FIRST CLASS FAMILIES BY JEN
A child entering First or Business Class on an aircraft can stir intense grumbling from surrounding passengers whom have paid a fair sum to be sitting in what they believe should be a quiet cabin. Does this mean children shouldn’t be allowed to fly Business or First Class? Or should it be that all children travel only in Economy?
It’s a tough question to answer because I can see it from both sides. When I am travelling alone on a work trip, the joy of sitting back into the comfort of my airline seat irrespective of class I am travelling is like a place of refuge for a normally busy working mum of 5 children. This is because I am entering a straight 8 to 10 hours of reading, watching a movie or tv show of my choice, eating a meal in it’s entirety without a child clambering to my leg or asking me for something. When I have my kids in tow (and admittedly there are a few of them!) it’s a whole different ball game. My kids could all be in a fine mood and be super easy travellers, polite and responsive to my directions as we board the aircraft. Or it could look like this, one 5 year old chucking a wobbly because I accidentally packed his favourite stuffed toy into the checked baggage while the twin 2-year-olds are fighting about which identical mini cabin bag is theirs! Chances are, that in 45 mins time when we are all seated and plane has taken off, that same 5-year-old is now happily watching a movie and the twins are eating their dinner chatting between them as if nothing happened prior. But when I get on the plane this time, I am making sure I still have 5 kids by the time I get on the plane, have answered 1500 questions about how long the flight takes or what they will get to eat, ensured everyone has what they need for the duration of the flight at hand, and helped them with seatbelts and negotiated who is sitting next to who! Trust me, on these occasions, I land in my seat slightly differently to when I land in my seat on solo flights. Exhausted and relieved all in one.
Now when I am travelling solo, do I spot a child and roll my eyes? Yes and no. Okay if I do spot a family, it might not be so quiet as I had planned. But you know what, sometimes sitting near a delighted child who squeals with joy as they take off on their first exciting flight experience is much more enjoyable to watch than sitting next to a grumpy overtired adult who snores.
Travel is about the unknown, anything can change when you travel. The flight might be delayed, the weather might not be as you expected and your plans thus have to adapt. I think with kids travelling up the front end of the plane, our mindset has to change to one of adapting to alternative needs. Admittedly no one is going to love sitting next to a screaming baby for hours on end irrespective of which end of the plane it is at. There are flights that run smoothly without a hitch, and others that just seem frustrating and not as enjoyable. It’s life. If you travel, be flexible. It will help you survive many a flight. First, Business and Economy class are all open to families with children. Be kind, considerate and compassionate and you just never know how thankful the person sitting next to you might be for that.
CEO & Lead Travel Designer
“Don’t get so busy making a living, that you forget to make a life” – Dolly Parton