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NYT: My Husband Flies First Class and Puts Me in Coach

NYT: My Husband Flies First Class and Puts Me in Coach

Old May 20, 2023, 4:11 pm
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NYT: My Husband Flies First Class and Puts Me in Coach

The New York Times - The Ethicist
My Husband Flies First Class and Puts Me in Coach
My husband loves to travel and always either pays for, or gets an upgrade into, the first-class cabin. When we travel together with our children, he buys himself a ticket in first class and puts us in economy or economy plus. He even did this recently on an overnight flight to Paris. He justifies flying alone in first class because of the cost, and the fact that our kids (12 and 16) might feel alone if I were to travel in first with him and leave them in the rear cabin. I feel that this is unfair.

I dont think our kids would mind if they were in economy plus and my husband and I sat together in first class. Is that unfair of me to want? My husband has suggested traveling alone on different flight ahead of us so that we dont feel badly about the disparity, but this does not really address or solve the problem of the inherent selfishness in his thinking. Am I wrong?
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Old May 21, 2023, 4:11 am
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I dont see an ethics issue here but I see a basic courtesy and consideration issue here. That marriage may not last too long.
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Old May 21, 2023, 6:03 am
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Who's paying for the ticket? If he is not the sole breadwinner and she is earning an income there is no reason she can't upgrade herself. If she is entirely depend on him and her entreaties have fallen on deaf ears then either she accepts the situation, starts earning her own income or finds a divorce lawyer. There are many good and valid reasons to break up a marriage. Not being allowed to fly in business class might break new ground.

At least his kids are being supervised. A 12 and 16 year old in the back and parents upfront puts a possible onus on cabin crew and other passengers to play disciplinarian. When kids are acting up on a flight and inconveniencing me I'd rather deal directly with a parent who is there.
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Old May 21, 2023, 7:01 am
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They should all fly premium economy.

Or take turns being up front (on each flight, one person is up front for the whole flight).
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Old May 21, 2023, 7:40 am
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Yow. He flies up-front in one direction and she flies up-front in the other direction. If they can afford it and the kids are well-behaved (12 and 16 isn't that young), then both parents could fly up-front.

OTOH, they have have bigger problems than this...
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Old May 21, 2023, 7:44 am
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"He justifies flying alone in first class because of the cost". Ok so why pay a premium to sit up front then? Sit in economy with your family!
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Old May 21, 2023, 9:04 am
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Originally Posted by Badenoch
...There are many good and valid reasons to break up a marriage. Not being allowed to fly in business class might break new ground...
That's an interesting take on what she said.

She is pointing out a pattern of behavior. A man who leaves his wife and kids behind in the cattle class regularly and seeks the comfort of first class, is no man. What happened to old-fashioned chivalry!?

Originally Posted by Badenoch
...When kids are acting up on a flight and inconveniencing me I'd rather deal directly with a parent who is there...
The guy can sit there with the kids to supervise them too. At least they can take turns ...
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Old May 21, 2023, 10:13 am
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It’s really whacky.
For a few years when flying as a family of 3 in Y+ usually one or two of us got a free upgrade and I’d just sit in Y+ with or without my baby. It never crossed my mind about only paying for one upgraded seat. In general we fly paid F as a trio except one recent trip of Y+ and knowing that there are zero available free upgrades.
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Old May 21, 2023, 10:27 am
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Nice guy lol.
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Old May 21, 2023, 11:03 am
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Originally Posted by WeekendTraveler
I dont see an ethics issue here but I see a basic courtesy and consideration issue here. That marriage may not last too long.
Quite possibly it has lasted 16+ years already.
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Old May 21, 2023, 11:16 am
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Yeah, this article had me reading out excerpts to my family across the room.

What do you mean, he "puts [you]" in coach?

My spouse (20+ years) and I have no problem taking a single upgrade from Y to J/F when flying together. It's usually me who gets it, mostly because I have health issues, but also because my husband is an old fashioned gentleman type. Each of us has experienced Y with one or both kids while the other sat up front, however. Neither of us feels like we have the power to force the other into any particular class of cabin. We like talking to each other (still!), yet have our own distinct in flight routines, so sitting apart is no big deal.

And, BTW, I left paid work as an engineer to stay at home with our children when they were small, so our family choices are in spite of DH being an overworked, high earning professional with a global reputation in his field. Some would see me as a leech who brings nothing to the household for that choice... fortunately, my spouse doesn't see it that way. (Hence 20+ years ) That's also the reason I often pay more for luxury on the rare occasions he, a homebody, chooses to travel with me/us. I look for bargains instead to travel more often myself, and did so on my own with my kids when they were young, too.

If this is the one and only thing the letter-writers spouse does that's wildly selfish, okay, I guess... but it sure sounds outrageous the way s/he described the situation.
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Old May 21, 2023, 12:04 pm
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There could be reasons where one spouse travels in one class and the other spouse in another regardless of gender (e.g. one is on a work trip, one wants to surprise another, they really don't care, etc.) as long as that is communicated and both are ok with it. This issue here is less about one spouse traveling in first/ other in coach than the lack of communication and consideration in the relationship. Clearly this issue bugs the wife enough to write a NY Times article about it. So either the couple isn't communicating or don't care about the other's feelings, both of which aren't a good recipe for success.
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Old May 21, 2023, 12:58 pm
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As someone that encountered similar situations as a kid (not first class but other stuff), this may not end well for the relationship of the kids with the father. And in my case, it was other times where my mother didn't ever complain and actually defended the situation.
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Old May 21, 2023, 3:31 pm
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_mi...and_the_donkey

Doesn’t run out of mileage this story.
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Old May 21, 2023, 4:02 pm
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Originally Posted by vsadda
That's an interesting take on what she said.

She is pointing out a pattern of behavior. A man who leaves his wife and kids behind in the cattle class regularly and seeks the comfort of first class, is no man. What happened to old-fashioned chivalry!?

The guy can sit there with the kids to supervise them too. At least they can take turns ...
Chivalry? LOL.

We don't know how their relationship is structured. If he's the sole breadwinner and she's a stay at home mom who brings no income into the family then they've agreed on their respective responsibilities and hers is to mind the children in the back. What we also don't know is whether the J/Y split applies when they are traveling without the kids which would be a greater cause for grievance.
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