Is it cool to have a toddler in First Class?
Immediate Answer: It is all about the parents!
I was recently on a flight where several of us pondered this question. The second we all sat down, everyone looked to the side (out of the corner of their eye) at the crying two year old (or so) that was sitting on her mother’s lap in first class. I could tell everybody had a moment of “of crap!” Now before I go any further, I should state I got an upgrade to first class because I just plain old asked for it and I do travel a ton for work. I, personally, cannot afford first class tickets. As such, I am pretty laid back about what happens in first class since I consider myself an interloper of sorts. Now back to the story of my recent flight and adventure in first class.
The couple’s child was mildly well-behaved. I would argue that it was the parents that were not so behaved. First off, the parents allowed their child to watch videos on a laptop with no earphones. I understand that earphones for a little kid can be damaging but why do the rest of us have to hear the video? And we all were subjected to the same tune over and over again. The parents showed no embarrassment at this. They acted as if they were entitled to blasting their child’s video. They really didn’t look apologetic nor displayed any attempts to keep the volume at a lower level. Of course, the flight attendants could have readily intervened. Someone could have voiced their concerns. However. they second you do, you come off as the bad guy (girl) that isn’t child-friendly. It gets recorded and placed on YouTube and you are infamous.
Second, the couple kept arguing about who was supposedly watching the kid currently on the plane and who would be stuck with the kid once they were at their destination. While the husband tried to keep a subdued tone, the wife’s voice could be clearly heard through the cabin. Clearly they were stressed by their flying situation. However that stressed was passed onto the rest of us. It wasn’t even an entertaining fight. I was tempted to order them both a drink, as well some rum for the little kid. Hey, they do it in the Caribbean.
Third, the parents changed the girls’ diaper in the seat. This was right around snack time. Can a get a collective yuck? Wow. This just should not be done in any class seat. All of these actually. The reason I singled out first class is because some people paid a lot, a lot of money for such a seat. I assume they expect a certain environment for their money.
I give people a lot of leeway. However, my seat mate and I both had early morning cocktails. You better bet the cocktails had to be free in such an environment. Here is the thing. I felt mostly bothered by the fact the couple felt so entitled to bother or infringe upon other people’s experience. I have traveled extensively with my son since an early stage. I know how difficult it is to travel with a kid. It is how you react to the stress and how you take into account other people that sets the flying experience. I an truly recall only one time I was mortified by my son’s behavior and that was when he cried loudly and painfully as we descended into Panama. Obliviously, it was not his fault and we tried everything we could to calm him down. We got some pity looks and some who wanted to shoot us with their eyes. By the way, we were way near the back of the plane.
A colleague’s answer: Why are children allowed in first class?! They need to start from coach and work their way up!!!
I get it, kids are hard to travel with because they are so emotional and at times can’t readily express what is going on with them. But the parents. The parents can be a bit better behaved.