The Travel Cocktail

Cocktail Talk: Should small children be allowed in First and Business Class?

You could hear them five gates down, that high pitch shrill. Not one, but two, 3 year old boys, screaming at the top of their lungs. Not just crying but absolute torturous screams. They didn’t stop the whole time in the gate area, on the shuttle to the aircraft, and they didn’t quiet down when they were seated… right behind me! Ugh! The dread every airline passenger fears: “Please don’t let them sit near me, please don’t let them sit near me…”

And here I was in Club Class having splurged and paying extra to treat myself to a fabulous holiday in style only to have it ruined by the evil twins. What made it all the worse was the total lack of care by the parents! My seat mate and I were assaulted with kicking and tantrums of the children behind us with no concern by the parents to quiet them down or discipline them. We took turns to politely ask the cabin crew to please try and put a stop to the chaos escalating behind us, and they did their best, they really did, trying to distract the children and kindly asking the mother to please tell them to sit in their seats, which also incidentally took away from their main job of looking after the rest of the cabin. The mother smiled but did nothing. The father, was missing in action in the row across from them, the only person on the plane oblivious to the disruption.

Now maybe parents will sympathize with the screaming children, but here is the thing, I paid a lot of money to fly premium, around three times more then a regular ticket would cost. I could neither relax or enjoy the experience because of the situation at hand. I had a splitting headache, as I am sure the rest of the cabin did and arrived annoyed and tired. In any other situation I would ask for some kind of money back as I did not get what I paid for. Here’s a thought, maybe if children are going to be put in Business and First they should pay extra, and that extra money be given back to the other passengers on the flight who had to endure them during their travels. Its really not fair to the other travellers to pay that much more to fly premium and get this type of awful experience.

As we waited to exit the aircraft a baby back in economy cried. I said to the lady who had been sitting next to me, my fellow survivor, and said: “That baby cried less then those kids.” To which the astonished mother replied “Oooooh I’m sorry, but think of what I’ve had to go through, I’ve been dealing with them since Miami!” It took everything in my being not to say what was on my mind. How selfish! These are her kids and all she can do is play ‘Poor me.’ It was beyond inconsiderate -to EVERYONE on the plane. As we waited for the luggage to arrive on the carrousel the Devil’s Spawn continued to howl at fever pitch. The parents still just letting it all happen with no concern for others.

It may all be part of the travel experience, the good luck bad luck roulette of who gets seated next to you and near you, yet the fact remains if you are a passenger paying a lot more money for premium service and perks in the front of the plane, shouldn’t you be compensated if that luxury travel experience is disrupted by unruly children? Maybe small children who are too young to behave should not be allowed in Business and First Class. Its not fair in general for anyone, no matter where you sit on the plane to be put through any bad behavior, but if you are paying a lot more money then more then 2/3 of the rest of the plane, shouldn’t there be something done to protect the consumer? There are many ‘Adults Only’ places, maybe the front of the plane needs to be one of them.

 

Would you pay a little more to fly in a child free zone?

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