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Case Closed? Miss Manners Says It’s OK to Bring Kids in Business Class

Case Closed? Miss Manners Says It’s OK to Bring Kids in Business Class
Jennifer Billock

Should children be allowed in first or business class on airplanes? Some passengers don’t think so, while others don’t see the problem. Miss Manners herself weighed in on the issue to determine which seating class is the proper one for families traveling with their children on flights.

Recently, a passenger flying business class witnessed an altercation between a parent and another passenger. Apparently the parent paid for her child to have a business class seat as well, and the child was not behaving properly. The childless passenger said something to the parent, who replied with, “I purchased a ticket just like you did. My kid has every right to be here. My kid is a kid and can’t help it.”

The other passenger did not agree, and it turned into an argument the flight attendants had to intervene in. The observing passenger wrote to Miss Manners, asking if it’s alright to have children in business class.

Miss Manners had a very simple response: “Very little is succeeding in not [getting on passengers’ nerves] nowadays. People have gone so far as to bring their emotional support rodents to deal with the stress of it all. Miss Manners cannot help but be amused by the image of irate business class passengers seated next to actual rats, rather than imagined ones. They might start to appreciate human children. It is public transport: There is nothing prohibitive about who sits in which class except for the cost itself. And while it is to be hoped that no diapers will be changed outside of the restrooms, your examples provide evidence that rudeness knows no age limits.”



View Comments (17)


  1. sfoeuroflyer

    February 12, 2019 at 8:00 am

    “My kid is a kid and can’t help it”? Huh???? No as a parent that person has a duty to raise the child to behave properly. Unfortunately there is a disease widespread in the US where parents indulge their children rather than teaching them proper behavior. The parent does not acquire the right to inflict a misbehaving child on other passengers merely because that parent has purchased a ticket.

  2. ExplorerWannabe


    February 12, 2019 at 8:20 am

    I don’t have a problem with kids in business class. I DO have a problem with parents not controlling their children’s behavior in ANY class.

  3. Flight44

    February 12, 2019 at 9:02 am

    If you can control your children, fine, they can sit there. If not, please, don’t take them aboard an airplane in any cabin.


  4. chavala

    February 12, 2019 at 9:18 am

    I admit I still read her column out of habit, but nobody cares what this old biddy thinks anymore. She’s completely out of touch with modern reality.

  5. strickerj

    February 12, 2019 at 9:27 am

    While she says it isn’t inherently rude to bring a child in business class, she isn’t approving of kids misbehaving and parents failing to control them.

  6. Maestro Ramen

    February 12, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    “The child was not behaving properly”

    Was it screaming and throwing their toys at other passengers? (I was about to say kicking the seats, but in J with the hard shells it probably wouldn’t matter).

    ….or did it forget to say thank you and hold their knife in their left hand.

  7. tbuccelli

    February 13, 2019 at 6:23 am

    Some travelers are just upset that children are taking “their”seats in first. Sometimes with the quirkiness of award redemption it was cheaper / barely more expensive to cash in miles and fly the family in first vs coach. The stares we received with the 4 kids. Then again, my children were well behaved, sat nicely and read their books or played with their small toys. They also said please and thank you. They actually were better behaved than many of the people I see flying there today.

  8. Dalo

    February 13, 2019 at 6:59 am

    Miss Manners gives THE WORD !

  9. blue2002

    February 13, 2019 at 10:03 am

    Commercial aviation is a form of public transportation. Passangers of all age groups can partake. If somebody can’t accept it, business jets are there to ease their suffering.

  10. AsiaTravel2019

    February 13, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    So, I am going to be that person. Here goes.

    Business class is a premium product that costs multiple thousands of dollars per seat. It is no place for small children. Kids being loud, making noise, not sleeping or being quiet when passengers are trying to sleep is simply unacceptable.

    Airlines can do what they want, but they had better tread lightly. One business class ticket to an unruly child can ruin an entire experience for a whole cabin. Because Business class is a premium product that costs multiple thousands of dollars per seat.

    This isn’t a pizza party at Chuck E. Cheese.

  11. Mr_Chicago

    February 13, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    Yeah, sorry, but small kids WILL misbehave at some point on long-haul flights….just depends on how long and to what extreme. Parents that try (and sometimes unsuccessfully try and try and try again to avoid a meltdown should be given grace and understanding), regardless of where the kid is seated. I’ve been there where my kids were angels and where they were demons despite the same prep, planning, parenting and problem solving. And I’ve done it in business class and economy. I’ve gotten stares and mutters galore and praise galore….same (technically) kids, same (good) parenting skills, different day….so different results. I hate it way more than anybody else when my kid is the demon so give (most) parents a little grace in those situations.

  12. FairDinkumMate

    February 13, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    This person would have been hugely disappointed on my recent Miami-Sao Paulo flight. Late January, Latam, just before the school holidays here in Brazil had finished, the J cabin was at least 35% kids!

    Unfortunately, I only noticed as I trudged back to economy with my own kids….

  13. RFNJ

    February 14, 2019 at 8:23 am

    I can’t say I am a fan of misbehaving children or crying babies in business class. But 99% of the time, earphones work wonders. Confronting the situation rarely leads to better outcomes….

  14. AlastairGordon

    February 16, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    Of course it’s not good when kids act up on a plane. But given the relatively small size of the first and business class sections compared to coach, fewer people will be disturbed when kids misbehave in a premium cabin than if they misbehave in coach.

  15. Gynob001

    February 17, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    The parents pay full fare for the child and are entitled to have a seat for the child. Do the complainers whine about loud talkers, excessive drinkers, people who stand around blocking entrance to toilets, flitters, upgraders who didn’t pay full fare, multiple snack grabbers, seat kicking adults, adults who consistently poke at the screen to find the perfect entertainment, huge baggage squeezers, world problem solvers using a laptop, and others? People forget they were children once. If you want peace and quiet, drive your own car or ask the FA for an ear plug. If you are so much agitated, get a good quality noice cancelling headphones.

  16. chitownjeff

    February 25, 2019 at 6:57 am

    Only half the story – was the kid crying, throwing food, etc. I’ve been next to crying kids and the parents tried everything to settle them down but nothing worked. It happens.

  17. kkua

    March 3, 2019 at 7:11 am

    Play the psych game and call the parent out. Be sure adjacent passengers can hear “if you can afford business class for your family, you can afford better manners”…

    My mother taught me if we can afford to fly, we can afford to dress better as well. No ripped clothing, beachwear or sleepwear (unless you have a pajama service long haul flight).

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