. I wish I had done it sooner, but there you have it. It so happens that I had a little boy 1 year ago, too. Before the baby, my husband and I traveled what I thought was a pretty good amount (international) until I found Flyertalk and travel blogs.

    So now I have all these points and a Serious Case of wanderlust. I’m dying for an international trip in a major way. So, this December, we’ll be flying to Buenos Aires. In First Class on award tickets. I even spent the miles and got my son – who will be 15 months old then – a seat. So no one can complain that I didn’t get him his own seat. How much he stays in it remains to be seen, because I imagine he might just want to hang out on my lap for awhile. But when he gets sleepy on the overnight flight, I thought it might be nice to have the extra room for us all to try to get some rest.

    So, for me, what it comes down to is this: we wouldn’t go to EZE without having first class (or business) seats. Just wouldn’t. That long of a trip, in Economy, with a little one sounds like hell. So our miles are making something possible that otherwise wouldn’t be, both in terms of cost and the flying experience. I am VERY concerned about the flights and not disturbing other first class passengers. It’s a serious stressor. But it’d be a stressor in economy, too (if we’d even go in economy) and while my son is usually a happy baby, it won’t surprise me if he gets a bit fussy. It’s usually brief and my husband and I both do everything in our power to help him when he’s having a rough time. I am far more concerned about how the other passengers will treat us than I am concerned about how our son will behave. And if we get the dirty looks, I’ll just have to remind myself that this is a one-time thing for us, and the only way we’d get to do this. I don’t foresee any more int’l trips for many years to come, because we’re not THAT far off from thinking about a second baby. For the domestic trips we have planned, we’ll be in economy – in part b/c domestic first class isn’t worth the extra miles to me, but also because we can be in economy without it being a big hardship. But for a long flight to South America, economy would be a hardship, and I’m hoping first class will work out well for us.

  7. Simple…

    If the flight is 3 or more classes, ban babies in First.

    If the flight is over 5 hours, ban babies in first.

    Otherwise, bring on the baby revenue!

  8. While I can’t stand the continuous crying of babies when I travel, it’ll be in the same position as those parents soon. My wife is expecting our first child in a month. I really don’t know if I’ll get told off by others if my son cries on the flight. After all they would have paid a pretty high fare just to have their time of peace and quiet ruined.

  9. You don’t pay for quiet in business. You don’t actually pay for a guaranteed ‘relaxing’ flight. You pay for bigger seats, better food, free drinks and to get from point A to point B. Anyone is free to fly in business/first, and unless they change that then babies/kids have every right to be there.

    And, fwiw, our 3 year son has flown international business many times and everyone has lived to tell the tale.

  10. As we know that the flying (including take-off and landing) may bring great discomfort to infants (and consequently their parents), it might be good not to bring infants in the air unless the trips are necessary (ie. family emergency, etc.). Parents should be considerate to their infants.

  11. Lucky – nobody knows what it’s like to have a child until you actually have a child. I’m sure I’ve broken every promise I made to myself about how I’d behave when I had kids.

    If someone needs a kid-free flying experience, they are welcome to fly private.

    Also, I am about 10,000% certain you will fly in first class with your kids. You’re going to turn down the free domestic upgrade just because you’re traveling with your baby? Really? Once you’re used to flying up front, you’re not going to sit in the back just because you have a kid. After all, everyone thinks their own kid is perfect 🙂

    Oh – and I’ve said this a bunch of times: once you have a child, flying without your kid in coach is like being in first class. 5 hours of quiet – anywhere – is priceless.

  12. @John – ??? WHat are you talking about… My 3month took 10 flights already including TATL (all in first class, except a domestic Jetblue segment). He actually felt way better on average when in the plane including take off and landing then at home and almost did not cry at all for all of these flights Where at home he does cry often. I think the vibration, noise puts him to sleep like a day at the SPA.

  13. The thing is even back in coach – people give you glares and sighs when your kid cries. We’ve flown first class twice with our youngest who luckily slept all the time – but we were certainly stressed about it. And as others said – should we turn down the upgrade to get the same treatment on coach?

    The more disappointing thing is my wife has flown by herself with all three of our kids under 8 in coach and people not only give her grief they haven’t helped her put carry ons above etc. sigh.

  14. My last infant in first flight resulted in the kid’s juice bottle leaking from the overhead bin all over my white dress shirt on the way to business meetings for the day. So I have experience being directly affected.
    Yet, I have no issue with kids being many places, but with that comes parental responsibility. Your child should not be impacting my experience. This means no excessive noise, we would not let adults sit in their seats and talk very loudly or yell uncontrollably. This means your kids food and beverages should stay contained and be consumed without spilling on me. It means the parents should not require help to get the job done.
    If parents properly execute the responsibilities of parenthood, your infant can be at my next 5 star restaurant and in First Class.

  15. +1 Jared, David, Jason – Have traveled business class with our then 1 year old to Hawaii and Galapagos, and it was much easier to get him to play quietly and sleep with the extra space and less commotion. I was even able to set up a portable crib for the night flight from HNL-EWR (no, not FAA approved, but they were happy to have a sleeping baby). Would have been a much more trying experience for us and everyone else had we been in coach.

    The thing is, I never would let him cry in business and first class-I’d have gone with him to the galley in coach-it’s simply the right thing to do, and especially on a night flight where people paid to be able to sleep properly. But at least for me, it’s far *less* stressful flying with a baby or toddler in business/first because we’re both more comfortable and have more space. The cramped and noisy conditions in coach make a fussy baby/toddler far more likely.

  16. My vote is for no babies/infants/children under 12 allowed to fly commercial. They should take the greyhound.

  17. @Jared – this is the most precious, sanctimonious garbage I’ve ever heard. Your responsibility as a parent includes making sure your children are not a nuisance. You chose to have ’em, you keep ’em out of my way and out of my earshot.

    I say make 1st class always baby-free. Also, can we make P.S. Flights baby-free as well?

  18. I’ve flown with my son in first and business class on several international long-hauls and we have two more round-trips booked right now. We could obviously survive flights in coach if necessary, but, since these are leisure trips, we’d probably just skip many of them.

    Flying up front allows my son to enjoy/tolerate the experience and therefore stay in a good mood; in coach, he would become fussy pretty quickly. In premium classes, he can nap easier when lying flat (just like his parents can), we can get up and play in the galley or by the exit doors without being in anybody’s way or disturbing other passengers, and we have the help of the flight attendants on occasion. For example, flying on Asiana in regional business last year, the flight attendants took our son and played with him for about 30 minutes while my wife and I ate; I would never have asked them to do this, but they volunteered. Finally, it’s great having the flexibility to eat when my son is sleeping, not just when the meal cart is coming through.

    As others have said, I can’t believe you’ll be using your miles to redeem seats in coach once you have a family…

  19. While I have never flown with our 21 month old in First/Business (because we don’t usually fly First/Business ourselves), it seems odd to me that some feel crying babies belong in coach. I don’t personally feel that people in coach are any less “important” or want crying babies around them any more than those sitting in the first few rows of the aircraft.

    No matter where you sit your baby, it is your job to do everything you can to try and make the experience as good as possible for your baby, other passengers, and yourself. There are tons of things you can do to increase that likelihood, but of course you can’t ensure 100% that the baby will never cry.

    Regardless if you bought your ticket or scored an upgrade, first class is still public transportation. Noise cancelling ear phones are a great idea, as is a little patience and empathy when parents are doing the best they can to ensure peace for everyone.

    I agree completely that you really don’t know what you will do in some situations until you have children yourself. Everyone I know with kids has broken many of their “when I have kids, I will never……” statements. It is just virtually impossible to really put yourself in the mindset of a parent until you are one. For example, I was never, never, never going to use one of those backpack/leash contraptions when traveling with my toddler and guess what, we own a monkey backpack leash because it is what is safest in some situations with our kiddo.

    I feel super bad for the couple you describe that was arguing on the airplane about trying to keep their kiddos calm. While arguing never helps, it is hard when you are stressed, the kids are crying, and you can’t be everywhere at once to try and help. I guess the silver-lining of that story is that at least they were trying.

    I hope you don’t win the baby lottery on your next flight! Or the “black magic” lottery either………. 🙂

  20. This whole topic and reasoning is pretty low. ‘I am paying $20000 so I deserve to be well rested’, so the people spending $2000 in coach don’t? It’s sad some people associate basic rights with $ — ‘I am staying in lounge so I deserve clean bathroom’, ‘I am eating fancy resaurant so I deserve not to get food poisoning’, as opposed to the people staying in public area or eating in KFC?

    It’s worse when a lot of people think $ also entitles them to violate other people’s rights. ‘I paid $$$ so you don’t deserve to give your baby comfort’?

    It’s the worst when both thinkings are often correct in this society — the only reason you don’t deserve to get well rested by paying $20000, is because that’s what people paying $100k for a cabin or $200k to ride private jet for.

  21. I have kids and I’ve traveled with my kids throughout their lives.

    I strongly believe that kids should travel in coach. Once kids are mature enough to be alone, parents can be in first/business and kid in coach; before that, parent with kid(s) in coach.

    It neither teaches the child the right things about life to be in the premium cabin, nor is it respectful of the adults who have paid (or earned their upgrade) to have the kids in the premium cabin. People in coach have self-selected an economy experience already. It’s discourteous for parents to bring kids or toddlers or babies into the premium cabin.

  22. If I were a parent flying with a baby, just imagine how much harder it would be to travel with him in coach. There’s half as much room (or even less) and now I’m uncomfortable as well as the baby. IMO, you don’t get a guarantee of anything in first class. It’s an improvement over the barebones environment of coach, and if I had children I would use instruments or cash to upgrade every time. Every time I ask the GA to pass me over on an upgrade (b/c my companion hasn’t been) I tell him to give it to someone elderly or with a baby if they can.

  23. I’ve never flown first class and don’t have kids. Obviously my view may not reflect those of other readers, but I get this feeling that First Class customers “deserve” the peace and quiet while Economy customers need to “put up with it”. Somehow paying thousands more for your airfare means you should not experience any of the nuisances of flying? Unbelievable. Yes, send all non-desirable people back to the Economy cabin because those people have “self-selected an economy experience already”.

  24. I’ve raised three children and traveled with them on numerous occasions — never in first class until they were at least five years old and quite well-behaved and quiet.

    If I were on an international flight and had paid (in dollars or in scarce upgrades) for a lie-flat bed in F or C, I’d be extremely angry if someone brought a screaming child with them into that cabin. The whole idea of the lie-flat bed is to be able to sleep. Having a crying, screaming child in that environment would be no less rude than playing a movie on your laptop without headphones, or having a non-stop, top-of-your-voice conversation with someone.

    As for children on planes in general, what gets to me — what will really make me angry — are the kids whose parents clearly never set any limits for them at home. These are kids who are used to getting their way, and now they’re on an airplane where, no matter what they might say, they’re not allowed to undo their seatbelt or turn on their DVD player. I was on a recent SEA-KOA flight where the parents two rows ahead of us had two little boys, probably 3 and 5, who were just like this. They spent much of the flight screaming, kicking the seats ahead of them, thrashing around, and even hitting their own parents. I don’t blame the kids, I blame mom and dad for having such lousy parenting skills. Now, in the row between them and us was a family of three with a daughter, probably 4, who couldn’t have been more perfectly behaved. At the end of the flight, my wife and I made a point of complimenting the little girl for being so well-mannered.

    Parents, if you’re going to take your kids on airplanes, for the love of all that is holy, first teach them on the ground that parental instructions must be followed and that tantrums achieve nothing.

  25. You said ‘ People get a lot more irritated by infants in first or business class than in coach,’

    That’s just BS. People in coach are just as irritated, but we just know we can’t pull any sort of ‘don’t you know who I am’ attitude. So in the absense of the ability to actually change the situation, just like I can’t make the linebacker sized dude who is now elbowing me the whole flight vanish, we plebs just choose to ignore and move along with life.

    Please note: I fly across country twice weekly at this point, but its a ‘superstar’ elite laden flight, and I am still at the low end of the wait list, so I AM a freq flier. I just don’t get upgrades much.

  26. We have taken our son when he was under two on two different flights in J LAX-CDG on AF and in F LAX-LIH on Delta. The AF flight we got him his own seat and so we had the three in the middle in a 777. There were three infants in J on that flight and all of them had their own seat booked. As a parent traveling in F/J I too want ot arrive as well rested as possible so i think little ones should be allowed in f/J only if they buy a whole seat.

  27. It seems like there’s at least one baby on every flight I take. Why do people need to bring their babies on a plane at all? Can’t you leave them with grandma while you go on vacation? I understand there may be some circumstances where you’d have to bring your baby on a plane (e.g. moving to other side of the country), but I think in most cases you don’t need to bring your baby with you.

    I know many parents would disagree, but just my opinion. Leave the crying baby at home and enjoy a peaceful vacation away. If you don’t want to leave your baby at home, don’t go on vacation or drive to your destination instead.

  28. I cannot tell you how many time I’ve flown in First or Business class and been unable to sleep because of a person nearby snoring through the entire flight. We don’t hear near as many complaints about snorers as we do children and on long haul flights there are way more nose/throat bassoons than diapers.

    My 18 month hold has flown 60 flights and over 130K miles in her short life and generally makes much less noise in first, business or economy than the average snorer. Further, on my flight from Houston to Washington, DC this past week, I had to listen to a couple bickering back and forth for almost two hours. They were carrying on like no one else was on the plane. No one said anything to or about them.

    Most children who are flying don’t know what’s going on as flying isn’t an every day experience, cannot communicate their needs and just want love and attention. Can an infant flying in first be inconvenient sometimes? Sure. But the one thing every flyer has in common is that he or she was once a child. Maybe what is needed is patience on our part and an understanding that a child’s need for food, to have his/her ears clear, etc is as important (or more so) than an adult’s need to arrive well rested.

  29. First I think lap kids should not be allowed on any flight. Secondly I would say on a 3 class flight then kids should be ok in business but not first.

    The bad trend that I’ve been seeing with infants is parents taking them to the MOVIE theater. WTF? They bring in a stroller and try to watch the movie. What idiot does that? No movie theater should allow anyone that young into a theater.

  30. I guess we have been lucky with our 5 year old. 3 trips to LHR, 3 trips to NBO, One of those TK deals to KUL, all J tickets and never any issues. We plan way ahead for things to keep her entertained, like I’m sure most parents do. Always apologize in advance to people sitting around us in case she does have a meltdown. A couple of times we have had seatmates switch seats upon seeing a child, and they have come back to us at the end of the flight to compliment us on how well behaved our daughter is.

    We did fly a KUL-SIN segment that had a crying baby the entire flight. Someone actually threw a note to the parents telling them to shut their kid up and she got up and made an announcement to the entire cabin asking who did it. It was surreal, I still can’t figure out how the note got to her. So I guess we can see both sides of the issue.

    We just have been extremely lucky and trust me, lounge access (especially ones with kids play areas), fast track immigration at foreign airports, FA’s that go the extra mile and do stuff like on demand dining (so you can eat after your child is asleep), the extra space. It makes traveling with a lot less stressful, and that makes the parents and baby happy.

  31. Lucky, I’m totally with you on both issues — passengers have the right to recline their seats in coach or bring infants into first class.

    What I like most about your discussion, though, is that you don’t take an “it’s all about me” approach. You think about how your actions will impact others.

    I can’t *guarantee* that my two children won’t cry on a flight, but as a parent and passenger I will guarantee that I’ll do whatever I can to make life as pleasant as possible for my children and fellow passengers. If that means travelling coach, bringing enough food or distractions for my children, making sure they’re well rested, or offering to buy fellow passengers a drink when all else fails, so be it.

  32. It absolutely blows my mind that people believe children shouldn’t travel at all, that they should be left at home. First of all, not all of us live near grandparents. Some of us have families in other countries. Some of us want to show our children the world, and teach them for a young age how not to be a snotty adult who thinks kids should be seen and not heard, or even in some cases as shown by these prior comments, neither seen nor heard.

    Let us not forget that every single person in this world was a child once too.

  33. Other than the occasional few minutes of crying on takeoff or landing, I’ve never had a problem with babies on planes…they usually doze off pretty quickly. Kids between 2 and 4 or so – mobile, full of energy, but not yet old enough to understand “knock it off or you can kiss your XBox goodbye for a month” – are much more likely to be a problem.

    I will go so far as to say that some parents just aren’t willing to accept that some kids, for whatever reason, just don’t cope with flying well, to the point where (no matter what class) they cross the line from “understandable” to “unacceptable”, such as kids that kick the seatbacks non-stop. If your kid isn’t ready to fly, don’t fly, unless it’s an emergency.

    Most kids are fine, though – the biggest beef I usually have with kids (or, more precisely, their parents) is when they have a game or movie but no headphones. After my last experience I had with that, I started tucking the headphones that came with my last phone in my carry-on bag just in case a parent needed them.

    I used to fly between NYC and Florida several times a year – my recommendations are good noise-cancelling headphones, an iPod, eyeshades, and – when not driving at the destination – vodka.

  34. My favorite baby experience happened on a flight from LHR-IAD a few months ago. There was a baby about 12 rows ahead of me, on the other side of the plane. The baby started crying with about 2 hours to go in the flight. The guy in front of my got so agitated, it was PRICELESS to watch him. He called the flight attendand over no less than six times and literally said “It’s your job to go make that baby stop crying.”

    He was all the entertainment I needed for the rest of the flight…

  35. It’s funny that the CEO of MH tweeted the “no babies in F” tweet. The most child friendly flight we ever took was on MH IST-KUL.

    The FA’s went way above the call of duty with our daughter (she was 3 years old at the time). They would take her hand and take her on a tour of the plane, constantly ask her (by name) if she would like anything, bring special treats and toys to her. My wife and I were blown away by the service they gave her. And all of it was voluntarily given, we never asked for any of it. The return segment was the same level of service with a different crew.

    And making sure my kids can see the world and get exposed to different cultures is very important to my wife and I. We are lucky that we can do it in comfort, but even if it was all Y travel, we wouldn’t change our travel habits.

  36. You definately touched on a nerve. I’ve been fortunate enough to have flown all over the world in coach, business and first with my kids since they were babies. They are now teenagers.

    I would argue that you enter into a type of “social contract” when flying a non private jet. You have to expect and accept that you will be with all types and ages of people in all cabins.

    Parents are stressed out enough flying with kids and shouldn’t have to deal with people who think that kids shouldn’t be flying in the “their” cabin. I hate to say it but people here in the US are the biggest [email protected]%holes when dealing with kids on planes. I’ve seen a mother with two young kids struggle with managing her kids and belongings while being bumped around and shunned by fellow passengers only to find out later that her husband is fighting for the US in the Middle East.

    You think its fun when your connecting flight is 6 hours late, everything in the airport is closed, and you have run out of diapers and food?

    I’ve had my fair share of hearing crying and having my seat kicked but that’s life. The only issue I have is when parents just let their kids run wild and don’t care.

    I think that people who don’t want kids with them in certain cabins should be required to fly in and out of Orlando a few times during school vacations!

  37. To @BR and maybe @Carl: let’s allow the kids to travel in F/C. If kids inconvenience your ‘premium’ experience so much, maybe you should stay home instead and enjoy the peace and quiet of your own home, where you have the right to decide who comes and goes. An airline is a quasi-public good, not your private club.

  38. I agree wholeheartedly with those who find the idea that those with a higher ticket price, or those more frequently upgraded, are somehow more deserving of a relaxing cabin experience.

    It’s these attitudes of entitlement that I find completely ridiculous. Obviously, if you’re paying for an F or J ticket, you hope to have a good flight experience. Someone paying for coach hopes to have that same good flight experience–although a much less luxurious one.

    You pay first and foremost for transportation, but also for the food, seat, etc. As someone mentioned above, you do not pay for a guaranteed restful flight. Ones hope in flying first or business class should be that they are reducing the chances of having a relaxing experience; babies, loud snorers, obnoxious seatmates, smelly people, etc., etc., can all put a damper on that experience. Tough luck.

    Without strict rules about conduct within a plane–noise ordinances, jacket requirements, etc.–you’re going to have people pleased and displeased. People need to get out of the mindset that they are these god among men who shan’t be disturbed. (Quote from Ra above: “You chose to have ‘em, you keep ‘em out of my way and out of my earshot.”)

    This narcissistic, self-indulgent 21st century ideology is quite pathetic. Basically, every step possible should be taken to be a considerate human being–to refrain from talking loudly, to not wear too much cologne, to select an aisle seat if you have IBS… and this includes chiding ones children if they are misbehaving. But the operative word there is misbehaving: children ought not to do certain things at certain stages. Crying, as an infant, is not one of those things. If a parent makes reasonable steps to accommodate their fellow passengers (not bringing a colicky infant on a flight unless necessary, not letting them run amok, etc.) then a crying child should bring mild discomfort, at worst.

    Half of the time I think if people stopped focusing on these little nuisances, and kept to themselves–being civil, donning some noise cancelling headphones if necessary–there would be much less ill will. And, in the same way that parents should take all reasonable steps to ensure that their infant won’t cause unnecessary distress, passengers (Y, J, & F) should take all reasonable steps to prepare for that snorer, that baby, that whatever.

    If we all were as respectful as possible and took ownership of our own travel experiences, we’d have much less grievances overall.

  39. hehe if these comments are any indication, writing about babies in first is like doing a post about tipping on a restaurant blog.

    since there’s really no “winning” on this topic i’ll just tell my parents from hell story. preparing for takeoff, mom and dad have largely ignored the 3+ requests from the FA to please put the child’s toys beneath the seat and retrieve him from the aisle where he was playing so we could take off. it finally escalates to the point where the FA looks at the parents and says, “you have two choices: put the toys away and put him in your lap, or i have you escorted off this plane by security for interfering with the flight. you have 5 seconds to decide. 5.. 4… 3….”. Half the plane erupted in applause. And you know what, it’s THOSE PEOPLE who ruin it for everyone. And a good FA can’t shut up a crying baby, but s/he can shut up a passenger whose empathy and common sense have failed.

  40. I don’t mind babies in first, I do think that their should be a law outlawing lap infants though, it’s dangerous and very intrusive on fellow passengers in coach or first. The babies should be strapped in.

  41. I don’t think there is any legal way to bar children from any class on a U.S. carrier so a lot of this is just venting. Ear plugs, private jet, stay home–those are about the only options available for the “no kids” contingent. Although at times I did think of another use for those large overhead bins…

  42. I have offered many parents traveling with infants an upgrade to F and the amazing thing is that they never say yes right away. They always talk about it and how it will affect their child. Often, they would turn down the offer citing the way the F seats are set up it will be too difficult to manage the child opposed to having a whole Economy Plus row to themselves [parents on both end with the middle seat open]. I tend to think that F would make their trip easier with more attention from the FA, bigger seat, and some other amenities, but that is untrue on flights with domestic F seats.

    I know some who books the entire row just for 2 people [parent and the infant] and it is still cheaper than 1 F seat.

    Makes sense to me.

  43. Some babies (and older) are spoiled and scream every time they don’t get attention or their way. On a Sept. flight from London to Chicago, a 1 1/2 to 2 year old behind us screamed 80% of the time, with the parents doing little or nothing. This kid was plain obnoxious and her parents could have cared less. Babies in Business and First, absolutely no way. Why would anyone have to pay for a trip from Hell.

  44. I feel bad for anyone who is that self-important that they feel that only the underclass people in coach “deserve” to have a crying baby! Sorry that you had to “suffer” in coach last week, Lucky. But seriously – get a life!

    I know you like to focus on luxury travel and that’s fine, though I like you analyses of FF deals better than another picture of your sandwich of minibar. But whether it’s coach, or F, window or aisle – I don’t think you and a lot of others really appreciate what you have.

    A baby (or weird neighbor, or seat malfunction, or whatever) bothers you for a few hours? You’re flying through the air, in comfort and speed that was unthinkable not too long ago. Our ancestors braved uncharted oceans to explore the world, the early aviation pioneers gave their lives to perfect air travel.

    I still get a thrill every single flight – though a bit more so on a 777 than an ER4.

    Millions of people don’t have enough to eat, or couldn’t travel past the next village if they wanted to, or can’t even make their car payment. I don’t think we should feel guilty because we can – but imagine how lucky some folks past or present, would feel just to be in the last row in Y. Just get some perspective, is all I’m sayin’

  45. Numerous commenters have made the point that premium cabin passengers do not deserve more. For example, Bgiagg suggested that those paying 20K for a premium seat should not be more ‘rested’ (comfortable) than those paying for a 2K coach seat. He added, “It’s sad some people associate basic rights with $”.

    Comfort is a sliding scale – it’s not a right. The label “first-class” is self-describing. First-class is the best accommodations an airline can provide. Cabin atmosphere is part of that product, noise-level included. I challenge anyone to find an airline that would suggest that crying babies or any unneighborly noise is part of what premium customers should expect. First-class is supposed to be comfortably quiet.

    Quiet babies aren’t the problem. Crying babies, barking dogs and exceptionally noisy passengers are the problem. The spasmodic lululemon-wearing Steven Adler imitator with the dog in her purse who oh so creatively prevented any of those within rows of her on a delayed CO1406 last night from getting any shuteye? Yes. People who fart in their seat, the putridly unwashed, over-fragranced, Angry Bird-playing and all the other people that seem to have no awareness or care that we around them have functioning senses that can be offended? Yes. They are the problem. I call them the ‘flying inconsiderates’, or ‘flidiots’ for short. Flidiots should not be in a premium cabin. Neither coach. A car. They should be in a car. Where their obnoxiousness can go forth, bounce off the glove-like confines of their automobile and sucker-punch them over, and over, and over.

    Flidiots inspire all sorts of things. For example, last night, I thought of an on-board jail cell. And when lululemon inexplicably crawls on the floor uncomfortably close, as in under her seatmate to talk to her bag-bound dog in her loud toilet-brush voice for the sixth time, jail. Asking for crackers and nuts, then taking them to bathroom for 15 minutes for the third time? Jail.

    Or, how about a tow hook on airplanes. Her trailer – connect it to the back of the plane. It’s a win-win. She gets own private airbonre suite, and those crammed into the flying sardine can – they get to fly without worrying about what the hell she’s doing with crackers, nuts and a doggie bag in the bathroom.

    Getting back to my point. It’s flidiots that the problem. They have been and always will be. So, if you can’t beat em, join em. Get a dog, stick it in a purse, buy a lululemon space-suit, medicate, drink, medicate some more, and pick a red-eye flight, where you can relish in the process of sucking the little remaining class out of first-class while you do whatever the hell it is your doing in the bathroom with nuts and crackers.

  46. @PanAM: Your quilt-of-guilt argument reminds me of my grandma, who used to tell me to finish every morsel of food on my plate because people on the other side of the world were starving. Firstly, the other side of the world at the time was the western hemisphere. Secondly, she was trying to use guilt to get me to eat like a pig.

    Implying that those wanting a brochure-like on-board experience are unappreciative or self-important is a shamefully manipulative tactic.

    You tell lucky that he doesn’t appreciate what he has. But, in the same stream you express your lack of appreciation for his posts where he shares photos of a humble sandwich and minibar. No, you prefer his posts that help you. Analyses of deals and other opportunities to help you get yours.

    Lucky is very appreciative. I love that he focuses on luxury travel, deals and unappreciated details like sandwiches and minibars. I also love how differently from you, he doesn’t lump coach, first-class, a window and aisle seat into the same category of desireability. The fact that Lucky can recognize and appreciate that difference is perhaps what makes him so enviously lucky.

    The fact that we have the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of flight is reason to respect it and behave in a manner that does not diminish it to being something less than it can be.

  47. Im a parent of a 3 year old and now a newborn. I have a crazy number of miles and points but I haven’t used them lately because I am concerned them bothering other passengers. For our next trip I am planning to do Amtrak. I think that could be a good option for other parents on this thread.

    On one trip when my son was 2 he went berserk. Some parents know that when your child gets into that zone there’s pretty much nothing you can do that Child Services wouldnt haul you away for. He kicked and screamed for the whole hour flight. Now, when that happens I just issue frequent flier miles and a voucher as compensation 😀

  48. Our children (now 5 & 2)always fly in F when I can upgrade them. Like adults, they do better in F – they can both have the window seat and plenty of space for games, stuffed animals, etc. Coach is much more problematic as toddlers try to kick the seat in front (we don’t let them) and there is more space for your DVD players and ipads. We have flown SFO=SYD with a 15-month old and he slept most of the way.

    Really, it is not children that are the problem it is parents who don’t anticipate their children’s needs.

  49. You write: “the benefit that comes with first class, which is being able to arrive relaxed.”

    Since when is that a published benefit? What about economy plus sections? Does that benefit come with economy plus, as well?

  50. @mark: “Experience the luxury of United First” it reads. It continues with, “your oasis of privacy, comfort and choice.” If United intends for their First Class passengers to be comfortable, then arriving relaxed is part of that elevated experience. So, to answer your first question –

    To answer your second question, no. Economy Plus is a coach seat. You get extra legroom, and “extra comfort at the best value.” So, while you should be more comfortable than those in standard Economy seating, it’s not remotely the comfort of First.

    When you look at airline’s, it’s clear that their premium cabins are intended to be incomparably comfortable, and quiet. While reality and people may impair the ability for airlines to deliver, it’s inarguably their intent.

    And make no mistake, airlines strive for quiet cabins, especially those in premium spaces. Just look at the Lufthansa A380. The First Class cabin has special sound insulating curtains on the galley, walk ways the surrounding the cabin. This is in addition to the existing sound reduction efforts throughout the aircraft. The special effort given to reduce First Class cabin ambient noise by 7 dB was to improve comfort. As was increasing the humidity to over 20%. These seemingly small, but special details are implemented to make First Class passengers exceptionally comfortable. And according to the New Oxford American dictionary, to make comfortable is to provide “physical ease and relaxation”.

    When passengers aren’t negating those extraordinary attempts at improving comfort, the opportunity to arrive relaxed exists.

  51. @Andrea – I don’t have a problem with kids flying on planes. It’s babies I have a problem with. You say kids should be able to see the world. I agree, but your 8 month old screaming baby certainly isn’t going to remember your trip to Hawaii. Save some money and leave the baby with grandparents or a babysitter. Then when they’re old enough to actually appreciate the experience, take them with you on vacation.

  52. These comments are so full of logical fallacies that any semblance or reasonable discussion fled long ago. Still, I’m unable to resist throwing another log on the fire:

    Let’s split the difference: babies (or parents with babies) should never be upgraded.

  53. Wow, Lucky’s post has sured touched a nerve. I’m not a parent but I travel weekly for work and have been on plenty of flights in coach and first in which there were babies (not kids). I wouldn’t say I’m annoyed by babies crying; instead, the sound creates a lot of anxiety for me. Their cries make me want to help and there’s not a lot that can be done for a poor child who’s ears are killing them as we ascend and descend.

    I recently sat next to a mom with an infant in her lap on a Jetblue redeye flight from OAK to JFK. It was an eye-opener, to say the least, even though I was beyond exhausted from the workweek. First, more than a dozen babies were on this very full flight, making it the first in-air nursery I’d ever seen!

    Secondly, and the most surprising turn of events, all the babies on this plane fell asleep before we taxied except for the one sitting next to me. The baby was overly excited by the in-flight entertainment system and wouldn’t go to sleep even though the cabin lights were dimmed. She bounced around her mom’s lap poking the screen for about an hour or so, with her mom visibly upset. I usually wear earplugs and a sleep mask during my flights but I could still feel the poor thing bouncing around and kicking my armrest.

    From my vantage point, there wasn’t much mom could do (a bottle and stroll through the aisles didn’t seem to help). After about the 5th stroll down the aisle, mom came back with a huge smile on her face. One of the parents at the back of the plane had given her some Children’s Benadryl — who knew! It was a godsend, that’s for sure, and probably explains why all the other babies were out like a light.

    It took about 30 minutes for the baby to fall asleep and I’ve never seen such a look of relief as I saw on mom’s face. Baby remained asleep for the rest of the flight and was still knocked out when we landed. I wonder how prevalent the Bendaryl use is? It certainly came in handy on this trip.

    On this flight I learned to have compassion for traveling babies and parents. I saw this mom make extraordinary efforts to settle her daughter, and saw another parent reach out to help another in need. That’s pretty cool in my book, and was worth the exhaustion to witness.

  54. @BR – I love how you think it is so easy to say to hire a babysitter or have grandma come stay with the kids. Some of us have no family around, and have to travel to see them. Why is this concept hard to grasp? If we want to see family we HAVE to fly to see them, and they live in another country.

    But putting that aside as long as I am spending our money it should make no difference to you whether or not my 8 month old remembers an experience. I don’t appreciate sitting next to fat, smelly, obnoxious, sleazy, nosy adults, but I wouldn’t suggest they stop traveling for my convenience.

    And, as people seem to forget, not every baby cries on every flight. My son has been to more countries than many of my friends, and has been flying overseas since he was 2 months, and has never cried on a flight.

  55. If you’ve paid $20,000 for a first class ticket, plus 10% more for your baby, you damn well deserve to sit in first class with your baby.

    Same goes if you’ve paid 200,000 frequent flier points for your seat.

    In YEARS of flying, I’ve never – not once – had a problem with a baby’s incessant crying. Yes, they cry; yes, sometimes it’s a bit disturbing; but usually they stop when they’re made comfortable again.

    I’ve been far, far more irritated by neighbors talking too loudly, or someone’s music being so loud that I can hear it across the aisle even though the passenger is wearing headphones.

  56. The no babies in F argument is ridiculous.

    If you travel without earplugs and/or noise-canceling headphones, then you have nobody to blame but yourself.

    It’s not like the parents are poking their kids with needles to try and get them to cry. They wan’t their kids to be just as quiet as you do.

  57. I have a 3 month baby and I try to avoid as mush as possible transportation and espacially plane. I would wait until he is more than 1 year old to take the plane and I would fly in Buisness class with him rather than in First or economy. First is too select, too snoby in my opinion and economy not confortable enought. Business class seems to be a good compromise to travel with kids…

  58. I found this older post while researching flying business-first home for Christmas with the baby I’m still expecting. It’s fascinating how extreme the points of view are.

    I fly a lot, but never first. I would rather take two trips (or more) in economy plus than one in first. I’m self employed, so I’m paying the bill myself every time and I have the flexibility to travel as much as I want / can afford. I’m premium, so I get offered free upgrades every now and then, but somehow it’s always when I’m traveling w/ my husband who is not offered the upgrade. This will be my first time splurging for a premium cabin.

    At first, I had to check if babies were even allowed in premium cabins. I didn’t know. I imagine First full of the type of self-important business man who has 0 tolerance for children, so it seemed possible that it would just not be allowed. Or a left over relic of times when babies stayed home with their mothers and pregnant women were expected to not show themselves while pregnant. It seems my fears were half right.

    Like adult swim. Some places are for adults only, and that’s fine. I wouldn’t be upset if it was against the rules, or there were premium options seperate for those with and without families. But after confirming it is allowed, the more I researched it, the better of an idea it seemed and also the more crazy it seems that people would be so angry about it or expect someone to choose not to buy a service at the level they want / can afford because someone else might be offended by their preference. All the while talking about “being considerate to others”.

    I want to echo some previous sentiments. One, you are not better than me because your job pays for you to fly so many miles that you have extra to blow on premium upgrades. Two, babies are just one thing on the list of possible irritations.

    You are entitled to exactly what you are entitled to (more space, better food, better service). I, too, sometimes chose a more expensive travel option for the likely company I can expect in the next seat. I’ll pay 5x the price of a bus ticket for a train or for first-class on the train. This improves my chances of not getting a person next to me who smells or wants to talk about if I’ve accepted Jesus into my heart the whole trip, but it by no means guarantees it. Like others said, it’s public transit, you have to expect to deal with the public.

    The most annoying thing I’ve even encountered on a flight was the (regular sized) adult next to me fidgeting through out the red-eye. With my eye mask, ear plugs, and noise canceling headphones, and drink I always get in the lounge before takeoff, I can normally sleep like a baby (pun intended), even with a real baby next to me. But this casual brushing of my arm with their arm continued to wake me every time I started to dose off. The person was doing absolutely nothing wrong (it’s fair play for the person in the middle seat to use the arm rest), but they still made my flight miserable. I’m not about to cry out, “there should be a law!” because I had a bad night sleep. I do everything I can to increase the chances of, and always hope for, but never expect, full rest on a flight. I can’t imagine how even someone paying 10x my cost in First could have such expectations in a public place.

    People in Coach don’t think they are trading comfort for a discount ticket. They (we) think those in first are paying a crazy amount for extra space and free booze, that they are either not paying for this luxury themselves or simply have a different value for that money. They will absolutely give the stink eye to a crying baby and it’s parents. And there are more people in coach! Should a bus full of 40 people have to yield to one guy in a Ferrari?

    And these ideas that you should just not bring your kid with you… are you really that incapable of empathy? of imagining other people’s situations? Not everyone on the plane is living near family and on their way to a vacation.

    I’m an American now based in Europe. There is no “leaving it with grandma” (I’m bringing the kid to meet grandma).

    I’m also often traveling for a month at a time. Leaving my kid for that long would be the irresponsible thing to do.

    Oh, and I want to breastfeed. How exactly should I pump out a month’s worth of milk? Or is breastfeeding no longer my right when combined with also needing to travel?

    I plan on moving back to the states in 10-15 years. It will be a tough age for my kids to move. I want to make it as easy as possible by spending time back with my family every Christmas and summer. I want to bring my kids back to my family home, for them to learn more about being American, for my mother and grandmother to meet and know them, for them to know their cousins, etc. Screw anyone who thinks I shouldn’t be allowed to do this until they are all mature enough to guarantee they won’t cry on a flight.

    To avoid “spoiling” I won’t be doing premium everytime. Probably not at all once they are in their own seats (it will probably be better just to take over a whole row in Economy Plus, anyway). But for flying with a lap infant, especially when not with my husband, the Business First seat seems a clear best choice. For my confort, baby;s comfort, and the added FA attention.

    I get that parent’s are responsible for their kids and that we should absolutely not expect the world to bend to make our lives easier. But one should also check how much they are expecting the world to bend to their choice to not have kids. We all have the right to exist.

    If you think that you shouldn’t have to sit near a baby, that I (as a reproductive women) don’t have the right to buy this same service, that 5 other people in a less expensive seat than you should have to take this “burden” in your place, then you are a jerk in so many ways.

  59. I am a businessman that flies in coach and first class, on late flights, and red eyes. I’ve flown with our baby (which is actually quite good, cries for 5 min then sleeps the whole way), and I’ve seen babies that cry the whole way. This all leads to planning, being a frequent flier my briefcase contains noise cancelling headphones, earbuds, or the simple $1 earplugs. If the baby is crying, I cant hear them, it all comes down to planning. Some people are just plain obnoxious, id rather have a crying baby next to me then a drunk who is talking the whole time or a person who hasn’t showered in days.

  60. I really do understand why it could be perceived as inconsiderate to other travellers flying 1st class if forced to sit next to a couple with an infant, however, I’ve read numerous travel blogs and opinions on this topic from people who have flown first class internationally and had babies in 1st class sitting next to them. The majority were surprisingly fine with it, stating that “that’s why noise cancelling headphones were invented” as well as wax ear plugs (you can pick up a pack for $10 at any pharmacy).

    If I were a parent with a young infant and had to fly internationally and could afford 1st class, I would do it. Not because I’m selfish but because I value you my own sanity. Infants are difficult, doesn’t really matter where you are with them but being stuck on a plane with one and flying coach over seas sounds like the closest thing to hell on earth that I can think of. And I don’t have kids yet by the way. But I would personally not have an issue with parents taking infants on an intnl flight 1st class or business. See again my note above about noise cancelling headphones and wax ear plugs……we have family overseas as many people do so flying out of the country with a baby may not be a choice, they may be forced to and in my opinion parents with babies or small children are more likely to be completely exhausted during and by the end of a long trip overseas so if they can afford to fly business or 1st class I truly can’t fathom any reason not to take advantage of this option.

    Domestic flight are another story unless you are flying between coasts, then I think I’d personally deal with the relatively short flight time and fly coach if I had a baby.

  61. Wow. Just wow. At the persons who said to never bring children on planes. How do you expect me to bring my newly adopted child home from China? Should I swim? Also, she will have only known me for two weeks when we fly home. She won’t be well behaved and I am sorry for those who are troubled and put out by that. However, if I pay to fly first class with her, my money is just as valuable as the other passengers’ money.

  62. Shame on you. My first thought was, you must not have kids lol. It’s usually people that don’t have kids that have the thoughts you described. You’re the reason I get so stressed on airplanes with my baby and toddler because I believe people around me are thinking exactly what you said. Luckily I haven’t come in contact with any people on my long 15 hour international flights like you. Most people are truly empathetic and say things like “i remember those days”. We’re fortunate to fly first class as well. This the real world sir, sorry to say but babies and kids exist and they actually go on planes whether first class or coach. If you’re that unhappy with the situation then don’t fly!!!!!!

  63. Writing from Delta One, flight from Zurich to JFK. Shrieking, cranky infant right across the aisle.

    I’ve made this trip many dozens of times without noise-cancelling headphones, but I won’t again.

    I sympathize with the parents and the unhappy baby. It is no doubt very stressful. And no one likes being thinking of themselves as an elitist.

    But the fact remains that if this had been a 3-star Michelin restaurant, this simply would not have been allowed to happen. If it did, diners would simply get up, leave and never come back.

    I don’t have that option here, so I’d simply like to know in advance of a flight that I’m going to be within 10 feet of a potentially unhappy baby. Then I’ll rebook if I can.

  64. Just don’t bring babies/toddlers/children under 7 on a plane! I went when I was 7! I talked quietly to my mum and dad, took photos of the clouds, colouring etc (I did it quietly!). I recently went on a plane with my husband to New York. There was about a 1 year old, 5 year old and a 11-12 year old. The parents didn’t try to make those kids stop crying, kicking and shouting! The 12 year old, however, told them to shut up! I was about to complain about those horrible infants, but I was just like “YES!” when she said that! They were moved to the back, and everyone was happy! Seriously, babies and children don’t need to go on a plane! Only unless they are moving to the country, emergency etc. If its holiday, they can stay with a member of the family thats NOT in a differant country!

  65. I wish flights would let you know if there is an infant on board in advance. I would definitely pay extra to rebook my flight to travel in peace.

    Also, it was your choice to have kids. Now it is your responsibility to take care of your kids. “My 1 year old was relaxed the whole flight except only for 30 minutes!” doesn’t cut it; that 30 minutes was a torture to someone who didn’t deserve that.

  66. “Only unless they are moving to the country, emergency etc.”… lol, if that were the situation, how would you know? Are you going to ask the parents and be a plane nazi? Regardless of the situation, they still have to deal or get shade from entitled self centered passengers such as yourself

  67. So here’s my deal…if you want absolute quiet, rent a private jet. Commercial carriers are pubic transportation…babies are included in the general public. If the parents can afford to be up in first w/ a baby, then more power to them. If you think you need to arrive rested and you’re up in first, you can afford the Bose headphones and a pair of ear plugs. Put them on, down some drinks and go to sleep.

    I just had a kid…we’re having to fly from Hawaii to three different cities on the mainland to see the grandparents. It is not pleasant flying anyway, so we are going in first for the entire trip. I will make sure she is fed, dry and as comfortable as possible…after that, everyone will just get to experience it just as if they were on a bus, train or in any other public space.

    Just my thoughts.

  68. “Also, it was your choice to have kids. Now it is your responsibility to take care of your kids. “My 1 year old was relaxed the whole flight except only for 30 minutes!” doesn’t cut it; that 30 minutes was a torture to someone who didn’t deserve that.”

    I’m sorry, but that’s just silly. What are you supposed to do with a screaming child on a flight? Suffocate it? Make them sit on the wing?

    If you want to be assured a perfect, private flight… fly private. Or buy out all of business class on your flight. Or buyout the seats around you. Otherwise, you’re flying with the public. I’d much rather fly next to an infant than someone who brings very aromatic food on the plane

  69. I fly first class with my baby BECAUSE there isn’t enough room for her when the jerk in front of me reclines in economy. If you don’t like babies in first class, tell the airlines to make coach seats non reclining!!

  70. No issues with babies in first if parents are responsible. We got stuck in front of a couple with a toddler who screamed and kicked and punched his way via out seats on a late flight from la to Atlanta. Not cool … not cool at all. The parents thought he was adorable and pretty much ignored the fact that there was another sole on the plane let alone what class they were flying.
    Had I been seated in bulk head I would have offered to swap just to keep from being grabbed by this kid. Grrrrrr …

  71. Jeez – to all the bitchy parents who think passengers owe you their comfort as some sort of humanitarian sacrifice – you’re sniffing glue. Yes you pay for a ticket like anyone else – it’s a transportation system open to the public, but you are not entitled to torment others with what you bring along with you: anything that diminishes the comfort of other passengers whether it’s an obnoxious drunk spouse or an obnoxious kid climbing around, screaming, crying, whatever. Look at the responses from you who reproduce – you believe that the bottom line is that your offspring are more important than the comfort of everyone around you, and if someone calls you on it you resort to name-calling. But kudos for the private jet suggestion – that option works both ways – maybe you should try it with your spawn. And for the belligerent parents who feel we should just put up with it? That’s fine, I can follow the advice of others who have resorted to fighting back, like playing lots of porno on my laptop or eating a can of beans before the flight. I’ll practice my electronic drum set, drink lots of wine because it makes me belch, laugh uncontrollably (and loudly) every time your little darling falls asleep. Yeah, that stuff – ’cause remember, as you said, it’s public transportation, not a guarantee of comfort or elite status… or as someone posted… “after that, everyone will just get to experience it just as if they were on a bus, train or in any other public space.” Glad we got that cleared up. Cheers!

  72. Oh Mark, I feel bad for you. Hate to burst your bubble, but children are actually people, not luggage or accessories. They aren’t some”thing” you “bring along with you”. They have every single right that you do, including flying in First Class. Take your whining to the airlines, and until they change their policy, don’t blame parents for bringing kids in F. And for crhissakes buy some earplugs. I sleep in the same room as an infant every signle night and a 30-cent pair of plugs blocks out his loudest crying. Get a life dude.

  73. And I should add to “J” above – I’m with you. There’s a huge difference between crying (which is out of parents control and can be solved with a cheap pair of earplugs) and kicking, screaming, and other bad behavior. It drives me nuts when parents are basically too lazy or exhausted to bother parenting during flights. I know it’s hard, but that’s your responsibility.

  74. Wow, people in these replies are ridiculous. Guess what? Airplanes, whether you like it or not, are public transportation. It doesn’t matter whether you’re back in coach or up in first, it’s still public. If you are so entitled and desperate to have a completely peaceful, silent flight, then go rent a private plane.
    The fact of the matter is that if someone is able to pay $20k +10% for their baby for a first class seat, then they have every damn right to be there just like you. It’s more comfortable for both the baby and the parents to be in first. Plus, obviously no parent wants their baby to cry while on a flight so of course parents will be doing everything they possibly can to keep their infant calm and relaxed. Sometimes babies can be a bit annoying, but they still have the same rights as any other passenger, you can’t just say “don’t fly with your baby… leave them at home… don’t torment others with what you choose to bring along with you…”. People go on family vacations, people don’t just leave their children behind to “be considerate towards others”. People are also arguing that you should only fly with an infant if absolutely necessary.. but how will YOU know? Are you going to go and ask every parent with their child WHY they’re flying, if it’s an emergency that they had to bring their kid on the plane? Are you really going to do that? If not, then there is absolutely no way for you to know why it is that a parent is flying with a child, nor is it any of your business. Either way, it’s not up to you to decide who deserves to be/should be flying.
    Are you also going to make the argument that old people shouldn’t fly in first? Or overweight people? Or people with disabilities? This is all just elitist BS, obviously if you think you’re important enough to have other passengers be kept as far away from you as possible then you can obviously afford to fly private 🙂

  75. Why not just roll out a “baby-class”. I bet that parents would be willing to pay to make their trips more comfortable, and the rest of the plane would love to contain the noise to one area. The area would allow for a little more room, kid-friendly snacks, adult-friendly drinks (Lord knows we need this when traveling with babies) A place in the restroom to put your baby while you go. Seriously-where do you put the kid while your peeing and traveling alone?! Especially lap children. There would be privacy curtains for nursing or if baby is sleeping, equipped with ‘do not wake the little monster’ signs. A safe space for parents traveling with babies to avoid the judgement of others for something that is completely beyond their control. Most recently I flew from Nuremberg to Malta with my one year old. The flight back he caught a fever and of course we didn’t have any Tylenol. I tried to make light of the situation. I told our seatmate, “When Lady Gaga does it, they call it singing” she didn’t care for my joke. Many passengers gave us dirty looks (as if I was the one crying or something?) I am seriously considering getting us BOTH first class tickets from Nuremberg to Boston this summer. I feel as a mom, I deserve comfort as well.

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