Should toddlers be in business class?

Children in business class - annoying or simply part of the deal? Photo / iStock
Children in business class - annoying or simply part of the deal? Photo / iStock

It's an interesting dilemma for some: you've forked out a heap of cash to have a great flight experience in business class, and plan on packing in plenty of sleep along the way.

After you've enjoyed the champagne and delicious snacks, of course.

But then the screams of a toddler jolt you from your slumber. And they continue for hours. You look around to spot the parents, intending to give them an icy look, but then you're reminded of your last flight where a drunken adult caused much more of a headache than this youngster, so you simply sigh and accept that you've been dealt a bad hand.

Ultimately this scenario raises the question, is it inappropriate to bring a toddler on business class seats on a flight? When asked by a user of the question-and-answer website Quora, there was considerable feedback.

The consensus among the respondents was that many toddlers are better behaved than adults, and as long as the parents attempt to keep them quiet and calm on the flight then of course they should be allowed at the pointy end of the plane.

Here are some of the responses - thankfully for humanity most of them are very reasonable:

Stephanie Vardavas: "Let's think about this in a logical way. One parent flying plus toddler: If the parent is flying in business class, is he or she supposed to leave the toddler in coach, alone? No, of course not.

"Two parents flying plus toddler: If one parent is flying in business class, is the other parent supposed to sit in coach and deal with the toddler all alone, with no support?

"One parent flying plus older child (or children) plus toddler: If the parent is flying in business class, is it good parenting to leave the toddler in coach with only a 10-year-old sibling for supervision? I think the other passengers in coach might have something to say about this.

"Two parents flying plus older child (or children) plus toddler: Again, if one parent gets to sit upfront and sip free drinks, is it fair to force the other parent to sit in coach with two or more kids and no adult backup?"

Leah Earl: "No. By and large, if you put a toddler in business class - with a big comfortable seat, enough space that they can't kick the seat in front even if they try, a good entertainment system that lets you position the screen where they can see it, and plentiful snacks and drinks - then he or she will be happy as Larry and won't disturb anyone.

"In contrast an unhappy and screaming child in economy can spoil the flight for everyone."

Beth Chaplin: "Absolutely not. I've flown business and I've flown coach, and I've never been bothered by the presence of children. Usually it is the other adult passengers who are most annoying."

Manoj Ganapathy: "I fly business with my family, sometimes, on my own money. And my family includes wife, an infant and a toddler. My kids are well behaved, except sometimes when the infant is too tired, and its bedtime, she would cry for a good 5-10 mins. Then she is off asleep.

"Would I care about the disturbance she causes to others? Yes of course I do. And I try my best to pacify her, walk her around, take her to places where (supposedly) she is less of a disturbance to others. Would I hesitate flying business for this reason alone? Damn no."

Ian Holsman: "It's perfectly acceptable. As a frequent flyer, I do cringe when I see little kids in (business) class, but most of the time they are nice and quiet and the noise cancelling headsets which people use make it a non-issue."

Scott Rainey: "I've asked airlines to create children zones where they once had smoker sections. No reply ... Perhaps some day. Till then, carry hearing protection."

Samir Jain: "Many times, companies pay for their employees to travel in business class. It's not typically as a reward, or feel their staff should travel in style; rather, it's an investment. They need their folks to arrive well rested and ready to go, to close that $10 million deal, or to save a potential account from going to a competitor.

" ... Is it inappropriate to bring a toddler into business class? I don't think so, just be aware that some of us aren't just trying to be snooty, we're just trying to be effective with our livelihoods."

Peter Hawkins: "Those who fly business class have a reasonable expectation of a somewhat quiet environment where, if you wanted to, you could do serious work. This means that noisy toddlers cannot be present."

Sonny Chatrath: "It is inappropriate, because business people need to arrive at their destination rested up. Some airlines do not allow infants, and toddlers in business class cabin (I am not making this up).

"Having said that, you can still get away with getting a ticket issued for the infant, and nobody can/will stop you. My wife and I had flown to London on Virgin Atlantic when my daughter was only three years old, and she kept kicking the seat in front of her, and she started crying an hour into the flight.

" ... Some people are inconsiderate. Their argument is that they spent a lot of money for the comfort."


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