Flying first class comes with many perks: A flatbed seat, delicious food, and luxurious, quiet cabin. Emphasis on quiet cabin. One of the things that often get reported as making flights unpleasant is The Crying Baby: that creature that boards the plane with a chip on its shoulder and then belts out high-C’s the entire flight. It’s practically what noise-cancelling headphones were invented for.
But that begs the question: Should toddlers be allowed in first class?
I’ve seen lots of kids flying in premium cabins. Usually they’re pretty well behaved, thanks to the distracting of the in-flight entertainment. But babies? You can’t really control them. They can’t express themselves verbally, so when they are unhappy or want something they’ll cry and there’s nothing the rest of us can do about it.
While I have yet to encounter a crying baby in first or business class, I did fly LAX – YYZ in a first class seat immediately in front of economy. A toddler shrieked loudly every two minutes on the dot…the entire flight! The parents made an effort to stop it, but the shrieking continued. It was excruciating and made the 5+ hour flight less pleasant. But I got over it.
What happens when you’re sitting in first class and a toddler is screaming the entire time? Or getting out of their seat and being generally belligerent?
I always respect a parent that tries. It’s those who just don’t care that don’t deserve to be in first class, in my opinion. Or any airplane.
An airplane is essentially public transportation and if you’re going to be completely inconsiderate then either stay home or charter a jet. As for the screaming kids? Luckily most first class cabins come equipped with noise cancelling headphones. This can make the crying and screaming more bearable.
I’ve gone over how to cope with crying toddlers. But should parents actually bring their toddlers into a first or business class cabin? I personally don’t know if I’d feel comfortable bringing an unruly toddler into first class. The death stares from fellow passengers alone would make me think twice.
I also realize that if a toddler screams in one part of the plane, it will reverberate throughout. So does it really matter if the toddler is sitting in first class or coach? Again, no one is better equipped to deal with the crying than first class passengers, who have access to noise cancelling headphones.
I know a lot of folks are going to disagree with me, but as someone who recently traveled with a toddler, I realize that premium travel is in many ways ideal for families. The kids and (exhausted) parents are actually able to sleep comfortably, plus there’s good food and plenty of snacks. Is it really fair for families to be excluded from experiencing those luxuries?
I say sit up front with your kids – if they cry, make your best effort to calm them down. If they don’t, the rest of us can put on our noise cancelling headphones and enjoy the flight.
What are your thoughts: Should toddlers be allowed in first class cabins?