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People seem to have very strong opinions on where people should and should not sit, and especially so when it regards children (and more specifically, OTHER people’s children). I’ve seen some people advocating for “child-free” flights (never gonna happen), and some parents seem to let their kids do whatever they want without making any attempt to actually parent. Personally, I think a reasonable middle ground is that parents should do their best to make sure that kids do not bother other passengers and that for everyone else, it’s part of the social contract that we deal with occasional discomfort.

I remember a post a while ago that I read over at Miles from Blighty asking if it was “Time to ban children under 2 from premium cabins, or are children just children?”

a girl crying with her hand to her eye

The author of the post recounts a recent flight of his

I have recently completed an 8 hour flight, during which two children (under 2) sat two rows behind me in Business Class screamed or cried loudly for 7 hours of it. This is no exaggeration for the sake of effect, (or a good headline), but represents an accurate report of the experience. Ear plugs and Bose headsets had no impact to the screaming. The parents seemed unable or perhaps incapable of stopping them. No amount of ‘shushing’ had an effect in reducing the volume nor frequency of the noise.

Obviously this is a rather heated topic, with lots of strong opinions on both sides.  It’s almost like the kids crying on airplanes debate! 🙂

(SEE: Why parents of children flying should NOT give “goodie bags” to fellow passengers)

My own experience with kids in business class

I’ve flown a few business class flights myself, and I do not remember any kids that have been any type of disruption. On most of my business class flights, there haven’t been that many kids at all. We have taken our kids on a few business class flights, but not when they were very young. By the time you’re a tween or teen, I feel like you should be more than capable of dealing with flying and not bothering other people.

(SEE ALSO: 11 things from an 11 year old’s first business class flight)

a girl sitting in a bed with a tv

We are aware of our kids and how they affect others (of course! we have a lot of them!).  I’ve even gone so far as to try and specifically pick seats that will minimize others’ disturbances.  Still, it hasn’t stopped other passengers from telling me that I am “the type of person that shouldn’t have children

Personally I felt like the original article offered points on both sides.  Yes, it totally sucks when you’ve paid a lot (in cash or miles) and you’re in business class, and you are wanting to get some rest, and someone is loudly disturbing you (whether it’s a child crying, being loud or anything else). On the other hand, there are plenty of adults that act inappropriately on planes or otherwise. After our Aer Lingus business class flight was canceled, we were rebooked in economy, and there were 2 adults (one a flight attendant) who (loudly) chatted THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE OVERNIGHT FLIGHT only a row away from me, making it pretty much impossible for me to sleep. Maybe we should ban flight attendants 🙂

(SEE: 4 tips to survive a red eye flight in economy)

Similarly, on our flight to Puerto Rico a few years ago, there was a group of 4 men who were drinking profusely and generally making fools of themselves.

Ultimately, it’s all down to the parents

Some parents are better than others, but even “good” parents sometimes run into a situation where their kids are crying and / or in other means inconsolable. My 4 year old might be better behaved than your 14 year old.  (That’s a hypothetical – actually my 4 year old would be the one kid of mine that I’d worry about :-D).  Unfortunately all of this is just part of taking “public transportation”.

On a related note, one of the commenters on the original article said

If the child was unwell, they shouldn’t have been on the plane – and that’s the fault of the parents. I’d never take a toddler on a plane if I knew that the change in pressure would exacerbate their illness and cause them pain.

which I TOTALLY disagree with. Sometimes, you just gotta go, even if your kid is sick. You’re not going to cancel a long awaited trip to Grandma’s, or even moving cross-country due to a illness. When that happens, sometimes you just have to suck it up, and it’s bad, and you have to make the best of it.

The Bottom Line

I think it’s unlikely that we’ll see any airlines banning children from premium cabins or from planes at all any time soon.  Until then, just know that I and most parents are doing our best to make sure our children don’t inconvenience you.  And for those parents who aren’t, well… nothing you say is going to have an effect on them anyways, so you might as well just chill out about it! 🙂

So what do you think? Should Business and First Class have an age limit?  Or should it be wide open to everyone?

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