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Should babies be allowed in first class? Of course...

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The topic of whether or not babies should be allowed in first class is once again being widely discussed online, so I wanted to share my thoughts on it. Although I’m a new parent, my opinion on this hasn’t changed in years – yes, babies are (and should be) allowed in first class.

The argument against allowing babies in first class

The New York Times ran a story in its travel section this week, titled “Babies in First Class: Which Side of the Aisle Are You On?” The story interviews some travelers (like the one 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 more for greater comfort and relaxation. The presence of a baby, with its potential crying and fussing, would disturb 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 firm stance that babies shouldn’t be allowed in first class. His argument is similar to all the arguments we see in favor of banning babies in first class – people pay a lot of extra money to sit in first class, and for that amount they should be able to expect relaxation.

Why babies should be allowed in first class

Let me start by acknowledging the obvious – virtually nobody likes to sit next to or near someone else’s baby on an airplane. I mean, it would be kind of weird if you did. This applies to whatever stateroom you are in. Also, most responsible parents dread the idea of ​​their baby disturbing others on flights and do everything they can to avoid it.

With that in mind, let me address a few points…

Babies are allowed 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 all airlines and in virtually all cabins. So it’s ok to ′′ want ′′ things to be different, but that’s the reality. I would also like to see Emirates fly the A380 to Miami and drop the Skywards frequent flyer program, but that’s unlikely to happen.

Babies are allowed in first class, plain and simple.

Airlines don’t promise ‘relaxation’ in first class

The key argument people make in favor of banning babies in first class is that airlines are promising “relaxation” in first class. This is usually not necessary. When you book a premium seat, you’re paying for more space, lounge access, priority services and premium food and beverage.

For example, see web pages that describe the premium products of the “big three” US carriers, including American Flagship Business, Delta One and United Polaris. Nowhere does he set expectations on other passengers, creating a relaxing environment.

Now, if we wanted to create new rules about etiquette in first class versus the rest of the plane, I wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to that. I’ve seen too many adults in first class acting like children, so maybe we can banish them?

But I think people are missing the distinction between paying a premium for a little more space on a commercial aircraft and flying privately. If you really want to control your surroundings, the private flight is for you.

Airlines do not promise relaxation in premium cabins

Parents with babies also pay to sit in first class

People like to argue that babies should be banned from first class because people in first class pay a lot of money to sit there. I think a reality check is in order here:

  • Parents who choose to sit in first class are also paying for that privilege in the same way.
  • While international first class is expensive, domestic first class is often slightly more expensive than economy; you are paying for some extra space, usually at a reasonable premium and nothing more
  • Parents with babies have many legitimate reasons for wanting to sit in first class – it can be easier to keep your baby well-behaved if you have a little more room, and some parents may be concerned about their baby’s illness, and the chances of this are minimized if you are not so close to other travelers
Many parents also value being in first class

sound travels

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

So does it really make a difference whether a baby is in the back row of first class or the front row of economy?

There are often no bulkheads between 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 can scream quite a bit, as many factors can affect this. However, we all hope that parents at least try to control their baby and minimize disruption to others.

On the other hand, you see some parents – and they could be in first class or economy – who seem completely uninterested in taking care of their children. People are understandably frustrated by this, regardless of where they’re sitting.

Irresponsible Parents Are Frustrating Everywhere

Would I travel with our baby first class?

As I said, the above is my perspective of how things should be. Although I am a new parent, I have held the same beliefs about this for a long time. That said, how comfortable would I be 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. Instead, I see it as paying a little more for more space.

That said, I could see that it would be just as comfortable to buy just three seats in economy (as opposed to traveling with a baby in arms in first class), because then there would be a place to put a car seat. My decision would be based on what is best in a particular situation based on price, how full a flight is, etc.

What about international flights in first and business class? Well, while I absolutely think babies should be allowed in these premium cabins, I’m not sure how comfortable I would be traveling with an infant. Why? Because I don’t want to be looked at from the side the entire flight by premium travelers who think they’ve paid for “relaxation” and a baby-free environment with their ticket, even if that doesn’t reflect reality.

I would absolutely do everything in my power to disturb others as little as possible, but it’s almost inevitable that a baby will cry at least a little during a flight. So on some level, I suppose the anti-baby push works, even if there aren’t rule changes.

Not sure I would be comfortable traveling with a baby in international first class

In short

Infants are allowed in first class and infants must be allowed in first class. When you book a premium seat, you pay for more space and extra amenities. You’re not paying to have your fellow travelers vetted to make sure they can “play the part” (if so, many adults should be banned too).

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

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