Topic of the Week: Upgrading with a Baby

This became a big discussion on Twitter, so I thought I’d bring it here. In a couple months, my wife and I are taking the little guy on his maiden voyage, and we had the chance to upgrade using miles on a cross country trip. Would you do it with a newborn or not? It was a mixed bag on Twitter.

(We actually did do it, but of course, we’ll be incredibly conscientious about any noise.)


144 Responses to Topic of the Week: Upgrading with a Baby

  1. Brett, I’ve seen adults on planes behave far worse than any baby.

  2. If I had a child like my niece, who I know slept like a baby when she flew cross-country a few years ago, I would upgrade. If my child wasn’t one who made an obscene amount of fuss, I would upgrade. Yes, a baby will cry when landing, as the pressure is often too much for little ears, but most kids are fine when crusing, and most experienced travellers (the kind in biz domestically) have fancy noise-blocking headphones. I don’t know if I would take a baby in first on EK or SQ, but on a domestic, why not!!!

  3. Besides the takeoff and landing I really don’t find children to be all that bad. Try sitting next to a drunk Russian on an 8+ hour flight with heavy turbulence between Moscow and Bangkok. At least when a baby projectile vomits it’s formula/milk or some type of liquified vegetable. Needless to say after the flight my suit went to the dry cleaners in Bangkok.

    I would ban booze before babies.

    • ….but booze for babies is not a bad idea in this case!

      • Brad says:

        Booze before baby is usually how it happens. We’re due in June! :-o

        If you were non-reving I’d say H to the N-O. You earned the upgrade, you’re an experienced traveller, why not?

        (Curious to heR what happens since we’ll travel with him in infancy as well).

  4. John R says:

    Brent – LOVE your blog. I check it most every day.

    I either purchase first class or upgrade so that the large majority of time I’m up in first. I do that not only for the comfort but for the piece and quiet. Unfortunately I’ve noticed a trend of more fidgeting and crying children (not just babies) along with more loud, rude adults in first that really takes away from the experience. But if I had the chance to upgrade with my child I’d do it also.

    Good luck with little guy in his first trip and safe travels.

  5. Simon says:

    I am taking my daughter, who’ll be 18 months by then, from London to see her Grandpa who lives in the US. I’ve used miles to upgrade because I figured once she was 2 and paying more than 10% of the fare then we would never be able to afford it again. The plan was just go be in Club World but there was no availability coming back so we’re in First on BA. I’ve never flown First so part of me is stupidly excited, but part of me worries that I am going to ruin the flight for everyone else in the cabin. Fingers crossed she’ll be fine, but let me take this opportunity to apologise now to everyone in the cabin for when she wakes up somewhere over Greenland…
    On the positive side, at least she’ll only wake up a handful of people rather than the entire economy cabin.

  6. MeanMeosh says:

    I’ve flown in domestic F with newborns in the cabin a few times, even international business once or twice. Frankly, I don’t even remember the flights, which gives you an idea of how much of a non-event having the baby in the cabin was. Perhaps it might have been wise to take the little one on a “test run” first to see how he’d react to flying (some babies definitely do better than others), but I’m sure it’ll be fine.

    Honestly, the problem I’ve had on planes hasn’t been infants, but children in the 2-10 age range. You know the type – the parents who believe their kids have the right to “express themselves” in public, which usually means allowing them to run through the aisles, kick the seat in front of them, and throw stuff at their neighboring passengers, followed by the look of righteous indignation when they are politely asked to have their children cease and desist. But, that’s really a reflection of the so-called adults as opposed to the kids.

  7. So people are worried that their baby/child would ruin the flight for first class passengers, but don’t give it a second thought about ruining the flight for coach passengers?

    If they were really first class types, they would be flying in private jets. Most will be upgrades just like you so don’t worry about it. Think of it this way, if the baby (or you) cry the whole flight you will only ruin the flight for maybe 6 others and not 106 others. You are actually doing most of the passengers on the plane a favor by being in first just in case. :-)

    But as others have said, its the older child and their clueless parents that are worse then a baby.

  8. LT_DT says:

    Giving a baby a bottle or pacifier during take-off and landing will mitigate the effects of the pressure changes. In our experience, that takes care of about 90% of the potential for crying.

  9. AirBoss says:

    We flew with our middle one at three weeks. He and Mom were FA-magnets. Dad was SO relieved… Flew with the oldest one at 18 months and he launched a gummed apple over the seatback into the very bald head of the man in seat 1A. Fortunately, a very understanding gent… Dad was SO relieved… Flew with the youngest one at twelve months. She and Mom (still) were FA magnets — which really ticked off Elle Macpherson, who was also in the cabin. (Huh? Who?)

  10. Paul says:

    I do not have children (mine all bark and purr.) I also do not enjoy being on a flight next to an infant or toddler. That being said, it is your prerogative to upgrade and bring your child with you.

    If you and your family upgrade to the front of the bus, you are paying to be there just as everyone else is: either you are paying cash for the upgrade or you are paying with miles/certs that you acquired by spending cash with the airline. You have just as much right to spend your miles/certs/cash as other passengers do.

    The real issue is the behavior of infants/children on the flight. I do not think it makes a difference where they are seated. The parents of the child have a responsibility to the other passengers to try and entertain and control their children. Sometimes this is not possible, but I suspect that it usually is. My parents travel with their infant grandchildren frequently (both TATL and domestic.) They prepare for the flight by bringing food, toys, etc. While I am sure there are times in flight when my nieces and nephews cry, I think the majority of the time it is a non-event.

    Finally, I would imagine that it is easier to keep and infant happy and comfortable when the parents are happy and comfortable. If you have a bit more leg room and space to spread out, I cannot help but think that everyone in your family will find the trip easier.

  11. patrick says:

    I’m not a fan of people upgrading with babies (or any children). Some people paid extra money for the quiet that comes with a first class cabin, and babies have the potential to ruin that quiet. To be fair, I rarely pay for first, so I really can’t use this argument for myself. Even so, upgrades are a reward, and that reward is less valuable if there are unruly *anythings* in the cabin (children, babies, drunk adults…)

    This discussion comes up a lot, and I’d like to address a few of of the arguments from the pro-baby-upgrade camp:
    1) Noise-canceling headphones do *not* block baby noises. In fact, they’re bad at blocking the human voice in general. They’re really more about blocking out all the low-level engine noise so you don’t have to turn the volume up so high.
    2) Earplugs are better than noise-canceling headphones, but they do not solve the problem. Baby screams penetrate even those–but more importantly, humans have evolved to be extremely sensitive to crying infants (it’s helped us survive as a species!) and so even if the cries are faint, they’re hard to ignore.
    3) Yes, sometimes adults act worse than any child. The difference is that you can ask the adult to stop. You cannot ask children to stop–babies just can’t communicate, and older toddlers don’t have the empathy to understand how they’re affecting others.
    4) Yes, your child is usually an angel. But how do the ticketing agents know that your child isn’t one of the squallers? You either have to block all children, or none.
    4) Yes, your child is usually an angel. But do they *never* act up? They never scream unconsolably? If they don’t are you sure you have a child and not a doll?

    In the end, this always comes down to philosophy: is it more important to take your “just rewards”, or is it more important to support the “greater good”. The “my baby is fine”/”babies cry, you spoiled jerks should just learn to deal” group is in effect arguing: “I’m not being selfish… everyone who complains is!” while the “No children” group is arguing “I’m not being selfish… the people with babies are!” Since BOTH camps are being selfish, my moral calculus says that the camp with fewer people is the loser. Because the number of people inconvenienced by an unruly child is greater than the number of people inconvenienced by not upgrading, I argue that babies (and young children) shouldn’t upgrade.

    This discussion comes up a lot, and I’d like to address a few of of the arguments from the pro-baby-upgrade camp:
    1) Noise-canceling headphones do *not* block baby noises. In fact, they’re bad at blocking the human voice in general. They’re really more about blocking out all the low-level engine noise so you don’t have to turn the volume up so high.
    2) Earplugs are better than noise-canceling headphones, but they do not solve the problem. Baby screams penetrate even those–but more importantly, humans have evolved to be extremely sensitive to crying infants (it’s helped us survive as a species!) and so even if the cries are faint, they’re hard to ignore.
    3) Yes, sometimes adults act worse than any child. The difference is that you can ask the adult to stop. You cannot ask children to stop–babies just can’t communicate, and older toddlers don’t have the empathy to understand how they’re affecting others.
    4) Yes, your child is usually an angel. But how do the ticketing agents know that your child isn’t one of the squallers? You either have to block all children, or none.
    4) Yes, your child is usually an angel. But do they *never* act up? They never scream unconsolably? If they don’t are you sure you have a child and not a doll?

  12. ladonzi says:

    It always comes down to the parents and how they handle their children on the aircraft. I fly a lot and believe parents who do not control a situation with their child on the ground, will be the ones that lose control in the air.As a mother of 4 I can say that with experience. Babies cry on take offs and landings no matter where they are on the plane and all hear it in the enclosed space. It is just the way it is.Experienced flyers bring noise cancelling ear gear anyway!

  13. Daryl-Atlanta says:

    As a successful and now kinda-famous (and possibly wealthy as a result) blogger and freelance writer, you should consider chartering a private plane as it costs only a “little” bit more AND the entire process is hands-down easier than flying a scheduled carrier. The downside is that you won’t earn frequent flyer miles for the flight.

  14. wdcguy says:

    I’m going to be cranky and say that children under a certain age simply should not be allowed in the most premium cabin on any flight (meaning not at all on two-cabin flights). It’s another item for the inconvenience side of the page for parents to consider when deciding to have or travel with small children.

  15. John says:

    Crankster, traveling with children advice:
    1. Leave them at home
    2. If you have to take them hire a nanny to sit in coach with them while you enjoy the upgrade.
    3. Ok, so you still dig the parenting thing and want to have them with you – I get it, your youngster is not a teenager yet ;o) Upgrade with the little guy, and enjoy it. As said above, if you are being a responsible parent with food, pacifiers, toys, silly faces, whatever – then most fellow travelers are understanding. If they are not, then they must have had a crappy flight on Continental yesterday and arent over it yet (whoops a little self editorializing there).
    4. Do not take your children as lap children in economy if you can avoid it, having the room in first or having them in their own seat is a joy.
    5. If they start to scream and squirm, go stand with them in coach -I kid – but a lot of FAs will enjoy holding your child if you are starting to stress ( I stood from ORD to PHX with a lot of fellow coach passengers offering tips on how to quiet the little darling … luckily none of them suggested holding a pillow over the nose and mouth … but I think they had been removed as a cost measure by then).

  16. Alan says:

    I do not have an issue with you upgrading your flight so that you and your family have plenty of space. I did it with my daughter when she was under 2…first class in a 3 class cabin in a brand new 777…turned on the cartoon network on her in-seat video and heard not a peep for the entire DEN – IAD leg. Her first trip was at 16 weeks, and as long as she had a bottle or her pacifier, she was an angel. Go for it.

  17. Steve says:

    We pay for comfort. Bottom line. Comfort is not having our eardrums pierced by shrieks from the next seat. One time I actually moved back to coach to get away from it. It was maddening. I don’t blame the child. Guess who I blame.

    Cranky: children of very young ages have dysfunctional eustachian tubs and cannot valsalva or equalize so the pressure changes can be VERY painful. It has been implicated in early deafness in children. I would SERIOUSLY consider the wisdom of this.

    Part 2: If you were at home and strapped your kid into a chair, and made them sit there kicking and screaming for 2 hours, you would be reported to child protective. However, somehow in airplanes it is acceptable. Hmm.. the little darlings.

  18. Steve says:

    We pay for comfort in First/Business class, bottom line. Having shrieking in your ears for hours on end is NOT comfort. I have actually moved back to Coach to get away from it.

    If you were to strap your child into a chair at home, and have it kicking, screaming, and crying for 2 hours, child protective services would be called. Someone you can get away with it on airplanes.

    Cranky: Children have dysfunctional eustachian tubes and air pressure changes can cause INTENSE PAIN. It has also been implicated in early deafness in children. You should consider the wisdom of this trip.

  19. dwh says:

    Your wife, your son and you have just as much right to be in the first cabin as the person paying $2000 for their ticket or others getting upgrades as long as you are following the rules of the program. Premium cabin passengers may not enjoy a crying baby, but neither do coach passengers. Just because they’re in the pointy end of the plane doesn’t mean that they’re better than folks behind the curtain.

  20. Maarten says:

    Cranky: my son has flown in biz ONLY since he was born. Prepare as parents is rule 1: at this age this means booking flights that do bot completely ruin their sleep/eat patern. When toddlers or kids: toys, dvd’s, ipad games, etc. you’ll be a mule :-)

    Rule 2 is to train/teach them from young. So from now.

    Rule3: be considerate in seat selection. Give up on your normal choices to minimise impact on other pax.

    My sons hearing is still fine. So don’t worry…

  21. Brian says:

    Any typical business class passenger will be traveling with headphones,
    probably noise-canceling ones. Don’t worry about it.

  22. Marv says:

    As a physician whose kids have flown since 3 weeks old and whose children have taken their babies on flights equally as early, and who has traveled often up front and in the back let me make several comments.
    Neonatals are clueless of where they are; in bed, being held, sleeping, waking. They are usually not the problem unless they have colic or eustatian tube issues (only takeoff or more likely landing). Infants mostly sleep and don’t have to be entertained. But when they are hurting, nothing can distract them. As other responders have reported, it’s mostly the parents who don’t work hard to mitigate the impact of their 18 month and above children on the rest of the passengers who have created the issue in question. Sometimes despite trying as hard as possible, kids are unhappy and unhappy kids are or can be problems that nobody can fix until they are released from the plane. Mostly, kids are great on flights in first or coach. Besides, you need a son who is addicted to travel to take over your business in 40 years when you retire. :-)

  23. Ellie says:

    Good idea to start flying early, and the main problem as I’m sure you’re aware of is take-off and landing when a little baby’s ears can really bother him. That’s when you get a pacifier or bottle out to start the sucking and swallowing to help him out. I’m also certain that you of all people are well aware of being sensitive to surrounding passengers if the baby cannot be quieted. I see nothing wrong with taking the upgrade at all.

  24. Matt Weber says:

    I have seen it both ways. Generally kids under about 6 months travel well unless they are sick. It is from about 8 months to 18 months that it can be a nightmare. At that stage they have learned that screaming and tantrums will get them attention.

    I had the misfortune one evening of flying BA LAX-LHR in F with a very well known (and still is well known) Musician. This was just before the arrival of the BA F class bed product. He had a kid about a year old, and she screamed most of the way to London. The kid was in the care of a nanny, who was assigned the seat next to me. There were no extra seats in the F cabin, so I was stuck with the screaming kid for the night. No doubt my worst Paid F ticket experience ever.

    • BW says:

      My wife and I were in F on Aer Lingus LHR DUB back in 2001. We were late because of bomb threats at JFK caused a reroute through DTW and LHR immigration was hell because it was maybe 3 weeks after 9/11. The guitar player from U2 and his family were the only other passengers in F with us. No nanny, just their 3 small kids doing what unsupervised kids do on planes. Good thing it was a short flight. At one point, we told him his parenting sucked even worse than his music.

  25. chris says:

    Very discourteous to fellow first class travellers

  26. Go for it! I have been upgrading with my child since she was 3 weeks old and we had to bring her home cross-country. I do it as often as I can, I need the comfort of the extra seat room and leg room, definitely a meal, and marginally better/more understanding cabin crew (sometimes!). Don’t think twice, just do it.

  27. Daphne says:

    Nope. I’m going the cranky route here. It used to be that children simply were not allowed in first class. The presumption that everybody in first class is there on upgrades is just that, presumption. People who pay $3500+ for a first class ticket have certain expectations in return for the premium paid and having the disturbance of a child is definitely not one of those expectations.

    None of this is to say that the following experience is a given with every infant, but I think one only has to be burned once after spending $6600 pp to fly in first to feel that infants (and children–even more negative experiences with the toddler to tween crowd) do not belong in the first class cabin. We flew internationally in first class, and there was an infant in the seat about 6 behind us, and the noise kept waking us and everybody else up. Changing the diapers on the lie-flat bed wasn’t exactly the best aromatic experience we’ve all had either, I’m sure, particularly after the dinner service. Nor the disposal of said diapers in the first class lav.
    If you believe that $6600 pp is enough to fly on a charter, I’d sure like to know who will do that, who also has the equivalent service schedule and amenities.

  28. chris says:

    very discourteous to people who pay handsomely for a desire not to be annoyed with babies crying and kicking seats.

  29. So to the folks who think it is discourteous to be in First Class with an infant. Do you think the same about that infant being in the coach row directly behind first class?

    • Joe L says:

      Yes, I do. IMO, children that cannot avoid disturbing others do not belong on an airplane, period.

      Obviously, overseas flying is different since there is really no alternative – can’t drive across the Atlantic! I think in these cases there should be special “family” sections on the plane with a partition that keeps sounds out or at least lessened.

      My children will not be flying with me until they are of the age where they can be trusted to be quiet and behave.

      • Daphne says:

        Thank you, Joe. That was exactly the policy my parents had when we five were growing up. Lots of car trips as a family, and airplanes were for Mom and Dad while we had a relative sit us. (The same rule applied for restaurants beyond the level of Perkins, Dennys, etc. It’s perhaps even more rude to ruin someone’s special evening out to a fine restaurant.)

        I boarded my first plane at age 7, when I was well old enough to mind my manners (and I was the last of the five).

      • Cindy S says:

        My child has been flying since the age of 2. She is a great traveller! Its not the childs fault if they are bad, its 100% the parents fault!

  30. CF, is Atticus getting his own seat or is he a lap baby?

    Also, are you starting a flight log for him as well?

  31. glen says:

    NO babies [no children under 8] in first class period!

  32. Someone talked about using FLL due flights to more cities or something like that.

    So which airport does have more nonstop service to different cities MIA or FLL?

    At least for domestic travel I would almost think FLL.

  33. If airlines didn’t want children/infants in First and Business they wouldn’t allow it. Only now I’ve read about one or two airlines starting that.

    I do agree that 21st century parents of young children are clueless on how to raise them. My childhood was in the late 50’s-early 60’s and when you were out in public you didn’t make a sound or act up in anyway. Back then parents had belts and knew how to use them.

  34. DAB says:

    The bigger issue I would see is that I am of the firm belief that in a plane the child should be in the same seating as the car. To that end, we bought these nifty little frames with wheels to roll the carseat through the airport. Took me two flights to really get the hang of them and getting the seats secure to the chair (in coach…). Lap child and turbulence can equal missile.

    Also, the children really do better being transported in the way to which they are accustomed, and that should be a carseat for any child under about five. That was my sense from observation over the years, my sense from doing it, and was also the feeling of some flight attendants we talked to.

    As far as not bothering other people in first, bah. I have very little sympathy for anyone period, particularly anyone in first who thinks they are too good for anything else. Granted, I have never paid for first but given my status and the routes I fly I do get upgraded pretty frequently.

  35. BigSix says:

    Our first trip with our children was when they were 6 yrs. and 3yrs. and that was a car trip. Our first trip on an airline with them was when they were 6 yrs. and 9 yrs. We waited that long for two reasons; first, it was much easier for us to travel with older children, and second, out of respect for other travelers. My advice is if you must travel when your children are less than about 4 years old, leave them at home with a relative.

  36. docjames says:

    Infants (ie. unable to walk!) are typically pretty good on the plane as you can entertain them easily, will sit on your lap etc.

    As they get to toddler stage, they dont like being restrained.

    We’ve travelled extensively (domestic and international), mostly in Business Class (what in the US would be domestic F) with our son who is now 13 months old. The first 8-10 months were a breeze (and being prepared is a huge part of making life easy), but we can see as he gets older, he just cant sit still so un-necessary plane flights will be a no-no until he’s able to sit quietly and behave – probably 5-7yrs + I suspect.

    Having said that, in the old “you paid yer money” – you’re just as entitled to travel in any class you’ve paid for – and points is paying IMO.

    And as per others – I’ve seen far more poorly behaved adults than I have children. THe children are mostly happy to be doing something exciting, and if the parents are organised, all goes smoothly.

    Oh, and travelling at the front of the plane definately makes life easier – better baggage allowance, more space given the infant is on your lap, better staff:pax ratio means they hav more time to assist you / bring meals in rotation to you and your wife so one can hold whilst the other eats etc.

    Good luck with the trip – be organised and allow plenty of time – it always seems to take about 10x longer when travelling with minidoc so I suspect you may find the same with mini-cranky…..

  37. Michael says:

    Yes, any folks that give you a hard time are welcome to use the wingside smoking lounge to relax.

  38. D says:

    If it was possible, I would fly on adults only flights. (why do these not exist?) It isn’t so much the infants but the kids that just won’t stop talking, or accidently or purposefully kicking the seats. Sitting still and being quiet, very difficult for some (most) kids it seems. I use noise-cancelling headphones but still find the kids annoying. Some kids are much better than others, they seem to have parents that have tried or are trying to teach them to be respectful of others.

    • AirBoss says:

      NetJets, baby! Pay up and chill out.

      • John says:

        AirBoss, there’s a thing called consideration for others. Parents seem to lose it as soon as they become parents, but that doesn’t make it right to bring crying kids on a plane (or into a restaurant, bar, theatre, etc.). Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right.

        • AirBoss says:

          John, I guess it would surprise you to learn that I’ve seen a far greater percentage of adult a-holes in First Class than difficult infants and children. To be clear, that’s by percentage, not instance. The actual instance of difficult infants and children is miniscule. A-hole adults, not so much. I’m sure you’re not one of the latter.

  39. Pingback: Moneymentos » Blog Archive » Do first class and babies mix? » Moneymentos

  40. Scott says:

    This idea is the height of rudeness. If I am in first, I want room, service, and certain behavior from travelers who are supposed to be sophisticated enough – either by wealth or frequency of travel – to know that first class should be a refuge from the discomfort and occasional chaos of coach. This idea is a violation and even a cancellation of the advantages of first class travel. I would be – and have been – furious with an infant or toddler in first class.

  41. Amanda says:

    With a baby only a few months old, it’s unlikely to be a problem. I flew with my six-week-old daughter from the East Coast to the West Coast for my grandmother’s funeral and she never made a peep. I carried her in a sling the entire time and she slept. When she’d start to wake I’d pop a nipple in her mouth and she was happy. I had people in the very next row behind me see her when we were disembarking comment they had been completely unaware there was even a baby on board. I flew with my nine-month-old son from the US to Germany just last fall – had no problems at all, he also slept 90% of the time.

    Now, a two-and-a-half year old, that’s an entirely different story. I think I would walk rather than fly with a toddler again.

  42. Brett, as a 767 captain flying trans Atlantic flights for a number of years I have weekly experience with children of all ages. It happens our flight crew rest seats are in first class. On East bound flights that fly thru the night, I rarely have seen bad behavior from infants. They usually sleep most of the night and if they are fed and changed regularly, it’s nearly a non-event. West bound, during the daylight hours they can be a little fussier. However I have had numerous problems with children 2-10 as one of your other readers said. Parents think their children are angels and are able to sleep thru all the noise and running around. Thirty passengers don’t agree. I had two boys, about 3 & 5 running around the first class cabin annoying everyone and preventing me from taking my required rest break. I finally woke up the mother and asked her to please rein in her children. She asked me who I thought I was for being so rude to her. I asked her if she would like to speak with the captain. When she said “Yes, that’s exactly who I want to speak with!’ I paused for a moment and then said “Hi, I’m the captain and please get control of your sons.” She was very embarrassed, got up and instructed her sons to be seated and be quiet, which they did. But she didn’t apologize to me or the other passengers who’s flight her sons ruined.

  43. Jim LaBatt says:

    I think all airlines should ban babies from first class. If I choose to pay several hundred or thousands $$ more for a first class experience, I don’t want a screaming baby seated next to me. I have had babies sit next to me in their mothers lap, spitting up, screaming, etc. I never flew my children in first class until they were older and knew right from wrong. And even then I kept them under strict control.

    • AirBoss says:

      …right after they ban the pompous and self-righteous, OK with you? Otherwise, there’s NetJets. Look into it. You’ll like it, and so will the rest of us when you’re flying them.

  44. Andrew says:

    My wife and I took a 14 month old and 33 month old to Italy in business class. The kids behaved beautifully for the 9 hour flights between Atlanta and Venice on the way over and Rome and Atlanta on the way back. We paid for them to have their own fully reclining seats, so they didn’t ride in our laps. We got compliments from many other travelers as to how well behaved they were. I say book your trip, and if the baby gets fussy, take him/her for a walk up and down the aisle to calm them down. Good luck!

    • I remember a USAir flight attendant walking a baby up and down the isle. The baby was nice and quiet, the flight attendant was delighted to be holding a baby, and the mother? I didn’t see her, but I figure she was happily taking a rest.

  45. Jayne says:

    If you are talking domestic flights, most people who fly first class didn’t pay for the seat. They are also flying on upgrades. Go for it.

  46. Stacy says:

    Those travelers and diners who chronically complain about children/babies that are anything but “seen and not heard” would say NO – do not upgrade to 1st class and ruin their travel….not thinking how much the extra room 1st Class comes with would greatly enhance your travel and make it easier to travel with a child/baby. Those of us who have children and are more accepting of the idea that you cannot control another person would say HECK YEAH! Your trip will be so much more pleasant with the extra room 1st class provides. I say Go for it – people in the US are becoming too intolerant,

  47. pedi-nurse says:

    Why don’t the grandparents fly to you?

    • CF says:

      They already have and will continue to do so, but we want to get him used to traveling early. This is a perfect opportunity to get him started.

  48. John says:

    Babies don’t belong on airplanes at all. The class is irrelevant. The grandparents can fly to him without bothering other people.

  49. Dave says:

    Brett,

    Sorry to burst your intellectual bubble, but the question actually speaks loads more about you, than about your baby or how others might or might not be affected by sharing first class with an infant. In this “it’s about me and/or my child” society, the fact that you or others would bring babies into first class disregards how others might be adversely affected by your “right” to upgrade with a tot. I have 3 children (pre-teens) but would have never considered first class when they were young, even if I had many extra miles. Why? Because to others, who might either scrimp and save to afford a first-class trip, or use miles for a stab at a little more civilized flight (or say a major treat), it’s simply not fair to bring small kids there if there’s a chance you could not prevent crying, etc. To be fair, some adults (like the ones we shared first-class with who were drinking heavily at 7am) act like babies or idiots as well – but at least they can choose to behave; sometimes babies cannot if they’re upset. So my advice would be, stop obsessing about your “rights” and that your baby deserves first class – defer to those over 10 or so and sit in the back. Take the kid first class when he’s older. Narcissism is not a great quality, Brett; would focus on that a bit rather than your upgrade…

  50. Dave says:

    Baby = Coach…

  51. Dave says:

    Brett,

    Sorry to burst your intellectual bubble, but your question really speaks loads more about you, rather than your baby or others who might be co-passengers in first class. We live in an “all about me and my kids” society, whereby it’s your “right” to sit there, regardless of how it might be tolerated or perceived by other passengers. To be fair, some adults (like those drinking heavily at 7am on a recent first-class flight) act worse than any child. But the main point is that others who save and scrimp for a first-class “treat” or who use miles, want a stab at a nice trip. A baby might (through no fault of their own, if tired, etc – unlike the 7am drinkers) make this impossible. So sit in the back with your kid; I would not even consider bringing children (and I have 3) up there until over 10 or so. Brett, narcissism is not a great trait; perhaps you’d do well to spend more time thinking about that, rather than upgrading you and tot to first class…

  52. dennis says:

    Who cares; The kid has as much a right to sit in first class as anyone else. What? Only those in coach should be subject to a crying baby. Just do the right thing when/if the little one does cry and try to settle him down. If it means spending a few minutes in the rest room, please do so. And don’t forget the tea bag trick. A tea bag soaked in hot water and placed in an empty cup. Hold the cup over the child’s ear. The light steam could help releave the pressure. (This is not medical advice. As a parent, you must decide what is right for your child)

  53. AirBoss says:

    This thread is providing valuable market research for that ever so important start-up airline project some of you clearly should be working to fund: “Curmudgeon Air — the airline for those who want nothing to do with other passengers” Get a grip, and lose the attitude, or fly NetJets where they just might tolerate it. (No guarantees.)

  54. nicole says:

    How does the old saying go…”you can please some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”

    Face it…we live in a selfish world including parents and non-parents alike.
    In the end, you’ve got to do what is right for your family. My experience travelling with my babies (infants and toddlers) in the fancy cabin has been good and only my husband was the grumpy one. (of course, I once left him in the back while the newborn and I enjoyed the front).

    We most recently travelled over the Christmas holidays in first class across Canada with a 9 month old and a 3.5 yr old. My hubby even got to join us on this trip! We did get some sighs and side-ways glances while in the airport lounge when my toddler sauntered through the door in his santa pjs (we’d just come off the red-eye with 1 more connection).

    Babies are much easier to travel with. If Mom is nursing, then let baby hang out there for the entire trip. The swallowing will soothe the ears for take-off and landing. Besides, it is comforting and makes for a happy baby (which makes everyone else happy too).

    Good luck!

    • dave says:

      Justifying your own selfishness? Perhaps try to not do what’s (ONLY) best for you and tots… Self-centered mom=self-centered kids…

  55. Smalladie says:

    I had to fly alone with my 6 month old twins and I was terrified they would cry the entire flight. I purchased earplugs at Target and once we were settled on the plane I handed them to all the passengers around us just to break the ice and to hopefully win some sympathy. Luckily my guys slept the whole way; not the case for the 10 month old seated two rows behind us who was with both of his parents.
    Oh another twin mommy brought snack sized kit kats to give out to everyone around her saying “Give me a break.” and got everyone in a good mood for the flight. Good Luck.

  56. AreYouNuts? says:

    The fact that you had to ask should tell you that you know the answer. You’re a goddamned moron and a selfish one at that.

  57. Londoner says:

    Our family traveled with twin boys and rotated them during the 1hr.30min flight. My husband flew first class and I was in coach. It worked out quite well,they slept during the entire flight and the AA flight attendants were great.Best of luck

  58. Dave says:

    Here’s my suggestion: Use your two first class upgrades to fly the grandparents to you!

    Why is this DNA-implanted requirement to drag all of you and young child across and through the masses of the traveling and very germ-intense environment? I see mothers doing this all the time by their lonesome and always think, ?Why?!?

    Grandparents you are not dead yet?get moving to go see your grandchildren.

    If not, Facetime or Skype.

    And no, children do not belong in first class.

  59. blair says:

    I am a travel agent for American Express. One of my clients had the same worry. What they ended up doing, was brilliant!! They made little gift bags, one for each seat in first class. The bags included ear plugs, a deck of cards, and a piece of fine chocolate. They also included a little hand written note apologizing in advance for any noise issues, but hoping these gifts could distract them in a positive way.

    • Lori says:

      I did the same thing as Blair suggested. I flew to Hawaii 1st class when our child was a baby. Oddly enough, 1st class was filled with business people, not families! I made chocolate chip cookies, and also included ear plugs and a hand written note for each 1st class passenger. Our baby was fussy for maybe 5 minutes before landing, but we got “high fives” from the 1st class passengers as they left the plane.

  60. Anton says:

    You and your newborn are just as entitled to the upgrade as anyone else. I’d certainly do it for the extra comfort. But doing your best to keep the tot comfortable would be greatly appreciated by your fellow travelers.

  61. patrick says:

    I believe that children should be banned from all premium cabins on aircraft as a matter of course, I do not pay that amount of money to tolerate someone else’s whining irritating progeny for the duration of a flight. If children must be accomodated on planes I suggest an area in the hold where their loving parents can take care of them. Airlines really should realise that most travellers intensely dislike children on flights, and could actually market family only flights thus keeping everyone happy.

    • AirBoss says:

      Airlines really should realise that most travellers (and crew, for that matter) intensely dislike pompous a-holes on flights, and could actually market pompous a-hole-only flights thus keeping almost everyone (except crew drawing the short straws to work them) happy. “Welcome to PAA — Pompous A-hole Air”

      • Of course the problem on getting folks onto PAA is no one sees themselves this way. Therefore the best way to handle this is to have an airline within an airline and offer status to people to get on that airline.

        Of course if you do it right it’s a sound proofed compartment at the back end of an MD-80, but this really isn’t AA’s style, or is it?

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  63. Lisa Y says:

    We flew on a four hour flight to CA with our newborn who was just 1 month old in January. We purchased a seat for her which allowed her to sleep in her car seat. It also gave us the entire row, so we did not bother any other passengers. She was a trooper and slept the whole way. If you have a long flight would definitely recommend this! the bottle or pacifier at take off and landing added to the smooth sailing. Check with your doctor for any other recommendations before you fly. Most people will be thrilled to see such a tiny baby.

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  65. Sane Citizen says:

    I have to agree, if they are able to travel, fly the grandparents to visit you first class. Chances are they can take more time off and can visit longer.

  66. Anne says:

    My son was born in Hongkong, and I flew round-the-world with him four times in the first year of his life. Most babies get fussy to start with during takeoff, as the pressure hurts their ears. From there on, you will be on downward spiral throughout the flight. The trick to avoid this is to nurse (or bottlefeed) the baby during takeoff and landing (which means thinking ahead to make sure your baby is hungry as you get on the flight and therefore wants to take the breast or bottle). As a courtesy to your fellow passengers, whether in first class or coach, you need to be highly attentive to your baby, and do everything you can to avoid having the baby cry, or to calm the baby if he does fuss. That may mean that you get little rest, but if you make the effort, your fellow passengers will usually overlook a bit of crying.

  67. Rich says:

    My wife and I flew several legs of our trip out east with our 9 month old daughter in first class and had a great experience. She has just as much a right to be there as anyone else. And since we were more comfortable, she was more comfortable. Planning around nap times and giving her a bottle during take offs and landing was our game plan and it worked perfectly. The only leg on which she fussed was the last leg of the trip coming home when we were in coach and we were all miserable. IMO, people who upgrade to first class expecting perfection are idiots.

  68. brian says:

    Go ahead and upgrade. My wife and I do it all the time with our youngster. We have found that
    if you are actively soothing and occupying your child then people are sympathetic to u. The ear plugs are a great ice breaker. Gift bags are a nice idea too. The bottle a takeoff and landing works when then are younger than 6months. After that we have found it is about making them comfortable, feed before u board, keep them warm planes are always chilly. Get them laughing, nobody can be mad at a happy baby. The extra space in first class where you can set your kid down infront of you is great they will enjoy the mobility. My daughter loves the airblower above the seat and will point her face towards it for minutes at a time. If you are stressed and worried then your child will be.as well. As will the people around who see your worried looks. Stay calm, be happy, and it will be fine. And remember when the kiddo falls asleep take advantage of the free drink you will have earned it. Cheers.

  69. Wow this topic is still going strong after almost two weeks.

    Interesting to take it all in and see how many adults have whined on here about whinning children.

    Unless an airline policy bans children from first/business you have every right to take a child in that cabin. Granted parents need to control their older children any time they are out in public (which so many forget), but infants unless they are teething or sick are pretty calm as long as you feed them and change them.

    • CF says:

      It’s because I wrote about this on CNN.com this week, so a lot of people are coming into the discussion for the first time.

  70. GK says:

    This is a pet peeve of mine. I travel 6 months every year, but almost exclusively internationally. For the most part, I don’t mind kids on the plane. However, it’s the parents where in lies the problem. I’ve had to call on the flight attendants to get parents to take care of their crying children. On one flight, the “mother” (note the quotes) let her child scream (the harsh, shrill, “bloody murder” type of scream) whilst she was eating. Her reaction to the request to tend to her child was a bit more than a roll of the eyes. I was not the one who called the flight attendant.

    For me, ear plugs (for sleeping) and noise-cancellation ear buds do cut down on most of the noise – unless they’re in the row in front of me. But this situation is easily remedied by a change of seating days prior to boarding (i.e. get a seat away from the fold down “crib”).

    Upgrade yourself/family/kid – but please, please tend to them when they cry!

  71. Marcia Englefield says:

    Brett, I have flown in first class – to Europe – twice with my first son. The first time he was 5 months old, the second at 18 months. The flights to Heathrow were 8 hours over and 9 hours back. In addition, we’ve done numerous trips to the west coast (from Atlanta) as well. I will say, the younger the better. He did better on the first flight, because he slept and didn’t need to be entertained. Be sure to take bottles and gas drops. The gas drops saved us on many occassions. Also have some infant pain reliever as well, for back up. And be ready to walk around a lot to calm him down.
    My older son is now 4 and has been to England 5 times and California twice, and he’s a great flier. My 23 month old on the other hand… he’s been to England twice. Let’s just say, sometimes you can’t do anything about your child’s personality!

  72. Stephanie says:

    Do it. Your life will be so much easier. Flying cross-country alone with my four month old, I was terrified of the responses of those around me in *any* seat. I was especially hesitant about using the upgrade points and ruining someone else’s first class trip. But it turned out, the people around me there were probably much more forgiving then those in coach would have been. They’re the seasoned travelers, and where incredibly helpful (like helping me store and retrieve overhead carry ons). I made a joke of it when I sat down (“now, be a good girl, or they’ll make us go back to coach”) to help remind those around me that no matter how hard I try to calm her, she’s still just a baby – she’s doing her best. And having the extra room, wider aisle, more space to maneuver in, and bigger seat meant it was possible to hold a sleeping baby and eat soe lunch. Try that in coach, and you’ll be hungry, tired and grumpier than your child at the other end. You have as much right as anyone to sit there, and will enjoy the amenities ore than those who just put on their headphones and sleep through the flight.

  73. betsy says:

    All of this fuss is for naught. Stick a boob in the TWO-MONTH-OLD’s mouth. Not a peep will be heard throughout the flight, take off and landing included.

  74. peter says:

    On the whole after a working life with much intercontinental air travel, I would not approve of infants and youngsters in business and first class cabins, BUT also do not think families should be jammed up like sardines in a can with your babies and youngsters in cattle class economy either.

    This I know is often an horrendous experience at times for parents glued to postage stamp sized seats. So, people who pay large sums of money for premium cabins want peace and quiet as well as comfort, and should get it.

    I would like to see the airlines set aside a sort of premium economy seating area designed with the needs of parents and youngsters in mind. If these are not fully utilized for this purpose then they can always be sold on to people who will not mind being surrounded with other peoples often noisy prodigy.

    Airlines would need to offer all other passengers a level of sound insulation against the possible racket that would be generated, and this all costs money which they will not want to spend of course, so doubt it will ever get off the ground, no pun intended.

    If no easy mechanical design solution is possible, then a safe form if infant knock out drops should be developed for the benefit, comfort, and safety of all passengers.

  75. Matthew says:

    Cranky:

    Thank you so much for “airing out” this issue! My wife and I are expecting our first and as I flew my upgraded AC flight last month I was wondering if such days would be behind me for a while. On one of the flights was a small child (not a newborn, but a toddler at most), and it was the first time I had seen such a little one anywhere but coach.

    Thanks to your post and some of the useful feedback here I shall take a stab at it if we do see fit to travel by air.

    Thanks, and keep up the good work!

  76. Cindy S says:

    I read your question about bringing your infant in first class, I think that if you can pay for it or upgrade to it than you should be able to do it. You will find heavy drinkers in both classes. The parents of the infant could use the extra room to be more comfortable. If the infant is fussy there are ways to try to sooth the child like a bottle or breast, a soother or just some cuddles. Its the children between the ages of 2 to 6 that drive me nuts! Well the parents who let them climb, scream, pull on the seats a head of them or peoples hair.

  77. Vicki H says:

    Do it. I’ve flown often with my babies both in first class and in coach, and both on my own or with my spouse, and everyone always comments at how well behaved they are. The key to flying with kids is managing them for their happiness, your sanity and for the sake of the other flyers. Be prepared with plenty of milk (breast or formula) and snacks if they are at the phase. Have some toys and I found a DVD player playing Baby Mozart, without the noise, can be very mezmorizing for a baby. Whatever age of your child, you should be prepared with lots of activities and snacks so the minute you hear an issue or see a hint of boredom you can immediately spring into action to ward off any discontent. Babies typically sleep anyway on a flight, but give them a bottle or pacifier at take off and landing, if they aren’t sleeping, as the sucking helps them if they may have ear issues. And do yourself a favor, if they look at all like they might be sick a week or two before the trip, take them to the dr to make sure they don’t have ear issues as its so hard to tell on those things until they are at breaking point.
    First class is larger and more comfortable, and yes a luxury…and if you can afford it with $$, points or upgrades, you have every right to do it. I think the notion that kids shouldn’t be there is ridiculous. The people who shouldn’t be there, either adults or kids, are the rude ones – and they don’t belong on a plane in general. Whether in first class or coach you should manage your children and be respectful to other flyers, and vice versa. Go for it and good luck!

  78. Candace says:

    My husband was lonely while out of town taking care of his sick, hospitalized father and asked me to fly down with our 4 month old baby boy. We took a small commuter jet, not in first class, for an hour long flight. At the time, my first born son was having trouble adjusting from breast feeding to the bottle and cried the whole flight. I was so worried that he was disturbing the passengers I hid in the restroom for as long as I could. I have never seen a flight attendant When I came out the flight attendent expressed concern there was something wrong. It doesn’t matter where you are on the plane. The worst thing a parent can do is ignore your child. Go ahead a sing softly to him, play peek-a-boo, anything to distract them. Ask the flight atttendants for assistance with bottles and diaper changes. They love to help with little ones! Ensure you have extra clothes, toys, favorite blankies and binkies (they get lost along the way). At the end, my husband was so glad to see us that the flight was forgotten (almost).

  79. Reisen says:

    Brett, saw your article on CNN.com, nice coverage there.

    As a million-miler whose trans-oceanic flights probably number somewhere around 100, I’ve dealth with lots of crying babies, in coach, business, and first. As the father of a 22 month-old, I’ve also been “that guy”. We’ve kept our daughter off international flights (grandparents kept her) since she’s been born, but with my parents living on the opposite coast, and friends in the mid-west, she flies domestic about 6 times per year.

    For those who say “leave the kid with grandparents when you fly” or “have the grandparents come to you”, get a grip.

    A- In today’s economy, the grandparents may not be retired.

    B- The grandparents often live near other family members, so I can either fly three of us to see them, or fly dozens of cousins, aunts, uncles, great aunts, etc. to us.

    C- Many of the people we fly to visit (great aunts/uncles and great grandparents) are too frail to fly, but it absolutely makes a 95 year old’s day to get to play with a baby.

    Look, here’s the deal. If you’re up front these days, you’re earning it somehow. My wife earns it through multiple $xx,xxxx (5 figure) ticket purchases for business travel per year. I earn it through a moderate amount of flying, and lots of miles from CCs. So I agree with others that a parents’ money is just as good as a business traveler’s or someone who doesn’t have children.

    All the talk of strategies to keep children from crying is great, and parents should know that stuff inside and out. But the reality is, sometimes, babies just cry. Maybe they have gas, are tired, etc. Gas drops are great, as is rocking and walking them, but there’s no surefire way to stop it. Sometimes they just need to cry for a few minutes before nodding off. If you see the parents ignoring a crying baby, by all means, say something. But if they are rocking/reading/playing/feeding them, then know they don’t want the baby crying any more than you want them to.

    Further, there are things that cause kids to cry beyond the parent’s control, but within the other passengers’ or cabin crew’s: Flight sits for 45 minutes (or more) on the tarmac, without running air? The baby is probably going to get hot and cry. Passenger in front of you in coach reclines their seat? That 14 month old now has way less room, and the ipad with Wonder Pets episodes I brought for them no longer fits on the tray table.

    I get the idea of bringing your carseat for the flight, and buying the kid a seat. We tried that once. Disaster. With the size of seats in coach, you’ve just moved the kid within a half inch of the seat in front of them. Talk about a recipe for seat-kicking. Any parent with foot-prints all over the back of the driver’s seat in their car knows what I’m talking about.

    In the 10 or so flights we’ve taken with our daughter, we’ve had a range of experience, from plenty of people smiling at her and playing with her, to FAs who gave us free booze when she was crying (that was much appreciated), to the guy next to us being super nice about it when she threw up on him, to an evil wench in coach demanding we “shut her up or take her to the back of the plane”. If we estimate that’s 35 hours of flight time, I bet a full 33 hours of it she has either slept or played quietly. Pretty good, when you think about it.

    Lastly, there are certain realities in life that you just have to accept. Children, the disabled, and the elderly are, and should be, treated differently. Part of being a gentleman means not honking at little old ladies on the freeway, not rushing by people in wheelchairs on the jetway just to get on the plane a few seconds earlier, and not snapping or glaring at crying infants in the cabin, whether in F or in C. I’m amazed at how often I see middle-aged men and women in suits doing the above, and more.

    Now, a mother watching a movie and ignoring her 3 year old while he kicks your seat for 90 minutes? Feel free to turn around and say something. So I’m right there with all the posters that commented older kids should know better, and so should their parents.

    • Reisen —–

      “””””….to an evil wench in coach demanding we ?shut her up or take her to the back of the plane?. “””””

      That is just wrong for someone to act that way. So did she think the people in the back of the plane wouldn’t mind listening to a crying baby? Maybe she should have went to the back of the plane.

  80. I’m still enjoying seeing all the different comments on this subject.

    Remember when airlines would seat families in the coach bulk head seats to have that extra floor space. Well now a number of airlines use those seats as part of their Econo plus type seating or just for full paying coach passengers. The point made about cramped coach seats and having the larger seating area of first/business was a good point now that bulk head seating is not much of an option these days. While I would spread a blanket on the floor first, putting a small child on that little extra floor space with some toys can make everyones trip more pleasant. All mom or dads needs to do is use their legs to block the toddler/baby from going in the aisle and they are set.

  81. This subject started out with the word upgrading to first, well there are people who pay first class fares for themselves which may include babies and small kids. Since a lot of people sitting in front have upgraded from a lower cabin fare, the family paying full first class fares are paying for the right to sit in first class and those that upgrade really aren’t.

    Did anyone ever think that those that can afford to fly flight class don’t like when lower cabin folk invade their area?

    • Cindy S says:

      What about the people using airmiles or aeroplan points to get into first class? They can get into first class for less than $350.00 for 2 tickets!! Why would I be stupid enough to pay full fare when I can save $1500.00 and use the points!!! Just because you have the money doesn’t make you smart!!!

      • Cindy S —- Not everyone is a member of a mileage program. And people can only upgrade if the airline has upgrade booking class available, whereas there is alway paid first/business class seats available over upgrade space and people may wish to purchase the cabin they wish to be in so they know they have the seats.

        Now not of this includes those on an paid international business ticket that would permit first class on a domestic flight in 2-cabin aircraft.

        • sorry for the typo, that should say….

          Now none of this includes those on a paid international business ticket that would permit first class on a domestic flight in 2-cabin aircraft.

          • Cindy S says:

            I have both paid for first class and used points. Either way I was in first class with a child. There were no problems. I will add that the amount of free alcohol the adults were drinking was nuts!! The loud abnoxious drunks were sad! I would take a toddler over a useless drunk on every flight!!!

  82. Annete says:

    I would for a better reason, Less germs up there, there are people who don’t shower, snore make noises, and are adults, I think little man will be just fine, just remember the pacifier and hope he is sleeping during take off, I flown when my son was 2 months old on a 3 hour flight not a peep out of him, maybe I was lucky but again I didn’t fly 1st class, but was in first row behind 1st class, I took the chance and I had no regrets, get him use to it now and he will be a joy flying! good luck can’t wait to read how he did! Good luck! NC Mom

  83. Just thought that maybe some of you that have expressed feeling about no children in first/business might want to contact Family Airlines/Avatar Airlines in Las Vegas and talk to them about being investors. Those 747’s they plan on would hold alot of babies and kids and free up your space in first/business class on other airlines :-)

  84. Marna says:

    Take your baby where ever you are. If you are most comfortable in first class then by all means do it. My little one traveled first class when she was just a few days away from turning 1. Now she is a seasoned traveler at age 7. I agree with the pacifier or drink during take off or landing. We did this, even if it was not time to feed, and many said that our little girl was the best behaved baby they ever saw.
    You can generally tell when the plane is going to land. I feel the pressure change about 20 minutes before landing. If the baby is asleep it is generally very easy to put the pacifier in their mouth at this time and just keep it in.

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  86. jonnyx says:

    I’d have to ask “why take the baby on a plane at all?”

    My reasoning is that every time I have been on a plane with babies ( idk 2-24 mos. ) it’s never gone well. And some of these were 12+ hr flights across the pacific. Talk about headaches. I have also flown business class ( I am neither privileged or well traveled enough to warrant a first class upgrade ) and it was a dream. I just can’t see a throwing a baby in that mix and making it worth my while. Obviously I don’t have kids.

    But wouldn’t it be better on your fellow travelers to just buy tickets for the in-laws to visit you? Either way your buying 2 tickets. It seems selfish to buy them for yourself, when your child most likely will not remember the trip at all. Why punish us? So what if the grandparents might not be retired, they can get vacation time..heck even someone working part time at mcdonalds can get vacation time. It’s not hard. Now I can understand if you want to visit a lot of relatives in one area or another country. Thats the dilemma. I have no answer for that, I’d say wait till the child gets older buuut it might be asking too much. I have family in Texas and Canada and didn’t visit them until I got older….which was probably only because my parents couldn’t afford to fly all of us (we drove).

    Of course, you can do what you please, it’s just society today is all about “me, me, me” and not the greater good. Flying long distances is a pain in and of itself….

  87. This discussion has been so interesting…I dont think it has anything to do with who has a “right” to be there, vs who doesn’t, I just think it’s simply a case ofa parent knowing their child. I’ve been flying in F with my daughter since 6 weeks old, she’s 3 1/2 and has been abroad multiple times, and in fact we’re leaving for India next Friday in F. Why? Because I need extra room, I can do this either on points or a good industry fare, AND SHE BEHAVES. She’s used to flying, she knows the score, and I have a system of what I pack to entertain her, backup batteries for toys, a sleep schedule and lots of attention most of the time at the expense of my rest, my movies, etc. That’s called being a parent. Adults have bad gas too, even in F. Adults have attitudes, even in F, I’ve had worse adult seatmates that were miserable at best in F and far worse than a child. Bottom line is if you’re a parent, you know your child and what they can or can’t do. I promote luxury travel for a living, fortunately I see more of the good side of well behaved, well traveled kids than some of these children you’re all speaking about.

  88. Peter Brinkmann says:

    I used to travel a great deal in the nineties. I remember one time in Business Class on Lufthansa in Frankfurt, a woman came in with a small child. The child made a bit of noise and the woman whispered to the child and said, “wir wollen die Geschaeftsmaenner nicht stoeren.” (We don’t want to bother the businessmen – the section was filled with men). One passenger (a younger fellow) immediately said “Geschaeftsmaenner sind auch Vaeter” (Businessmen are fathers too!), he jumped out of his seat and assisted the young mother in getting situated. That helped set the tone for the flight and even when the child cried some more there was no stress or worry on anyone’s part.

    Fly 1st Class with your kid. The real jerks on flights are the people who bring massive amounts of luggage into the compartment instead of checking the bag. I understand the airlines have contributed to this by charging additional fees for everything but sticking stuff in the overhead compartments can take a lot of extra time and even delay takeoff – I’ve lived through that with a 3 year old who started to cry. The guy who had caused the delay was right in front of him so I said to my wife, don’t worry, we were all set, Jackie was quiet, and now this delay (we had started down the runway and stopped suddently) has made her cranky, if anyone gives me any grief for it I’ll kill them. Nobody said a word.

    • Holly says:

      Really? You’ll kill them? Because someone may have delayed your flight a bit and complained that your kid was whining/screaming/crying? You’d commit a felony because someone complained about your kid? Assume you’re delayed 10 minutes and the flight is 2 hours – that 10 minutes made the difference between cranky and not cranky?

      If I had been sitting in front of you I would have told a flight attendant that you made a terrorist threat on an airplane.

      You sound like you have anger management issues, you should get that checked out before you fly again because you never know when an air marshal might be sitting next to you. Would it be overreacting? Probably, and I doubt that you’re not nearly as badass as you think you are, but “I wasn’t serious!!” wouldn’t hold up in court.

      Think about how much you would have delayed the flight then – they’d have to go back to the gate, and the commotion would probably have made your kid even more cranky.

      Then you’re even worse than the guy with the luggage.

  89. lcook says:

    Not only do I recommend it; I have purchased first class for my 18 month old on a 10 hour trip. He only cried once the whole 20 hours and slept most of the rest. He was better behaved than the woman in front of us and the flight attendants loved him. Enjoy!

  90. Stop being selfish and do what is best for your kid. Regardless of age children are safer in a SEAT OF THEIR OWN. You are a parent now think of them first. Use the mileage for a ticket for the kid instead of upgrading. It is safer for you kid.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/child-safety-seats-airlines-faa-recommends-children-40/story?id=13678629

    • Cindy S says:

      Thats in your opinion. I fly with my child a few times a year, if she was an infant I’d rather have her in my arms than the seat next to me. With the take offs and landings being so hard on them they need the loving touch of thier parent. They need the comfort and security.

  91. Kidless Guy says:

    I don’t have kids. I’m not wealthy. I recently foolishly paid full first class fare for a romantic trip with my wife. I envisioned luxury and pampering. Of course, a 5 year old was behind us, seat kicking, object-throwing, and screaming the whole way. It ruined the entire experience, at first I was angry at the parents, but then I realized…
    Shame on me! It’s not the parent’s fault. Many of you might blame the parent for not distributing cookies & earplugs, or controlling the kid better. The reality is they have the $$$/clout, so they can and will do what they want.
    But really it’s my fault for not realizing that first class is just coach with bigger seats and expecting an level of peace and quiet and .
    Someday when an airline actually bans children from first class I would gladly do it then. Until then, no way!

    • Its also your fault for not saying something to the mother and/or flight attendant. Sure you shouldn’t have to, but I wouldn’t give the parents more than five minutes if they weren’t working on settling down the kid.

    • Cindy S says:

      I hope they never ban children from first class. Its 100% the parents fault for the way the children are! If the child is a terror it shows the parents way of raising that child. The parents know long in advance that their child is bad or disruptive yet they don’t care! I’ve been in first class many times with both paying the whole fare and upgrades and never had any problems with any child, now the people taking full advantage of the free booze now theres the problem!! Rude loud inconsiderate!!!

  92. Biz Traveller says:

    Of course *your kid* is *mostly* quiet and loved by all when you bring them to first class. Ha! Spoken like a parent.
    You live with your kid 24/7 and are used to the stench, the screams, and the projectiles. When they even halfway behave on a flight you think “what a good kid” while the rest of us wish you were dead.
    Listen: I hate your kid. I fly first class because there’s a higher likelyhood it’ll be kidless. When you bring your kid to first you ruin my day. Please go sit in coach, preferably in the back. I’ll pay you the difference in tickets.

  93. Joe says:

    I’m doing the same thing with my daughter. Sorry haters, but my money is as green as yours and my miles are as valuable as yours

    • Joe says:

      For those of you who want a magical, luxurous flight experience, welcome to 2012. The company that does that is called NetJets.

  94. Ghina says:

    We flew with our (back then) 4 months old overseas last December. I was so worried we were going to be the ones people hate on airplanes… I could actually see, walking the aisle towards our seats, some people’s facial expressions about being next to a baby on board, and it wasn’t encouraging… Our baby girl actually did very well, with little fussing! We had considered upgrading to business class, but we opted for the bassinet (1st row behind business) for her to sleep in instead. We had decided that sitting in coach hands free is better than business class with a sleeping baby in your arms. I would do it all the same for a long flight (>5hrs), but for shorter flights, I say: UPGRADE.
    2 small notes:
    – Nurse (or bottle feed) baby on take off and landing if baby is awake (It does work).
    – If baby fusses, acknowledge fellow passengers by apologizing. It might sound worthless, but they will be more understanding.
    And as one already pointed out: Noise cancellation headphones in business class will do the trick for annoyed passengers.
    Good luck!!

  95. John says:

    You may be able to use this service; or I could see some of your clients who might appreciate the help; especially if they have experienced a disruption. http://abcnews.go.com/Travel/kids-parents-flight-nannies/story?id=15868766

  96. Pingback: Do babies belong in first class? | Canada.com

  97. Pingback: Do babies belong in first class? | Country to Travel

  98. Pingback: Do First Class and Babies Mix? | Travelpro Luggage Blog

  99. Cindy S. says:

    On our last flight there were many children on our plane other than my 13yr old no other children in business class, we had more difficulty with a drunk wind bag sitting in front of me than anything on the entire plane. It was so horrible to sit infront of him. I would have rather had a fussy child than an obnoxious drunk who wouldn’t shut up!!!!

  100. Phoebe says:

    We can?t help it, if we need to bring our young, then we should. I think it just requires a certain amount of consideration to who?s around us. So let?s not freak out when we see some wolf eyes around. We are passengers and we are entitled to our own rights. But at least a mom like me knows how to calm down my little one while on air.

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