First Class Baby

April 28, 2008 by Kailani  
Filed under flight attendant stories

On my recent flight to the West Coast, we had a couple and infant daughter sitting in first class. Unfortunately, the baby started to cry as soon as they got on board. As first, the passengers around them gave them sympathetic smiles. However, those friendly smiles turned to disapproving stares when the baby would not stop crying. She cried during taxi, she cried during take-off, she pretty much cried off and on for the next hour.

The man sitting across the aisle from them started to get upset. “They shouldn’t allow babies in first class.”, he muttered under his breath. I felt so sorry for the Mom who was desperately trying to console her child. However, all parents know that sometimes when your baby is crying, there is only so much you can do. All the comforting, feeding, and distractions just doesn’t work.

This sparked a debate amongst my co-workers – Should babies be allowed in first class? If not, at what age would it be acceptable? And remember, we’re just talking about first class, not the entire plane.

On one hand, if the parents are willing to pay for a first class ticket for their child, then don’t they have the right to sit there? However, what about the other passengers who also paid a lot of money to enjoy the comforts of first class? Don’t they have the right to some peace and quiet?

So I’m throwing this out to you. What’s your opinion? Just please don’t flame someone else’s opposing view point.

Comment Spotlight by Arizona of The Crazy People Next Door:

I had to laugh at what sweetpeas said about someone smelling like garlic. I was on a plane near someone who kept farting throughout the trip and it was so disgusting. I would have rather had 5 babies screaming their heads off than that one person with gas. You can hand out headphones if a baby cries, but how do you block out a nasty smell? I say let babies on board and kick off the farters.

About the author:
Owner and founder of An Island Life. Sharing my life as a mother to 3 wonderful daughters, working as a flight attendant, and living a blessed life in Hawaii.
Kailani

Comments

39 Responses to “First Class Baby”
  1. Pamela says:

    I’m partial to babies.

  2. thefarmerfiles says:

    YES babies should be allowed in first class. I have flown first class with both of my children from Hawaii to the mainland, 5 hours. Last summer, my baby was 3 months old, and the eldest was 2.5 and just potty trained. We were up every hour to take him to the bathroom and that alone irritated other passengers in first class, for just walking past them. He wasn’t even talking! We had a DVD player for him and that worked really well. Where do you start to draw the line? We generally fly in first or business class to the mainland from Hawaii. Should pets be allowed in first class? What if you are allergic to cats or dogs and you have paid all of this money to be wheezing the whole way? Or have to sit next to someone who has just smoked before boarding, and you have really bad asthma, like my husband? He has to deal with all of these things when he flies alone, in first class. At least when we fly as a family we take up three seats in first class and are only subjected to sitting next to one another. The three month old slept the majority of the trip when he wasn’t nursing. :)

    thefarmerfiles’s last blog post..Save the Stress and Have Some Cake

  3. Papaya Mom says:

    Children are people too – they deserve to be in first class if they have paid like everyone else.

    Don’t like it? Buy earplugs.

    Papaya Mom’s last blog post..Too Long

  4. Jane says:

    In favor of baby!

    We are flying from Mozambique to Seattle tomorrow with a 12-mo-old, and my hubby and I were just debating the pros & cons of an airline which has a reputation for bumping people up to first class. I said there was no point in using that as a pro, since there is no way they would bump up a 12-mo-old!

    However, if I am willing to pay for it, the airline should just kindly distribute ear plugs and sleeping pills to everyone in the vicinity.

    Jane’s last blog post..Oceans Apart – For the Sake of the Call

  5. Anne says:

    I like babies. But I figure if the parents can pay for the ticket then they can be there. I would personally try to bring things to keep the baby from crying I dunno never flew with my babies

    Anne’s last blog post..Have Lysol Will Spray

  6. Amanda Regan says:

    I have not & will not fly with my son until he is at least seven years old. The changes in cabin pressure & other discomforts such as ears popping are too bewildering and uncomfortable for a young child to deal with let alone understand. I would much rather wait till my son is old enough to enjoy the flight and old enough to not irritate the other passengers. The other passengers have paid good money (specially in first class) to travel in comfort & to enjoy their flight. Not everyone enjoys listening to children crying & they shouldn’t be trapped for hours with no option of escape just because they have spent hundreds to fly on a plane.

    Amanda Regan’s last blog post..Before And After

  7. Kelly@SHE-POWER says:

    Good question, kailani.

    My opinion is first class or economy, we all pay good money to fly and people have a right to bring their children on board. Every time you go out in public, plane or no plane, you take the risk of being annoyed or offended by other people. Why is a plane any different?

    You take your chances when you do anything in life and maybe people should try having a bit more empathy. That mum would have felt SO BAD. I’ve been there. It’s embarrassing and you can feel like the worst mother in the world when your kid misbehaves or cries. I had some mortifying experiences when my son was a tantruming toddler. I am so glad that’s over.

    Kelly

    Kelly@SHE-POWER’s last blog post..What is the Music of Your Life?

  8. Keri says:

    If the parents paid for the first class seating they should be able to have their child with them. The man who got upset maybe didn’t have any children therefore he was annoyed by the child. I probably would be to because I don’t have children and don’t really understand what it takes to make a child be quite, but I wouldn’t make it obvious that I was annoyed. He could have just put his headphones on and turned the volume up.

    Keri’s last blog post..Plus-sized Beauty Queen? Mission NOT-Impossible.

  9. Kelly @ Pass the Torch says:

    Kids are people too!

    Kelly @ Pass the Torch’s last blog post..My first post – Take your kid to work day

  10. Cathi says:

    Non-rev babies only sit in the main cabin. Paying babies sit where ever they want. Unfortunately for the grumpy man, the baby and her parents bought their seats and had as much right to sit there as he did. Perhaps he or other disgruntled passengers could have put in ear plugs or worn first-class headphones.

    Cathi’s last blog post..The Perils Of Being Two!

  11. Renee says:

    I know that in my life before kids I would have probably have been as insensitive as that person. However, now that I’ve grown up I’ve come to expect that babies cry.
    I believe that if a person pays for first class they have every much of a right to be there…(having NEVER flown first class myself).
    But the First class ticket does not entitle you to a quiet flight…it is merely the bigger seats and the better food.
    What’s next? Rock Stars can’t fly first class because they play their headphones too loud and sing to the music?

    People need to learn to get along with each other while we are on this planet. If you are annoyed by other people you should just stay home!

    That said, I wonder what was bothering the baby. Poor little one and poor mom.

    Renee’s last blog post..ARGH! Why can’t I find anything that I want???

  12. amy says:

    I don’t have children, and I realize that babies cry. If the parents paid for the tickets, then the baby sits in first class. If the baby and the parents had been in the first row of the “regular” class, they still would have heard it. Planes are not sound proof and people just have to deal with who is on the plane with them.

    amy’s last blog post..My birthday

  13. Qtpies7 says:

    That is a tough one. Technically, the parents have the right to buy whatever tickets they want, but people do buy First Class to have a less miserable flight.
    Being a mom, I am partial in this one.

    It is like our gym membership. Kids are allowed in the pool if there is a lane open. No jumping or splashing,etc. But the room is really, really loud because of big fans, etc. So in order to be heard they have to talk a bit louder. Swimmers have complained about the “screaming kids” in the pool, when they were actually being good.
    However, I pay more for my membership than they do, who has more rights? They do.

    What is my opinion? Grow a pair, people! You were a kid once, too, and had to cry when you were in pain, deal with it.

    Qtpies7’s last blog post..Do Hard Things!

  14. Jen @ One Moms World says:

    Absolutely they have a right in first class. Babies are a miracle and I am definitely partial to babies. The mom wasn’t being a bad mom, she was trying to console. Don’t they give earphones for music on the plane hehe? So the man should just wear them LOL.

    Jen @ One Moms World’s last blog post..Mother’s Day Giveaway

  15. Maribeth says:

    This is a very good question and has gotten me to delurk.

    Yes, the baby has a right to be in First Class if her parents bought the seat for HER. However, if they bought seats for themselves and not a baby seat as well, then I think when the baby really started to cry loudly then the mother or the father should have asked if there might be an empty seat in the back where she/he would not disturb the others. When I think of the cost of FC, I think I would be upset by a screaming child. However, if I could see that the parents had paid for the seat then I would have to shut up and cope, right?
    I know when I go out to restaurants I get pretty ticked off if there are screaming kids, and I so appreciate the parents who walks the child for a spell.

    Now don’t slam me everyone. I love kids! I had two of my own and I have three grands. I really LOVE kids. And I also traveled with them and my dachshunds. I kept them all quiet lest I get tossed from Business Class. Yes, dachshunds can fly Business! LOL!!!

    Maribeth’s last blog post..Mari, Mari, How Does Your Garden Grow? (2008)

  16. Melissa says:

    Hmmm… I think if you’re willing to pay for the ticket, then you should be allowed to sit wherever you’d like… no matter your age. But I can see the viewpoint of the other passengers. It would be frustrating to pay for that upgrade and feel like it was a waste :S

  17. Crazy Daisy says:

    I’m in favor of the baby. No matter where the baby would have been crying(first class or otherwise), someone would have been upset about paying good money for a ticket to listen to a baby cry.

    Crazy Daisy’s last blog post..Bloggy Giveaway Winner AND 100th POST Surprise!

  18. Sweetpeas says:

    What if someone in First Class smells like garlic, do they get kicked out because the smell is annoying to others? Or what about a very talkative will.not.shut.up adult sitting next to me, do they get kicked out because I want peace & quiet? How about a very large person who crowds the person next to them? Do we kick them out? . . . you pay the extra for first class for fewer people, bigger, more comfortable seats, and whatever else is included (better food? quicker food? I can’t afford first class LOL). Anyway . . . you don’t pay the extra to get to dictate what other people have the right to pay for the same perk! What is someone doesn’t like people of another ethnicity, do they get to say that it’s disturbing to them to sit next to a person of that ethnicity so that person shouldn’t be in first class?

    It all seems the same to me! I’ve been on planes with babies who cried the ENTIRE flight (& honestly, my main thought was “those poor parents & that poor baby!!!!” and this was when I was 22 and didn’t have kids yet, wasn’t even sure I wanted them) and I’ve been on planes with babies who were happy as clams the whole time.

    Sweetpeas’s last blog post..Menu Plan Monday

  19. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    We used to fly constantly when our first daughter was a baby. (We lived in California, my husband worked in Florida, and much of our family was in Minnesota. Oy.)

    Occasionally, we would get updated to first class, due to his frequent flyer status. I remember we would get lots of nervous glances from the other passengers when we took those first-class seats. Thankfully, she was a champion flyer who rarely cried. (Nursing during take-off and landing did the trick with her ears.)

    So while I understand the discomfort, I don’t think first class should be different than any other place on the plane.

    Kelly @ Love Well’s last blog post..We Have a Winner

  20. debbie says:

    About 5 years ago, when flying with my 2 sons from Japan to the States, my youngest (about 1 at that time), pretty much cried and fussed for 7 of the 11 1/2 hour flight. I kept apologizing to the people around me and one man leaned over and said…”don’t worry about it…we have headphones, you do what you have to do”. That made me feel so much better…plus the flight attendants were so nice and helpful…
    In First Class, yes, you pay a large amount of money, but…as others have stated before, if a seat has been purchased, a person of any age can sit there. I canNOT tell you how many times I have been stuck, in economy class, with a Japanese man next to me who drinks too much and tries to speak in English to me. As the man in FC should have done, I put on the headset and pretended to be asleep.

    debbie’s last blog post..A quick post before I fall into my futon…

  21. Krista says:

    An interesting question to be sure! I want to know what you flight attendants opinion was! Or what was the majority opinion?
    My opinion is that the baby has every right to be there. Some people say, well, you just shouldn’t fly with a baby, but what if that baby’s grandparents live too far away to drive and they aren’t able to travel?
    I also think the baby should be allowed in first class even if they didn’t pay for the baby’s own seat. I don’t know if airlines even allow that. But what difference does it make? The parents probably paid for 2 first class seats so they should be able to sit there. They have their reasons to be there just like you do. Like extra space, food (so they don’t have to haul that as well as all their child’s gear) and a handy bathroom maybe?
    Personally if I knew my child was cranky I wouldn’t want to fly. My son screamed non-stop for the first 3 months of his life. There was nothing I could do about it. If you’re not going to be a hermit (like others have mentioned) you are going to have to deal with crying babies at some point in your life. If they bother you that much just be glad you don’t have to live with them and can walk away at the end of the flight. I especially think that man was out of line and very rude. Does he think he’s better than everyone else and gets to fly in comfort? It’s a public space even if you did pay for your ticket.
    I think this hit a nerve with me…
    The most annoying passenger I ever encountered was on an early morning flight – he had 2 seats to himself and was watching some comedy video with his portable DVD player (he had headphones) and apparently thought it was so funny he was laughing out loud, repeatedly, and very loudly. Talk about obnoxious. And this flight was so small there wasn’t a 1st class option.

    Krista’s last blog post..Stir Crazy

  22. mp says:

    GREAT DEBATE!!!

    I can see both sides to this…if a parent has a baby they shouldn’t be told where they can or cannot sit w/ children. If they pay for first class then they should be allowed the same rites as anyone else..in the same breath I think as a single business traveler..or for vacation I would expect more service and more peace and quite in 1st class. I crying toddler is the last think I would want to tolerate.

    I think the answer is for the airline to have a family friendly area of the plane..of course this wouldn’t be on the smaller MD88’s or anything but especially for 3+ hours of flight.. that way as a parent you don’t have to worry about your child..and being embarrased..and as a kid maybe you are closer to the potty..or have more room.. or does that make too much sense? LOL

    mp’s last blog post..Cleaning House

  23. yoshi says:

    If you pay for the ticket, you should be able to do whatever you want with it.

    I think the person who said babys shouldn’t be allowed in first class was very rude.

    Why should we discriminate who someone is for sitting in first class? seriously. they can’t help being a baby.

    ugh. I hate people.

    yoshi’s last blog post..Overheard

  24. Alexia says:

    First class tickets are more expensive bc you get bigger seats, more room, better service, less pple using the same bathroom etc. Nowhere does it say that you paid extra money so you could pick and choose who sits in 1st class with you. Sounds like discrimination to me.

    Alexia’s last blog post..Intresting Pictures

  25. Jacki says:

    Parents with children have a right to sit wherever they want to. I mean, I have sat beside people who get annoyingly drunk during flights, so why is it okay for someone to get drunk and obnoxious but not okay for a baby to cry?

    Jacki’s last blog post..I’m back!

  26. Amy says:

    Passengers need to expect that there might be a baby crying or children misbehaving or even an adult not behaving appropriately either. I understand you’ve paid a lot for your ticket, but try to have some compassion in all these areas. Just bite your tounge or plug your ears and sing yourself a happy little tune until you land!

    Amy’s last blog post..Full Friday!

  27. Holly Schwendiman says:

    I think that attitude of both sides is the real question. Regulations are often an excuse to justify why one person’s needs are more important than another’s. I think we need to spend more time developing forgotten arts of decorum and charm in today’s world – thinking more of others than ourselves and issues like this wouldn’t be issues at all.

    Hugs,
    Holly

  28. annaliza says:

    ever since i traveled with my (then) 15 month and 3 year old, i say they deserve to be in first class. never again will i travel in coach with babies.

    its hard to say with the crying thing. i mean, why was the baby crying? could the mom had been prepared for this? should she have brought something that would soothe the baby to reduce the crying time? my heart still goes out to her since my own trip a few years ago.

  29. groovyoldlady says:

    Groovy is pro baby.

    groovyoldlady’s last blog post..‘Twas a Mistake!

  30. Vader's Mom says:

    I stand on the opposite side from most of your readers. Of course this could be because I am not a parent. I think that the rule of non-rev should apply across the board to all. Only older children should be able to enjoy the privilege of FC flying.

    Vader’s Mom’s last blog post..Dream Lucky

  31. Tonya says:

    The no-rev thing is crazy. Its the airlines CHOICE not to charge for a baby seat. Besides its more profit for the airline. If they charged for the babies seat, which it will obviously not use, then another adult would be unable to purchase that ticket. I’ve flown in economy class and had to deal with peoples children crying, why should people in economy be viewed as less worthy of a quite flight just because they can’t afford a first class ticket?

    For some reason people have taken to being so rude to children and their parents. I had a man yell at me once because Nate was crying. Heaven forbid that his child ever cry in public.

    This is no different than the moms that were told they would have to breastfeed their baby in the bathroom because it bothered other customers. They were paying customers too!

    Babies and children are part of the world and if you don’t want to have to deal with them then don’t go out in public.

    Tonya’s last blog post..Coconut S’mores

  32. Arizona says:

    I had to laugh at what sweetpeas said about someone smelling like garlic. I was on a plane near someone who kept farting throughout the trip and it was so disgusting. I would have rather had 5 babies screaming their heads off than that one person with gas. You can hand out headphones if a baby cries, but how do you block out a nasty smell? I say let babies on board and kick off the farters.

    Arizona’s last blog post..Shoe Whacking and Other Tales

  33. diana/sunshine says:

    i can sympathize with both sides of the argument and could go either way. i enjoy kids and being a mom, know that they cry and can be disruptive.

    most of the time i’m okay with it. but the last flight i was on there was a baby who cried the whole time – 2 1/2 hours. it did get to the point where i was getting frustrated (imagine the mom!)

    if that had happened while sitting in – and paying for – first class, i would be a little upset that i spent so much money for a miserable flight.

    but like some of your commentors said, where do you draw the line? just the baby situation – 6 months? 1 year? or what? who would determine what age is appropriate for first class? plus, we all need to be a little bit more tolerant and flexible, especially while flying.

    diana/sunshine’s last blog post..photo contest

  34. Rach (Heart of Rachel) says:

    As a mom, I would prefer that babies still be allowed in any class. It’s sad how less understanding some people can be towards crying children. I understand that perhaps some are tired and hoping for a good rest but we cannot help it if children cry during a flight. I wish people can be more considerate.

    Rach (Heart of Rachel)’s last blog post..Heads or Tails #31

  35. kelley says:

    Great post! I think if that parent paid for 1st class and she is doing the best she can….she should be there. AS Arizona said above, there are sooo many worse things than a baby crying. We all have to make adjustments when traveling…think about the close talker, the one who is in your face from take off to touch down, the seat kickers, the over packers that carry way too darn much on, the ones who get up to the bathroom every minute, I’m not even going to go into how &when people eat on a plane….just like Arizona said…”at least you can put on head phones” and in 1st class get your self a cocktail. IT cant be all that bad!

    kelley’s last blog post..Photo Contest

  36. Jen @ JenuineJen says:

    As someone who has flown first class in the past (from frequent flier miles and from my own cost) the only real advantage I see to it is that you get larger seats with more legroom. Noise, food, everything else seems inconsequential to the comfort of the seat and legroom to me.

    Oh, there is one other HUGE advantage if you are flying first class (or are a frequent flier) and you are flying out of Atlanta, first class and higher level frequent fliers get moved to the front of the security line. This is a big deal on those busy, holiday days at the world’s busiest airport.

    With that being said, personally for me, I think babies and children should be allowed if first class if the parents (or caretakers) have made such arrangements for themselves. Again, my reasons for first class are soley for legroom and really not much of anything else.

    My husband said that if a person does not like babies in first class, then the person should charter their own plane and set their rules for who can fly with them. Then he said, “Better yet, they can get a pilot’s licemse and fly your own plane when ever and where ever you want.”

    Jen @ JenuineJen’s last blog post..Circle of Life

  37. AreWeThereYetMom says:

    I was thinking about this yesterday. Having worked in both family and fine dining restaurants, I could see people were less tolerable to crying infants/children in fine dining. And it’s not a fair comparison between restaurants and planes, because a restaurant you can leave the table when your child starts crying. My thoughts are people should be tolerable either way. Regardless of the amount of money someone spends, we are all equal and we’ve all been there.

    AreWeThereYetMom’s last blog post..Voting is OPEN for April’s Photo Contest

  38. Kristen says:

    If I had the priveledge to sit in first class, I would NOT want to be there with MY son. I would send him to the back with his Dad. So I guess personally having a kid who cries on plane rides, I would want peace and quiet in FC.

  39. Melissa Markham says:

    Now that I am settled in here in Illinois and school is over I have some time to actually catch up on some RSS feeds. I can’t beleive it has been a month!

    This is a great question. My hubby says, babies shouldn’t be allowed in first class. I say babies should be allowed wherever their parents pay to have them. I think if you polled 100 men and 100 women, more men would say no and more women would say yes.

    It is hard flying with young children, but sometimes there isn’t any other option!

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