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Should babies be allowed in first class? Sure...

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Whether or not infants should be allowed in first class is once again widely debated online, so I wanted to share my views on this. While i am a new dadmy opinion on this hasn’t changed in years – yes, babies are (and should be) allowed in first class.

The argument against allowing babies is first class

The New York Times published an article in its travel section this week titled “Baby First Class: Which Side of the Aisle Are You On?” The story interviews some travelers (as below), and the argument against babies in first class basically boils down to people claiming they pay extra for “relaxation” in first class:

“First class is a premium space where passengers pay extra for comfort and relaxation. The presence of a baby, with its potential for crying and fussiness, would disrupt the peaceful atmosphere and ruin the experience for other passengers.

This topic was even discussed on CNBC’s Squawk Box, with Andrew Ross Sorkin taking a strong stand that babies shouldn’t be allowed in first class. His argument is similar to all the arguments we see for banning babies in first class – people pay so much extra money to sit in first class, and for that amount of money they should be able expect relaxation.

Why babies should be allowed in first class

Let me start by acknowledging the obvious – hardly anyone likes to sit next to or near someone else’s baby on a plane. I mean, it would be a little weird if you did. This applies regardless of the cabin you are in. Also, most responsible parents dread the idea of ​​their baby disturbing others during flights and do everything they can to avoid it.

With that in mind, let me touch on a few points…

Infants are admitted in first class

While it’s clear that some people don’t want babies allowed in first class, the current reality is that babies of all ages are allowed in first class on virtually every airline and in virtually every cabin. So it’s fine to “want” things to be different, but that’s just the reality. I would also like Emirates to fly the A380 to Miami and downgrade the Skywards frequent flyer program, but that’s unlikely to happen.

Babies are allowed in first class, plain and simple

Airlines do not promise “relaxation” in first class

The basic argument people make for banning infants in first class is that airlines promise “relaxation” in first class. This is generally not accurate. When you reserve a premium seat, you pay for more space, lounge access, priority services and premium food and beverages.

For example, look at web pages describing premium products from the “big three” U.S. carriers, including American flag business, DeltaOneand united polaris. Nowhere does this create expectations of other passengers creating a relaxing environment.

Now if we want to create new rules on first class etiquette vs. in the rest of the plane, I wouldn’t necessarily be against that. I saw a lot of adults in first class behaving like children, so maybe we can ban them?

But I think people don’t distinguish between paying extra for a little more space on a commercial plane and flying private. If you really want to control the environment around you, then private flight is for you.

Airlines don’t promise relaxation in premium cabins

Parents with babies also pay to sit in the first class

People like to say that babies should be banned from first class because first class people paid so much money to sit there. I think a reality check is in order here:

  • Parents who choose to sit in first class also pay for this privilege in the same way
  • While international first class is expensive, domestic first class is often slightly more expensive than economy; you pay for additional space, often at a reasonable price, and nothing more
  • Parents with babies have plenty of legitimate reasons for wanting to sit in first class too – it may be easier to keep your baby well-behaved if you have a bit more space, and some parents might worry that their baby do not get sick, and the chances of this being minimized if you are not as close to other travelers
Many parents also appreciate being first class

The sound travels

On your standard domestic flight, there is not much separation between first class and economy class. Heck, there is often not even a separation between the cabins anymore. Sound travels, so realistically if you’re seated in first class and there’s a crying baby in front of the economy, you’ll hear it.

So, does it really make a difference if a baby is last row in first class or first row in economy class?

There are often not even partitions between the cabins

Irresponsible parents are frustrating everywhere

Obviously, people have all kinds of different parenting styles. I am always impressed when I see parents who plan their flights recognizing the challenges they may face. Of course, a baby may cry a little, as many factors can have an impact on this. However, we all hope parents will at least try to control their baby and minimize disruption to others.

Conversely, you see some parents – and they may be first class or economy class – who seem completely uninterested in caring for their children. People are understandably frustrated with this no matter where they are sitting.

Irresponsible parents are frustrating everywhere

Would I travel with our baby in first class?

Like I said, the above is my take on how things should be. Although I am a new parent, I held the same beliefs about this for a very long time. That being said, how comfortable would I feel traveling with our son in premium cabins?

In domestic first class, I would have no qualms about traveling with a baby. I don’t see domestic first class as an ultra-exclusive experience. I see it more as paying a bit more for more space.

That being said, I could see it was just as comfortable buying three seats in economy class (rather than traveling with a baby on your lap in first class) because that way there would be somewhere to put a car seat. My decision would be based on what is better in a particular situation based on price, how full a flight is, etc.

What about first class and business class international flights? Well, while I absolutely think babies should be allowed in these premium cabins, I don’t know how comfortable I would feel traveling with a baby. Why? Because I don’t want to stare at all the flight of premium travelers who think they paid for “relaxation” and a baby-free environment with their ticket, even if that doesn’t reflect reality.

I would do absolutely everything in my power to disturb others as little as possible, but it is almost inevitable that a baby will cry at least a little during a flight. So on some level, I guess the anti-baby peer pressure works, even if there’s no rule change.

I’m not sure I would feel comfortable traveling with a baby in international first class

net profit

Infants are allowed in first class and infants should be allowed in first class. When you book a premium seat, you pay for more space and additional amenities. You don’t pay to have your fellow travelers screened, to make sure they can “play the part” (if so, many adults should be banned as well).

Naturally, no one wants to sit next to someone else’s baby on a plane, but sadly, that’s just the reality of commercial aviation. If you want complete control over who is sitting near you, buying a private jet is your only option.

Where do you stand on babies in the first class debate?

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