The wife of FlyerTalk member WBrinegar was reportedly seated with their daughter — who is 22 months of age — in the first class cabin of flight 1149 from Washington, D.C. to Houston operated by United Airlines yesterday when a male passenger arrived at his seat located next to them.
The man supposedly created a scene aboard the airplane and complained about wanting a discount because he was forced to sit next to a child in the first class cabin. Combined with his “audible sighs and grumbles”, the wife of WBrinegar was uncomfortable enough that she went through the trouble of packing all of their belongings and voluntarily switching seats so as not to sit next to this unhappy gentleman.
Is this an obvious case of discrimination — against a person for merely being a child, in this situation — or was the man justified in his behavior?
I do not believe there is a person on this planet who abhors sitting next to a problem child — or problem adult, for that matter — more than I, as I want my experience seated aboard a commercial airplane as a passenger to be as pleasant as possible.
However, this man was simply wrong, in my opinion.
It is dangerous to presuppose how a person will behave during a flight. I would rather sit next to a well-behaved child than a jerk of an adult.
I do not want to sit next to a sick person, but what if that person did everything he or she can do to prevent spreading his or her germs to fellow passengers? Would you rather have that person sit next to you than an inconsiderate person who may be healthy but coughs and sneezes all over you without hesitation?
There are overweight people whose girth is larger than mine but will attempt in any way they can to not imposed on their seatmates aboard an airplane. Would you rather sit next to a person who is not overweight but will inconsiderately infringe upon the space to which you are rightfully entitled?
One lesson I have learned in life is to be careful for what you ask, as it just might come true. In the case of the male passenger in question, I would not be the least bit surprised if the chance that he sat next to a person who would cause him to wish that he had never changed his seat in the first place became a reality.
Now, it would be a different story if the child caused problems: screamed throughout the flight, puked all over him, kicked him incessantly, or otherwise would not leave him alone — but then again, there are adults who can be guilty of similar inconsiderate behaviors. It is once problems arise that a person may have a valid complaint and may even be entitled to some compensation — but that clearly was not the case here.
What are your thoughts about this incident? Does it really matter whether or not the passenger seated next to you is a baby, an infant or a toddler? If the child is indeed a problem, is it the fault of the parents? Should children be banned from the premium class cabin altogether?