Ridiculous or not? Let’s ban babies in first class once and for all

Should an airline’s first class section be adults-only? Ask passengers like James Armstrong, and you’ll hear a compelling reason for keeping babies in the back — if not off the plane entirely.

“I was on a flight from Bangkok to Beijing,” he remembers. “Royal Thai Airways.”

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Just to set the stage, this is what Thai’s first class section looks like. Nice, huh?

Anyway, there was this German couple with two young children seated a few rows away. “One of the children was running about, loud and disruptive.”

And sick.

With junior making the rounds, touching the seats, sneezing and sniffling all over the place, Armstrong became infected.

“Nothing like spending two days in Beijing in bed with the flu,” he says.

Babies on planes is a hot topic again, thanks to Octomom’s little incident in business class last weekend and Malaysia Airlines banning young passengers on some its larger jets. Originally, Malaysia said its actions were in response to complains from other premium passengers. It later changed its tune, saying it didn’t have the proper facilities to accommodate infants.

Either way, its move got passengers talking.

“I’m quite serious when I say that I’d rather be on a flight with smokers than with babies,” says reader Dick Carlson. “I’d love to see an airline that offered adult-only flights – maybe late evening or redeye. While I understand that the little squirts have to travel somehow, having one squawk and scream five inches from my ear isn’t anything I want to endure for six hours.”

By way of full disclosure, I used to think babies on planes were a nuisance, no matter where they sat. And I had to laugh when Ryanair announced it would begin offering child-free flights earlier this year.

Look at the date on the press release, in case you’re wondering if they’re serious.

But there’s a kernel of truth to its joke.

“When it comes to children we all love our own but would clearly prefer to avoid other people’s little monsters when traveling,” Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara is quoted as saying. And those words certainly ring true for a lot of passengers, even if Ryanair didn’t really mean it.

I hear the same sentiments from among younger airline passengers and articulated by childless thirtysomething airline commentators. They don’t want to sit next to anyone else’s little monsters, let alone their screaming little monsters.

The “ban babies” from first class — and indeed, sometimes from the plane altogether — proponents’ argument goes something like this. (I’m quoting without attribution, because I’ve received several email that are virtually identical.)

I pay a premium to sit in first or business class and I don’t want my to be disturbed by a crying, screaming or misbehaving child.

While I understand the parent pays as much as I do, I don’t disturb them by screaming or crying or misbehaving and I should not have to deal with their child if they are screaming or crying or carrying on.

Some children are absolute angels and some act like they are the spawn of Satan. While I understand a child’s or baby’s reaction to the change in environment is unpredictable that doesn’t mean anyone should be subjected to it either. A person’s choice to have children and fly with said children does not take precedence over or trump my choice to not have children.

Then there are also a great many parents today that think the world should have to deal with it because “s/he is a child”, when the reality is if you choose to have children you should not inflict them on others, especially strangers.

As clichéd as it sounds, your perspective changes when you have monsters of your own. Notice, I didn’t put “monsters” in quotes. I’ve endured too many flights, and one or two in first class, where my kids didn’t behave well.

So I actually find myself sympathizing with those who would want to keep children, and particularly babies, out of the very best seats. Infants probably don’t belong up front any more than they do in a five-star restaurant. But keeping kids off the plane, period? Not practical.

If young passengers were barred from flying, then how, pray tell, would they travel? By boat? Or spending four days strapped into a baby seat of a car?

“I find crying babies on a plane just as annoying as the next person, whether they’re in first class or not,” says Linda Snow. “But ever since air travel was invented, the rule has been, ‘You get what you pay for.’ If people can pay for first class and want to travel with their babies, they get to.”

Malaysia Airlines’ decision to keep babies out of its first class section on certain flights is as courageous as it is controversial. It acknowledges the fact that its premium cabin is an experience meant primarily for adult passengers.

There will no doubt still be angry parents who think their little brats deserve to sit in first class. Fortunately for them, they have a choice of airlines.

And in the end, the market will decide whether baby-free premium cabins will fly or not.

(Photo: Kind Sir/Flickr Creative Commons)

146 thoughts on “Ridiculous or not? Let’s ban babies in first class once and for all

  1. This is America.  We don’t believe in that sort of discrimination.  At least I  hope we don’t.  Who shall we ban next.  Perhaps group A, because they have a loud tonal language?  Wouldn’t want to disturb that zen like tranquility of First Class.  Perhaps group B because they don’t shower as often as we’d like?  Group C because they eat highly aromatic foods?

    Where does it end.  We live in a pluralistic society and sometimes you will be around people that annoy you.  If you want to be perfectly isolated stay home.

    1. If we didn’t believe in “that kind of discrimination”, we wouldn’t have first class in the first place and everybody would ride coach.

      So, yes, we most certainly believe in it; isn’t capitalism great?

      1. Don’t you mean everyone would ride First Class?  Frontier says that all of their seats are First Class.

    2. “We don’t believe in that sort of discrimination.”  We aren’t talking about banning senior citizens or the disabled here.  Discrimination against various classes of minors is both common and accepted:

      We routinely ban children under a certain age from stores, restaurants, activities, parties, etc.  Why not planes?

    3. Discrimination already occurs on airplanes.  FAs and pilots have the right to kick anyone off the plane, for any reason by citing “safety reasons”. 

    4. Carver, I have to disagree with your thought process here, but for the same reason you stated – this is America. I believe a private business should have the right to dictate who they serve, within reason, and the market should decide whether their restrictions are reasonable. If an airline decides that it’s good business to ban children from first class, they should be allowed to do that. (And anyone who dislikes that policy should feel free to vote with their wallets and avoid that airline). I feel the same way when it comes to banning children from certain restaurants and so on.

      1. Steve R.

        I appreciate you post.  A counter point if I may.  If we accepted your premise that a private business can discriminate as they desire, we return to the pre-civil rights era where business banned blacks from lunch counters, blacks road on the back of the bus, etc.  And those who disagree can simply vote with their wallets.

        I must respectfully disagree with that line of reasoning.

        1. Carver – I believe in Steve’s post, he said “a private business should have the right to dictate who they serve, within reason”, and this is where the right to discriminate against ethnic groups, religions, etc would continue to be illegal. 
          I support a privately owned business’ right to “reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”, so long as it is within the legal parameters. 
          As many have said, the market will bear out whether this is a good idea, and personally I believe that given a choice and if the financial situation allows, many will choose to pay more for the child free first class seats. 

        2. Sitting next to a muslim in a hijab in no way infringes on my enjoyment of the flight or my reasonable peace. Indeed if I were to complain, I would be the narrow-minded pig who should be thrown off the plane. Same for the black man, the Downs syndrome lady, the amputee, choose your minority.

          Sitting next to a person, of any age, who smells like they pooped their pants, who vomits over the seat and who screams for hours – I don’t think you’ll find any reasonable person who thinks that dirty passenger has the right to make us all miserable. I’m a parent, I have flown with children and I adore babies. But in first class? Why would I be so selfish to spoil someone’s serenity, for which they paid thousands of dollars? In a perfect world I’d fly them in my private jet and they’d bother nobody. But in the real world, I choose to take them among the people who paid a hundred bucks, and I do my utmost to keep them quiet, clean and fresh.

          And if I were the thousand dollar first class passenger I would think it reasonable that my expensive ticket shields me from this. Just like shopping in exclusive boutiques, or eating $500 meals. Because those customers have the money which keeps those businesses in business.

        3. “If we accepted your premise that a private business can discriminate as they desire, we return to the pre-civil rights era where business banned blacks from lunch counters, blacks road on the back of the bus, etc. ”

          If anything, we can’t discriminate against some attribute or characteristic you can’t leave at the doorstep. I can leave my jerkiness at your door, but I can’t leave my being a senior Muslim there if/when I step in.

          However unfair that premise is, doesn’t that allow you to discriminate against assholes as well? The door swings both ways.

        4. @Carver: good point, of course. I think there’s a distinction to be made between banning groups of people for who they are, and banning certain types of behavior. The reason an airline should be allowed to ban children and especially babies from first class is because there’s a persuasive argument to be made that they disrupt other passengers. Yes, older children who’ve been raised well are likely to be as well-behaved as the average passenger…but in my experience, it’s rare that a baby on a flight won’t disturb other passengers to some extent. You can’t stop a baby from crying no matter how good a parent you are.

          I’m thinking of a flight I took where I was seated in front of a baby who let out a high-pitched squeal about every five or ten minutes that made it impossible for me to fall asleep. It wasn’t anyone’s “fault”, really (and it was in coach, where I don’t see a practical reason to ban children) – but I would have been incredibly annoyed if I was a first-class passenger and had paid thousands of dollars for my ticket.

        5. Thai Airways and Malaysian Airlines are government-owned flag carriers. I wouldn’t call them “private businesses” per se, although I’ve read that Thai Airways is partially publicly traded.

          Now the policies of their governments may not necessarily be in line with Western ideals.

      2. And it’s not even America – it’s the world. The article was about Malaysia and Royal Thai. The entire world doesn’t live by the US constitution or indeed its society’s values. Sometimes for good and sometimes for bad.

    5. Actually discrimination against kids is allowed. Multiple court decisions have limited age discrimination to those over 40. 

    6. MALAYSIA airlines, not AMERICA airlines. Stop assuming the whole world is one country, or that your constutional rights are for the whole world to follow… please. 🙂

      Just as an aside, air travel is not a democracy. We don’t get a say, the only vote we have is via wallet. Those who disagree can fly with other airlines. Those who vote for child-free flights can vote to fly First with Malaysian. I’m sure you appreciate your right to choose, and those people also have such a right to choose – as does Malaysia. If they wanted to sell seats banning all hats, or banning newspapers, or whatever, they have that right. It will only work if people are happy to pay for it.

  2. If you can justify banning them from first class, then they should be banned from *ALL* classes.  While the people in first class claim they are paying a premium, it is for the seat and attention they get, not the environment.  Are they going to next demand the first class section be muffled against the ambient noise generated by the plane because they paid a “premium”.  If you ask me, some of these first class passengers are just as childish in their demands as the kids they are complaining against.  They think that because they have money, they are “special”.  

    1. It most certainly is for the environment as well.  It is to arrive well rested.  It isn’t about being special, it is about arriving not so jet lagged that you  can’t work upon arrival.

    2. No no no, Sir Elmo. The appeal of the premium class compartments IS the environment, of which the seat and the extra attention are components. That and low density seating on many airlines which recline flat, the little amenity kits some airlines distribute. AND the quiet. People ARE buying those premium class seats specifically to be separated from the noise of the crowded cabin.

  3. My 5-YO son took his first flight when he was 3 1/2-month old and he has taken over 30 flights since that first flight. Over 80% of these flights have been FC or BC with the first FC flight being when he was 3 1/2-month old. My son has behaved perfectly on these flights. Someone can say that we have been lucky but we have done a lot of prep work to insure these results on these flights. When he was under 1, he slept for most of the flight except when he woke up for a feeding. At the end of every flight, the other FC passengers told us that they didn’t know that we were traveling with an infant.I fly every week for business for more than 10 years and I find adult FC passengers to be more annoying than infants in FC. How about drunken FC passengers? How about FC passengers who shout into their cell phones? How about FC passengers who want to talk to you when you don’t? One time, I was on a 3 1/2-hour flight where the passenger next to me spent the whole flight trying to convince me to join Amway after I told him that I wasn’t interested and I had work to do. How about FC passengers who can’t talk without using the F-word or curse words? How about FC passengers who want to steal your FC seat since it is better? I can go on… 

    To be fair, I have been on some flights where there were parents that were totally self-centered, inconsiderate, unprepared, ill-prepared and just plain ignorant in regards to traveling with infants and toddlers in FC and BC.  However, those flights have been few compared to ‘infantile’ adults sitting in FC and BC.

    1. Yeah, ban them all!  Seriously, you have to start somewhere, and the subject is banning babies.  Are you advocating that all of the annoying people get banned?  How will that be implemented since it is so broadly based?  It is not practical.  Banning babies is very practical.  There are all sorts of places that have a minimum age for admittance.

         I’m glad you prepped your kid.  The vast majority don’t, including my siblings.

    2. If you’re gonna go down this road, then ban the fat slob in business/first class who insists on spilling his arms/body over into my adjacent seat, depriving me of my armrest and possibly sleep if said activity wakes me up.  Bonus rudeness if the idiot has been overdrinking and trying to carry on a non-intelligent conversation with me.

      The thing is, there are rude, inconsiderate, people of all ages.  Rather than ban various categories of people, maybe they should just have a “penalty box” area i.e. back of the plane near the restrooms where the airlines can forcefully move such people if they continue to misbehave after a warning.

      1. I can’t speak for all airlines but US Airways do have a policy for POS (person of size).  In short, if they invade more than one inch of your space, they must be relocated.

    3. So, not only is Arizona Road Warrior the perfect passenger who is prepared for every eventuality; his son is also the perfect child, well-behaved in every circumstance. It must be so cool to be you.

      1. Obviously one can’t necessarily be like ARW, nor is it required or else. If they can’t control circumstances outside them, the least one can do is control how you deal with it.

        It so happens how ARW and others like that deal with it can benefit everyone around them.

      2. @MarkieA:twitter  – He’s not the only one.  My son went on his first international flight at 10 months to Grand Cayman.  Aside from some muffled whimpering during take-off, he was a perfect angel the entire 5 hour flight.  We made sure to bring enough things for him to do when he was awake, but tried to keep him sleeping as much as possible.

        Some parent prepare for Air Travel, some don’t.  To ban all babies for the actions of some is stupid.  Just because some extremists hyjacked some planes doesn’t mean that all Muslims should be banned from air travel does it?

        That said, I have no issues if an airline offers specific flights that are Kid-Free.  That is their right to do that and if there is a market for upcharging some people for a child-free flight, go for it.  But don’t take away the flights that do allow children. 

        Banning Children from all flights, when Air Travel is a necessary part of Today’s Society is just wrong.  If you go this route, why stop there?  Why not Buses and Trains too?  How about we simply force everyone who’s made the decision to have children into the Family Car for long road trips every time they want to take a vacation or travel long distances?

        Instead of making snide comments like “It must be so cool to be you.” how about instead you take a few years to grow up and act like an adult?

        1. When my son was younger, we booked flights that were near his naptime or bedtime so that he slept mostly on these flights.

          I have been on several flights where I have seen well-behaved infants and toddlers…IMHO, it is the parents.

  4. Businesses are free(within certain limits) to determine how they run their operations. If they wish to ban certain people from a section of an airplane they can do that. The bottom line will determine how successful they are. On the other hand I have read many more reports of adults causing trouble on airplanes than babies. I have never read a story about a crying baby causing an aircraft to divert or require physical intervention by other passengers. 

    I am less bothered by crying babies than I am by condescending, self-important, well-off whiners.

  5. I’ve flown with my children since they were infants (they are now nearly grown) and there are a lot of things you can do to make flying a more positive experience for them, and the airlines need to do a better job educating parents about ways to help things go more smoothly. Babies should be given a bottle or pacifier during take-off and landing to ease the severe pain in their little ears due to pressurization (a MAJOR cause of baby-crying on planes). Parents can request the bulk-head seat so they have a little floor space for antsy toddlers to play. I always brought a few new toys and books, which would occupy them far longer than familiar items (although a favorite lovey is helpful if you are hoping to get them to nap). Flight attendants can also help by talking directly to children and offering them a visit to the cabin if they are good during the flight. My kids got such a kick out of collecting “wings” that they were awarded for good behavior. When behavior gets out of control, instead of glaring at parents, why not offer to help them? “Looks like your kids are having a tough time with this flight. Can I read to the older one while you help the baby get to sleep?” Most parents would be grateful for your kindness, even if they don’t actually take you up on the offer.

    1. If airlines weren’t dependant upon public funding to function, fine. But they’re not. Without taxpayer support, the commercial airline industry would not exist. Keep that in mind when you advocate discriminating against a class of citizens.

    2. “the airlines need to do a better job educating parents”
      “Flight attendants can also help by talking directly to children and offering them a visit to the cabin if they are good during the flight”
      “When behavior gets out of control, instead of glaring at parents, why not offer to help them?”

      FA’s and passengers are not your babysitters, and airlines have no such responsibility to educate parents. If you need help with your kids, bring it with you on the flight. If parents need to be educated, it’s their own responsibility, no one else’s.

      1. Agreed, Luisa. If you need FAs to help babysit your kids, then you shouldn’t be on a plane, regardless of the section you’re sitting in.

        1. I didn’t say flight attendants should be babysitters. I said they could help prevent bad behavior of bored children by offering the kids an easy “bribe.” I didn’t think this up on my own; I had a number of flight attendants do this over the years and my kids LOVED being told they had behaved well enough to earn a peek in the cabin and cheap plastic wings. 

          And as far as the airlines educating parents, how hard would it be to have “Tips on Flying with Children” or something like that to help out first-time parents? I was fortunate that a more experienced mom shared the pacifier-during-take-off-and-landing trick with me. Works like a charm because the swallowing causes the baby’s ears to pop and relieves the pressure (which is MUCH worse for babies than for adults because their eustachian tubes are much shorter than ours). 

          Loud computer users, cell phone chatterers, body odor, strong perfumes, lingering cigarette smell, chatty seatmates – ALL are obnoxious and ruin the flight for others. Maybe while the TSA is screening for incendiary devices and sharp objects, they could also screen for potentially offensive passengers. They could all be seated in one section of the plane and leave us quiet, courteous, scent-free travelers in peace!

          1. I think cjr’s point was that if parents are going to fly with children, it is really their responsibility to make sure that they know what to do. Googling ‘flying with children’ turns up dozens of helpful sites, so there’s really no excuse for parents’ ignorance.

          2. IMHO, most US-based airlines are not kids friendly compared to other non-US based airlines.  We have received ‘rock star’ treatment when we have traveled on Asiana and Cathay Pacific with our son…they carried our carry-on to/from the plane; they put our carry-on luggage in the bins; they came by our seats every 15 minutes asking if we need something; etc.  Asiana gave our son an airline.  Cathay Pacific gave our son a backpack with a Disney DVD, etc.

      2. Indeed. It is incumbent on the parents to research ways to keep their children occupied during flights so that other passengers don’t have to try to keep them quiet. If you cannot manage more than one child at a time, bring someone with you. Other passengers should not feel required to offer assistance.

    3. Six months before my son was born, I started to research how to travel with infants, toddlers, etc. on the Internet.  There are several forums, website, etc. out there on the subject.

  6. This is such garbage!  Does this mean I get to ban the idiot in First Class last month who insisted on playing video games on his cell phone with the volume up so he could hear it, despite not having any ear phones (oh, and by the way, it was on a red-eye where most people tried to go to sleep as soon as the plane lifted off).  Or does it mean eliminating the jerks on my flight to BCN three weeks ago who were up talking (NOT in soft voices) for hours or the guy who kept his reading light on so he could watch television!  Yes, children can be a pain in the a$$ on flights (like the children who were literally running laps around my LAN 767 from GYE to JFK who used my bulkhead row as the cross-over!).  There SHOULD be some sort of penalty for their parents not keeping them under control.  But to ban children altogether is utter rubbish!

    1. Now if you wanted to propose an idea to ban loud, self-centered, obnoxious GITS (like the Octomom), THAT I would FULLY endorse and support!

    2. I’m not picking out your situation in particular, there are many who have mentioned similar situations. But, how many of you who have complaints about boorish, rude, nasty behavior actually try and talk to the person who is offending? Perhaps they don’t realize it. I’ve found that if you politely ask someone to stop doing one of these obnoxious acts, 75% of the time, they’ll stop. The other 25% of the time, well… People are so afraid of confrontation in this day and age, that they put up with such crap. It ends up ruining their flight, movie, dinner, whatever. Sit and stew if you want, I’ll try a little politeness/embarrassment and see if I can save my sanity.

      1. A friend of mine was recently complaining that a guy on her bus was playing music on his cell phone at a disturbing-to-others level, despite having available headphones. She said it ruined her entire trip on the bus.

        I asked her if she said anything to him. The answer was no.

        Perhaps it is that I’m just used to correcting behavior as a teacher, but I don’t always ask politely (sometimes I forget and TeacherCommand). I have yet to have someone not ultimately comply. The worst that can happen is that they try to retaliate by turning music up louder, in which case the peer pressure around who are happy that you are a mouthpiece, will back you and the person will stand down after a bit of bluster.

  7. What a slippery slope we are  headed down if we start banning ‘classes’ of people from planes. The blame for the disruption is being misplaced onto the children – the problem is the permissive parents, not their offspring who have learned the can be unruly without consequence. It’s also a bit of a stretch for this chap to blame his cold on the child …he could have easily picked it up from sick flight crew or the quiet and unassuming person sat behind him. I am also uneasy about this feeling that people in first or business can dictate who and who cannot fly on ‘their plane. No matter how often you fly and no matter how many perks you are entitled to ….other paying passengers have the same rights you do. And if that means taking their new baby to visit granny – so be it.

    1. “It’s also a bit of a stretch for this chap to blame his cold on the child …he could have easily picked it up from sick flight crew or the quiet and unassuming person sat behind him.”

      My Dr. told me it typically takes about a week for cold/flu symptoms to appear after exposure.  Its called an incubation period.  Chances are this fellow already had it, and the dry air on the plane probably didn’t help his already ailing condition.

  8. Children are routinely excluded from certain establishments, whether by rule, by law, or by custom/suggestion/request. I don’t think it’s proper to prevent them from flying altogether, but keeping them out of certain seats or sections, or off certain flights doesn’t seem at all unreasonable. If I were flying an airline that had that rule, I’d definitely select a child-free flight.

  9. Eh, I’ll never be able to afford FC anyhow.  Southwest cattle class for me.  Oh, to have “first-class” problems.  

    1. Ha! Most likely me neither.  Or, even if I can afford first class someday, I won’t be able to afford a ticket for my kids to come with me in first class as well.  I laughed when I read your post.

  10. Airlines sell first class as a premium experience.  You’re paying a lot of money/points/etc to arrive “well rested” and comfortable.   This does not happen if there are poorly behaved children or babies in the area.

    If the airlines could actually kick out the noisy kids, then it wouldn’t be so bad..but they seem to be ill equipped to do that.  The case for keeping the kids/babies out of first class is quite sound.  As far as their “right” to be there…sure, as long as my “right” not to be disturbed is respected..but it is not…so out they should go.   I’ve been on transatlantic flights with bad (and good) kids.  With the bad ones, it is just frustrating.

    In the economy section, they should try put the babies in one area of the plane so they aren’t scattered about the whole section.

    1. Would putting all the babies together not result in sympathetic crying? One kid starts crying and it causes a chain reaction?

      I’m sure someone who works in the baby room at a preschool would know the answer to this.

  11. Chuckling – and while we’re banning .. stinky people who spent the time before a flight in the smoking lounge and people who overdrink and are obnoxious and those who have friends behind them and talk loudly or stand in the aisles and ….. I vote for bigger tax breaks for private planes so we can EACH have one and then we’d have more employment with new airports (construction, staffing) and air traffic controllers. Yep, that’s the ticket!

  12. I would rather they ban people who reek of smoke, BO, and/or perfume than ban children.  I find them far more of a nuisance.  I fly 3 to 4 segments a week on average.  I’ve experienced my share of screaming babies, annoying children, etc.  However they are the exception, not the rule.  Besides, I have a pair of noise-blocking (not noise canceling) headphones, and they block out 98% of baby screams.
     
    I spend the majority of my time in coach, but I do often wonder why the children in coach are usually better behaved that the ones in First class. When I do get upgraded (or very rarely pay if I find a cheap fare), and there are children in First Class, they are often running around, jumping on seats, throwing toys, while the parent shave the headphones on and don’t pay attention to them.  Again, there are well behaved ones as well.  The parents of these kids tend to also be like the people Arizona Road Warrior describes, they are rude to the flight attendants, demand to take other peoples seats, talk loudly into their cell phones.  It’s the parents are the problem, many parents are much better at controlling their kids.  However as these parents are probably paying full fare for first class for them and their children, they are also keeping the airline in business.
     
    Despite the annoyances I have received from children in first class; I don’t think they should be banned.  Banning one particular customer over a bad experience, that’s fine.  Banning a whole class of people as whole is just wrong; it makes me wonder who they will ban next?

  13. Aren’t Airlines *COMMON* Carriers? As long as passengers can afford the seat and does not affect the safety of others, then it really does not matter what kind of passenger he/she is.  Rejecting babies is clearly discriminatory. Buying (or providing) earplugs is the solution.

  14. It’s difficult to keep a small baby from crying, it’s not difficult to keep an older child from behaving badly on an aircraft, it’s up to the parents to supervise and reign in a child who is not acting correctly. Blame the parents not the small children. That’s why I always carry ear plugs.

  15. I fly FC frequently and encounter small children sometimes, luckily don’t have any annoying  experiences. Most of the times they are accompanied only by the “governante” (Americans call it Babysitter), and they behave quite well. They might behave more freely with their parents.
    I culprits are not the children but the parents. They don’t educate adequately their children and think the school do the tasks they missed (the worst cases are the “parvenus/new-riches/hiphop rappers” are enough educated themselves and don’t have a clue how to behave well, don’t expect much from their children).
    Statistically, I think it’s not enough reasonable to ban the children. Ban the un-educated parents (strong smell body odor, loud mouth,…).
    Infant is another matter. First I absolutely don’t think infants like to travel and most of us don’t know how to give care to them adequately. Of course they are unhappy, disoriented… and don’t know how to protest beside crying. So banning infant from First Class is understandable.

    PS. I support banning Octomom & Co

  16. The subtext of all these “ban kids from first class” seems to be that people in economy class somehow deserve the annoyance more than those seated in first.  I’ve flown a lot of first class, and let me tell you – I’ve encountered a lot more awful behavior from people up front than from people in the back.

    Plus – kids, especially infants, are extremely sensitive to their parents’ moods.  Do you think that stressed-out parents trying to cram their stuff into the 17″ wide 31″ pitch economy class seat are going to have a relaxed baby? Or do you think the parents who have eaten in the lounge, boarded calmly, and have space to breathe are going to have a relaxed baby? 

  17. “Noise Prompts Monroeville Restaurant To Ban Young Kids”
    McDain’s Owner Says ‘Volume Can’t Be Controlled’ Under Age 6
    Monroeville, PA

    it’s a start.

  18. Banning “babies” (by my definition, children under the age of 2) on airplanes in any class is not an issue for me, because they are not the ones running around in front of seats and they can’t help themselves as far as crying and screaming goes.  Somehow it just doesn’t bother me.  It’s the kids in the toddler category that are the issue and the parents that don’t make enough effort to keep them quiet (they of course, ruin it for the parents that do make the effort, and there are plenty of them too).

    Banning kids in any class probably isn’t a realistic proposition, and nor is expecting a 3-year old kid to sit quietly for 6+ hours.  I have one word for these parents of the screaming, disruptive children on a plane: benadryl.  It works wonders on the child and everyone on the plane, in all classes, has a much quieter, pleasant flight.  Before you holier-than-thou types blast me for suggesting that people “drug their children”, C’mon folks, its just an
    over-the-counter, very low level medication that is less controversial than aspirin.  Plus it wears off relatively quickly so there is plenty more screaming and disruption to look forward to when the parents and child(ren) are off the plane.

    1. Benadryl makes my kid wired – test it out before you do it on a plane (oh, yeah, I know, it’s ‘drugging’ your child.)  DVDs, Leapster / Nintendo, books work better.

      1. LAX-JFK in discount business on United for 13 (Octomom and her 12 spawn) comes to: $57,322.20.

        How much was the hospital bill she skipped out on? Maybe the Today show should have made her he fly coach and donated the difference to the state of California.

        I choose United because they are the only carrier with 3-cabin service on the route (due to the SAG contract).  If she had flown First Class it would have cost $78,209.20, but there are only 12 first class seats.

        1. God, the Octomom needs her kids taken away and she needs to be locked up for stupidity and tax/welfare fraud. I’m sure us taxpayers got porked with her medical bills.

  19. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer here.  Banning children from flights or an entire class is probably going to generate lawsuits, but not much else.  Maybe a couple of “child free” rows would fly, no pun intended, but doubt that would really solve the problem. 

    The big issue is, with children, especially infants and toddlers, they can be completely inconsolable despite the best efforts of the parents.  If an infant’s ears hurt, you’re not going to quiet him or her down (and as someone who still has ear trouble when flying, I can tell you, there are times you just can’t do anything about it).  Toddlers can also go into these Atilla the Hun moods, where they decide they’re going to scream until the cows come home.  Of course, the one time I pulled that stunt, mom and dad didn’t take me anywhere for a good while afterwards, but I digress.

    Instead, why don’t we start holding parents accountable when they refuse to control their children.  You know, the types that believe their kids have the right to “express themselves” by kicking your seat, running around the aisles wildly, and spilling water on you because, hey, “they’re 3 years old and what do you expect?!?!?!”.  Fine the parents, or tell mommy and daddy that their business is no longer welcome on the airline.  Of course, you then have the issue of how do you define when a parent is being irresponsible, or if they’re trying but the kid decides to be Atilla the Hun anyway.

  20. I never had a “problem” with kids in First Class until the flight where the two kids behind me selected the last two Lamb Chop entres and I had to settle for the Chicken………:)

  21. I was recently on a flight back from San Juan to the states and had 2 children with their parents in business class.  Half-way into the flight, the kids decided that they no longer needed headphones for the movie they were watching.  The rest of the cabin got to listen to the movie, whether we wanted to or not.  Until another passenger spoke up, the parents were right there and happily letting their kids do what they wanted, even if it was bothering the rest of us.  And for those calling discrimination, guess what, children are not in a protected class, so kids can be banned, disallowed, etc. even in the US and unless and until parents start being parents again (mine would have promptly shut my sis and I down had we done something like this), then I am all for it. 

  22. I find it absolutely absurd that we are still having the discussion on banning children/babies from flights, whether it be FC, BC or Coach.  Seriously, I understand that not everyone wants to have children, or even like children, but as long as they are behaved it shouldn’t be an issue.  If we are talking ridiculous bans, let’s ban people who don’t speak English from FC. I mean, I pay a premium and I shouldn’t have to sit next to someone who is speaking their own language on an 8 hour flight. Or lets ban people who are using their computers in FC. I pay a premium and I shouldn’t have to be subjected to your computer making noise because you don’t have headphones. Or better yet, lets ban smokers from airplanes in general. I pay pretty good money to fly and I shouldn’t have to sit next to someone who smells like an ashtray for 8 hours. There are so many ridiculous bans we can put out there.
    We shouldn’t be blaming the children because they truly don’t know better, but rather the parents who do nothing while their little *angel* is acting like satans spawn.  I’ve flown with my son since he was about 8 months old, and the only time he cried was when he needed feeding, changing, or when the cabin air was pressurizing as we were landing.  I think you will find this affects more children and it does hurt because your ears need to pop.  My son has flown by himself on a flight before, and he had no problems.  So maybe we should stop living in fairytale land and realize that yes there are times you are just going to put on your big boy/girl panties and suck it up.

  23. I’m kind of torn on this issue. My kids are grown up now, but we did travel first class with them on occasion when they were infants and toddlers.  I was one of the lucky parents of kids that didn’t scream and cry….ever! I was also very sensitive to business travelers.  I booked flights around their  napping schedule which helped.  However,  children are a fact of life and while it’s not always rainbows and lollipops flying with them, they deserve whatever comforts are afforded to adults.  Don’t blame unruly children, blame the insensitive parents!

  24. I’m kind of torn on this issue. My kids are grown up now, but we did
    travel first class with them on occasion when they were infants and
    toddlers.  I was one of the lucky parents of kids that didn’t scream and
    cry….ever! I was also very sensitive to business travelers.  I booked
    flights around their  napping schedule which helped.  However, 
    children are a fact of life and while it’s not always rainbows and
    lollipops flying with them, they deserve whatever comforts are afforded
    to adults.  Don’t blame unruly children, blame the insensitive parents!

  25. Let me begin with the obligatory ‘MY children behave on flights, but other people’s don’t because….’

    The problem that I’ve noticed is that parents often behave on a plane as they behave in restaurants — they ignore their children because there is someone there to care for the customers’ needs, either a waiter or a flight attendant. Doesn’t that sound ridiculous? But how many times have you noticed parents in restaurants talking to their companions and ignoring the fact that their children are noisy, making a mess, or running around disturbing people?

    I, the Obviously Admirable Parent, did my best to keep mine from doing those things. As a result, we often left restaurants before we wanted to because a child was ready to go. Obviously this is not possible on a plane, but the parents do not seem interested in minimizing the obnoxious behavior of their children if it requires them to quit reading/playing Angry Birds/working/talking to their companions. My children never irritated other airline passengers because when they were babies we drove to visit grandparents. We always had to bring so much child-related crap with us that the convenience of flying was not convenient at all. And I know not everyone can do this (my sister and her children live overseas), so when the girls and I flew when they were 5 and 8, I made sure to explain that their behavior needed to be church-level behavior and I made sure that I brought enough things to entertain them with so that they didn’t try to entertain themselves at others’ expense.

    I am tolerant of other people’s children on flights, but then I don’t pay 3 times as much to fly in first class. I HAVE dined in expensive restaurants, however, and I can tell you that I really don’t want to hear or see anyone’s children behaving badly. Or even ‘behaving like children,’ since that often means that the children are behaving as though they are at McDonald’s.

    There is a subset of parents who seem to think that the existence of their children and the care of their children in public is everyone’s responsibility — or actually, ceases to be their responsibility in public places, the very situation in which the parents should be hyper-attentive to their offspring’s capacity to annoy others. Because The Child needs to express himself…The Child doesn’t like sitting in a seat for more than an hour…it’s too harsh to ask The Child to behave unnaturally fr the duration of a flight. If The Child is incapable of sitting in a seat without disrupting people, then strap The Child into a car seat and drive so that the only people who have to hear him are the people who are related to him. And if you cannot drive to your destination, perhaps you should pick one that you can drive to.

    End of pompous lecture.

    1. Too funny, but a lot of truth here.  So long as others do realize that children are, oddly enough, children.  They are NOT little adults.  When others’ kids are badly misbehaving, and the parents are in a tizzy trying to calm them down, I just laugh and think, “It’s sooooo good when it happens to somebody else.” 

    2. I’m with you, but having grown up reading the Dayton Daily News and the Dayton Journal Herald, I grew up reading Erma Bombeck before she was famous.  She taught me more about parenting than any Doctor Spock book.

      1. My mother gave me a copy of Miss Manners’ Guide to Raising Perfect Children when I was pregnant…..I thought it was a joke at first, but it was actually helpful.

  26. Hasn’t anyone heard of children’s Nyquil? I flew with my twin infants and kept them quiet the whole flight with a little gentle over-the-counter persuasion.   Get real!

  27. It’s all about parents be courteous.  We have traveled with our daughter since she was six months old.  Up until she was four, we always sat in the back of the plane.  At four, she was old enough to move to business / first but we accepted the responsibility to keep her entertained on long international flights — lots of books, Leapster games, coloring, in-flight cartoons, DVDs, etc. (hint – bring new ones so they don’t get bored so quickly.)

    If parents are responsible and courteous, it’s not even an issue.  We don’t need the airlines to tell us how to be parents.

    1. Absolutely, but a lot of parents do not manage their children properly.    I flew with my then-8-month-old daughter last summer by myself.  I was embarassed by how whiny and fidgety she was but I didn’t know how to improve it.  When we were getting off, the people in the row behind us seemed surprised that she was there and said she was really quiet.  There are different tolerance levels on what’s appropriate.  And many parents also think everything their child does is adorable and don’t realise that strangers don’t necessarily feel the same.

  28. One way to handle children running amok is to call the FA over & explain that a child not restrained is an unsafe child, and because people put and drop all sorts of things on the floor, maybe the best place for that child is in a seat, not tripping over obstacles.  Safety is their primary concern, and if you point out it is not safe, I believe they will try to do a better job of informing the parents of the flight rules.  If the parents want to give the child a walk-break, they should ESCORT THEM once, up & down the aisle.

  29. I don’t have a problem with banning babies from First Class as long as their is a Business class on the plane.  I don’t think that just because you have a baby with you that you should be banned from premium, but at the price of first class I can see that being another perk.

  30. I love my toddler more than anything, but even I find it tedious when she gets whiny.  I certainly don’t expect complete strangers to find it endearing.  Yes, there are things that can be done to minimize it, but when they’re really young, they are, to an extent, unpredictable.  I don’t think business class is any place for small children.

  31. Let me think about this:  Because you can afford to buy a first class seat, you also want to control who you have around you.  Tough nuts buster.  I would rather be on a plane with 100 babies than with someone with your attitude!  We are flying with three kids in first class.  Hope you are on our flight 🙂

  32. I voted “NO” because I never fly first class and that would mean that those monsters would be flying back where I fly…coach! So, yeah! put the children in first class! What do I care! Just keep them away from me in coach!
    I just spent a week in Hawaii, flying from the east coast, to the west coast, then catching another flight to Honolulu. Two *VERY* long flights! On the first one, we had a passel of brats that just couldn’t seem to behave themselves…All three seats in the row were children. The parents were sitting on the other side of the plane (no wonder).
    If these children were 10 years older, the actions they performed would classify them as terrorists and they would have been arrested!
    Luckily, on the connecting flight from the west coast, they were sitting somewhere further away and did not involve me or my wife at all.
    My wife and I are childless by choice. This doesn’t mean that we can’t have them, or that we will eventually have children, it means that we don’t like them and we don’t want them…I feel insulted when people with children expect me to treat their children with joy and loving care. Sorry, that’s not part of my agenda. I usually treat children with a level of indifference and go out of my way to ignore the little beasts!

    1. “My wife and I are childless by choice. This doesn’t mean that we can’t have them, or that we will eventually have children, it means that we don’t like them and we don’t want them”

      What a mean spirited, hateful ending to your post. Maybe you and your wife should avoid the mall too since they have those dreadful “little beasts” there too. Or maybe you should avoid going to the grocery store, the library, or anywhere outside your home because you are going to come into contact with them.  Better yet, you should probably move into a neighborhood with no children. 
      I understand people who choose not to have children, and I respect their decision because parenthood is not always an easy or pleasant experience. However, I think it’s people like you who HATE children that should be banned from places like airplanes and other public places because attitudes like yours are just nasty.  I am pretty sure that people who come into contact with you an airplane think the same of you.

      1. And maybe people like you who probably think their kid is the BEST THING EVER need a kick in the face. Your child is nothing more than a bunch of DNA that got lucky. 

        1. Violent much NBlack?  Geesh, there are ways you can get your point across without resorting to saying people should be *kicked in the face* if they think their kid is the”BEST THING EVER.”  Do I think my child is the best thing ever?  Heck yeah I do, he’s my son. Do I think he’s perfect?  Not a chance.  Just like all kids, he has been known to misbehave, it’s just never happened on an airplane.  I’ve known more adults who have been major a$$es than most kids are.  Kids misbehave, but it’s their parents who need to be dealt with for letting it happen.  I have no problem telling a kid to knock it off, and if their parents say anything I tell them that if THEY had done their job as a parent, I wouldn’t have to say anything.  In any case, there was no need whatsoever with the tone of what you said.

    2. I have to take issue with this one.  Julie, while I understand your feelings, ones personal feelings about children is just that, personal.  I don’t know he said he HATED them to the extent he was on the verge of being Ted Bundy (though, let’s be fair – he REALLY liked children) they just prefer to not be around them.

      I have four kids of my own, all but one grown and he’s on his way out the door for the Air Force next year, and I say this with an extreme amount of love, but – kids are rude, vile little creatures and I believe they should all go to live on an island somewhere until they turn about 19.  I tell my kids all the time they should carry with them the strongest of faith in God as the only thing that kept them alive long enough to reach adulthood and parenthood is the love God gave me for them.

      My brother worked for Delta for many years and though he was flying for near free, his kids weren’t permitted in First Class until they reached the age of 14.  On each child’s 14th birthday, they flew First Class to “anywhere but Atlanta” (where they lived) as this was the real treat.

      I also have a sister who opted to not have children and her husband agreed.  My mother always gave them a hard time about this, pretty much saying what you were saying.  I finally stood up for her that her dislike of children didn’t extend to her nieces and nephews; to the contrary.  She is wonderful with them all the time. She just prefers kids around in short spans.

      I don’t begrudge the poster here, nor my sister, their feelings.  At least he’s honest about them.  We could use a little more honesty in the world.  Sadly, there are parents who didn’t want kids and had them anyway because they felt they should.  This usually doesn’t end well.

      While kids are certainly a nuisance on longer flights, I believe it’s the parents who don’t control them who should be put on some kind of No-fly list.

      1. Nancy,
        I actually have no problem with anyone who doesn’t want kids. It takes a strong person to be able to say that because society tends to look down on people who aren’t foaming at the mouth to reproduce.  If you know in your heart that parenthood is not something you aspire to, it’s better than having a kid you don’t want.  Had he/she ended the post with I am childless by choice, I would have had no qualms with anything he said and not responded.  It was the hateful remarks he made after the fact that I took offense to, and responded.  If you think all kids are little beasts, then you shouldn’t put yourself in a position where kids are around. This would include the bus, plane, stores, libraries, etc.  He came off as a pompous, arrogant jerk and that’s how I responded.

  33. I had to fly through MCO last week (which I normally avoid like the plague) but since I had scored an upgrade, I thought it wouldn’t be so bad. Boy, was I wrong. In first, there was a family of four Breeders–Mom, Dad, two kids. One kid was about 10, the other 6. The 10 year old had some kind of problem that caused him to scream like a baby for the entire five hour flight. Mom kept telling people, “He’s autistic and he’s doing the best he can!”

    No, the “best” thing Mom could’ve done is kept him out of a premium seat and/or drugged his butt with a sleeping pill. My head is still spinning from that screaming!!! 

    Yes, I’m a heartless [email protected] I don’t care. If your kid is going to SCREAM like a maniac, get him off the plane and DRIVE your butt to Di$ney!

    1. Raven: I’m pretty sure your parents were “Breeders,” else you wouldn’t be here, so your contempt seems to be inappropriate. And the kids on your flight weren’t Breeders; they are the Bred.

      1. Eh, whatever. I was trying to separate this group from parents because clearly these idiots were only thinking of themselves and using “OMG DISABILITY” as an excuse. The kid had no business on a flight in any class of service. If an adult had been behaving that way, there would’ve been an emergency landing involved.

    2. Raven,
      It is clear to me that you have no understanding about children with autism.  If you had, you might not have made such an insensitive remark.  A child with autism does have some issues. Most commonly these issues are sensory (loud noises can set them off).
      The mother more than likely was doing the best she could with her child.  It is NOT always convenient or feasible to “drive your butt to Disney.”  Some people just do not have the vacation time to do this.  Yes you were inconvenienced, but if this person were mentally retarded or had a physical disability would have been so heartless?  Would you react that way if a person had Tourettes and could not control their outbursts?

      1. You bet I would’ve reacted the same way. I’ve already written to the airline demanding miles for this problem. If you cannot control yourself to the point you are a DANGER AND NUISANCE to everyone around, don’t travel. Had this child been an adult, his antics would’ve caused an emergency landing or worse. It was THAT BAD. 

        The kid should’ve been drugged. Period.

        1. Raven,
          I surely hope you don’t have children.  If you do have children, I can only pray that they are perfect angels 100% of the time and do not have any developmental, or mental health issues.  I seriously doubt that a child with Autism, or an adult with autism would have caused the scenario of it would have caused an emergency landing.  Did you talk to the parents? Did you get an FA involved, asking if they could be moved?  Maybe a little compassion could have been in order.  There may come a time where YOU may be considered the nuissance and need others to be compassionate.  I do however agree with sedating a child on flights because it can help them overcome some fears. 

          1. The kid SCREAMED from the second we started to taxi until we touched down. He also THREW things around the cabin. Mom would put things on his tray table or the FAs would bring food/drinks and he would THROW them. The FAs tried to offer help, but the mother just said, “He’s autistic. I’m doing the best I can.” 

            I don’t care what you “think” someone with autism could or could not do. That’s what the mother said. Maybe she was lying and her brat was just a royal pain. Maybe he really had a problem, but either way, the kid was DANGEROUS and DISRUPTIVE.
            Where were they going to reseat them? On the wing??? I mean, I wouldn’t have minded…but some how I don’t think the FAA would allow that! My need to show compassion disappears when none is shown for me. The instant the kid screamed and refused to quiet, the mother should’ve shoved a sleeping pill down his throat, not let it go on for five hours. Not told us how she was “doing the best she can.”

  34. My wife and I flew with our son and daughter, ages 6 and 5, from Charlotte to Melbourne, Australia in April. I wish we could have afforded business class, but we couldn’t so we were in economy. My kids were great travelers on both legs (Charlotte to LA, LA to Melbourne) and we received a lot of compliments from both the crew and other passengers. For us, it’s just what we expect of them. We’ve raised them to be polite, considerate, and we’re working on patience. Did they ask a few times how much longer it would take to get there? Of course. Did they play in the aisles? Hell no. Did they talk loud or disturb others? Nope because we talked to them about the importance of being respectful of other people. We also brought some games and things to keep them occupied. When I see kids running wild anywhere (restaurant, store, plane, etc.), I have to believe it’s because of the parents’ lack of parenting.

    So my point is this: Why should I and my family be penalized and not allowed to fly to exciting places because some parents don’t teach their kids good manners? It was such a great experience for my kids to visit Australia and they’ll never forget it. Some things are just different when you experience them as a child.

    My kids were better behaved on those flights than some adults. And that gets me to another point. What about the obnoxious guy who hits on my wife on the plane? What about the drunk guy in first class who talks too loud? While everyone likes to complain about kids behaving badly on planes, I’ve seen just as many adults behaving badly (often in first class). Can we ban them too?

    1. Thanks for raising your kids up right. 

      However, there needs to be a way to fine or penalize people who think the flight crew is their personal babysitter and that I like to have my seatback kicked.A kid asking “how long” would not bother me, unless they were doing it at the top of their lungs…

      1. You mean like the old guy who sat behind me on the flight from LAX to Melbourne who pushed and pulled on my seat the entire 16 hours? Can we fine or penalize him? What’s the difference if it’s a kid or an adult behaving badly or not respecting other passengers? I’m all for it if we can apply the same rules to everyone, regardless of age. A screaming baby is really annoying. So is the guy who woke me up half a dozen times by pushing and pulling on my seat every time he got up to take a leak.

        1. I think there’s a difference with someone who has trouble getting up and using the seat in front as leverage and a kid intentionally running up and down the aisles.

        2. Or like the obese gentleman who sat on the aisle seat and refused to move so I could get up and go to the bathroom?  After repeated requests were returned with *obscenities* and “I’m not moving b..ch”, I had to get a FA involved who in turn had him moved to another seat. As I was walking back, I was berated by this man and tripped.  Can we fine people like him too?

          1. I would’ve told the FA to call the cops and have them meet us at the gate because I was filing assault charges. Whether they would’ve stuck…who cares. It would’ve inconveinced the guy for a few hours!

    2. Sounds like you have some great kids Sam.  I have a 12 year old son, who when flying will play quietly with his gameboy or Ipod during the flight. I make sure that I have him stocked up with snacks, because hunger can be a huge factor in if a child starts acting up.  If he sees a kid near us who is being fidgety or bored, he will actually play quietly with them. He does this so other passengers aren’t bothered.  Many a passenger has thanked my son for going out of his way to make the flight pleasant.  He had to fly alone from CA to OH to visit family, and he kept to himself the whole time. 

      Parents who raise their children to be respectful and do things the right way should not be penalized for the actions of other parents who don’t teach their kids proper etiquette on a plane.

  35. Of course ban babies.  But I’d also like to ban talkative, boistrous, unwashed, slovenly, tabacco-smoking, gum=chewing, bad-breathed, passengers…. Oh Wait!… such marvelous flying accommodations already are available.  It’s called “Your own plane.” 

    I once met the pilot of such a private aircraft and asked him what a flight to Miami would cost me.  He explained about “dead-heading charges” and it turned out to be about $3,000. 

    I decided that the $275 American Airlines charged for a round trip was more attractive, even sharing the plane with those people in my first paragraph.

    Life is choices…. right?

  36. We are also “childless by choice.” We do not hate children nor expect them to be kept behind closed doors. We do our best to avoid environments that cater to children. We shop when school is in session, frequent “adults-only” resorts and purchase FC/BC seats when we travel. Our gripe is with “lap children” being allowed to sit on a parents lap in a premium cabin. These infants (under two years old) have no business in Business. There is no way to prepare these youngsters for a flight. In addition, we have been on numerous flights where the “children” (up to age 13) have been permitted to come up from coach and sit on the parents lap for the duration of the flight. Yea, call me disgruntled that we have to pay for two seats when the age-challenged dont have to pay at all. Reverse discrimination anyone?

    1. Lap children need to be banned in all classes of service. The one I saw two weeks ago had to be at least five–was talking about “school”–and was crammed in a row with the parents and me.

      Ugh, horrible flight. 

  37. Simply put, no.  I’ve had far more problems with drunk idiots and entitled jerks than children in First Class. 

    But…and I say this as a parent of two…every child should have his/her own seat.  Riding in a parents lap is unsafe and causes major problems (kids get squirmy, kick other passengers, etc.).  While that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen in coach, how about applying that rule to first class?  If the kid has his/her own seat, that’s fine…but no lap-riding?

  38. You can’t take a child into a bar, because alcohol is served, yet they’re allowed on planes, and allowed to sit next to someone who may have a drink. Why not have child friendly flights which don’t serve alcohol, and adult only ones that do. You can then have the freedom of choice as an adult as to which flight to choose.

    1. Actually, in most US jurisdictions, you CAN take a child into a bar, you just cannot serve them alcohol. Most establishments that promote themselves as 21+ do it for monetary and not statutory reasons…

      1. Actually in Wisconsin, persons under age 21 may be on licensed premises, and can be sold and allowed to drink alcohol beverages, if they are with their parents, guardians, or spouses, as long as those persons are of legal drinking age; but this is at the discretion of the licensee.

  39. Commercial airlines are common carriers that provide public transportation. The duty of a common carrier to offer service to all. If someone does not desire to ride with the rest of the world, then that person ought not use public transportation but instead choose to use private transportation.

    In the United States most people choose to use private transportation by driving their own automobile, rather than to use public transportation by riding a bus. A substantial number of people making that choose do so on the basis that they do not desire to ride either with other people generally, or with specific types of people they perceive using public transportation.

    Commercial aviation is no different than riding a bus. If someone does not want to ride the airplane with other people, be they screaming kids, be they people with germs, or for any other type of people, then they should not ride on a commercial airliner. Instead, they need a private plane, either one they pilot themselves or one that they charter.

    The lower cost that is associated with public transportation comes with a price . . . you have to share the ride with other people you may find to be objectionable. With respect to the duties of a common carrier, there is no difference between Thai Airways and Greyhound Lines.

  40. As someone who is about to have a baby and is fortunate enough to be able to fly several times a year I can see both sides.  I don’t like annoying children, but crying babies don’t really bother me.  It depends on the situation and parenting styles have a lot to do with it.  Is the parent doing what they can to calm and distract the child or are they just the stupid baby makers who think giving the kid a stupid name and yelling at or ignoring them is parenting.  I think if there was to be a ban then it should be for certain flights not the whole class.   Seems more practical to meet the supply and demand of the airline business. I do regularly see children in first class so I know their are people who are willing to pay for it.  I know that when first class is option for me I do and will continue to use it.  I can guarantee some of the people who want to ban babies for whatever reason are some of the same people I want banned for being smelly/loud/morbidly obese/fill in the blank with your own adjective.   We don’t always get to chose the experience but should strive to make the best of it.   Being around an annoying person for 6 hrs is not the end of the world and shouldn’t ruin a day.

    PS I think the flight attendant should be more willing to approach a bad parent and say “it is not acceptable for your child to run up and down the aisles, buckle them into the seat now.”

  41. I just have to ask.  Why is it ok to ban babies and toddlers from first class but still allow them to travel in coach?  why do we (coach travelers) get stuck with no food, no free bags, etc AND the undisciplined children?  I guess having money means you don’t have to deal with those unparented children (honestly, screaming babies are unpleasant but nobody can stop them – I’m talking about the toddlers and preschoolers who are allowed to run amuck.)  Just sayin’

    1. They are gonna be in coach anyways. It provides a way for people to get away from the kids. Allowing them in business class provides no way to get away from the kids…

  42. I suggest that an airline should adopt a policy that children in first class are “innocent until guilty.” In other words, babies and children would be allowed in FC … but if they become noisy or disruptive, they, and their parents, will be re-seated in coach instead. No refund, no discount … if you want to pay for your children to fly first class, you are gambling that they will behave suitably. If your kids are the perfect angels you say they are, fine, enjoy your flight in FC. If you’re wrong about that, you and they will be spending the flight in coach.

    And if an adult passenger becomes drunk and disorderly in FC … same thing. They get re-seated in coach too.

    I admit that I personally have never flown first class in my life, and most of my flights are on Southwest anyway. But if I were paying to fly FC, I would expect a better experience than in coach, and that would include not being seated near noisy or disruptive children.

    1. On a flight two days ago, there was a family of eight. Two in first and the rest in coach. They kept “switching” throughout the flight. I had a problem with this because it wasn’t ONCE, it was like ten times. Every time someone else would come up to first, they’d ask for a meal/drink/whatever….

      The FAs finally told them they had to remain in the seats they boarded in and that brought about a bunch of complaints from the family. Sheesh. Entitled much?

      1. What a great idea – maybe I can try that on my next flight with my family of 12.  Very cost-effective too.  Wonder if there’s any way the first class occupants can check in everyone’s luggage for free, too…

        1. You can if you are elite status/FC and the luggage meets the requirements. When I travel with my GF, I check her bag as mine for no charge.

          1. Whatever. I thought it was a legit question. Can’t understand tone on the internet and all. 😛

      2. I’d expect that the airline would object to the repeatedly switching family, because it would look like they were trying to get the benefit of first-class meals and drinks for eight people while paying for first-class tickets for only two of those people. (In fact, it wouldn’t just look that way, it may well have been that way.)

  43. I’ve flown business class on Malaysian Airlines; they were “Malaysian Airline Systems” at the time.  I was over 18 but under 21, and was flying standby as arranged by a travel agent relative.  We had to ask the gate agent at LAX nicely to get me into business class to Honolulu, although the flight continued to Kuala Lumpur.  On the return trip, the gate agent at HNL claimed that I wasn’t old enough for business class according to their rules.

  44. charles brings up a great point – banning ‘babies’ doesn’t really address the issue – i’ve been on flights with infants who didn’t utter a peep on a 12-hour flight, and also on a similar flight with 2 kids of about 1 and 3 who never shut up – it’s not the person, it’s the behavior – maybe passengers should be given the opportunity to ‘vote off’ anyone who misbehaves, no matter what their age?  (and then what happens to that misbehaving passenger?  force-fed benadryl?)  i’m not trying to make light of the problem – we all deserve peace, no matter what class of service we’re flying in – those in Businesss and First Class simply have higher expectations of getting a good night’s/day’s sleep

  45. I am squarely against banning children in premium classes.  As a frequent flier who flies 6-7 international, transpacific flights a year, most of my flights are in business or first class, and I almost always bring my 9 month old son.  Though he behaves well, there are those who don’t, but discriminating against passengers who have paid just as much or used whatever means they did to upgrade just like everyone else is just plain wrong.  They would have encountered the same in economy class anyhow.  Though I understand others have paid premium prices, they should have no say about whom others choose to bring on board.  I have noticed that those who complain about babies in first class are almost always AMericans or westerners.  Asians rarely complain about this, perhaps because they do not feel as entitled as western folks.  At any rate, I say get over it, if there’s a baby in your premium cabin, that is just the way the cookie crumbles. 

    1. Not to point out the obvious but if “Asians rarely complain about this” then why is Malaysian Airlines (aka Malaysia, aka in Asia) the one that is initiating this move?

      It only take a few bad apples to ruin the whole batch. Just because I had a bad experience with a boorish, obnoxious business traveler doesn’t mean that they are all that way. The truth is, most parents traveling with children are responsible and respectful of their fellow travelers.

      I see a lot of generalizations here. Is it REALLY that bad?

      1. Seriously, Malaysia airlines sucks in so many ways…don’t even get me started.  Frequent delays, lack of partner alliances, etc.  Service is ok though.

    2. Not to be rude, but my position is “no kids in first or business class no matter how well behaved they are- get over it”. People pay a lot for this and there’s no way for the airline to tell in advance if your kid is good or not.

  46. Ok, got a new one for you.
    On my flight yesterday–I was in coach, didn’t score an upgrade–some idiot entitled parent wanted me to get up so she could use my seat to change her baby on it!!!

    EWWW! I told her no, go to the bathroom. She said she couldn’t do it in there because it was too small. Well, she sure as hell wasn’t using my seat! I don’t know what she did, but she did manage to find a way to change the kid on the plane. And give me dirty looks the rest of the flight, as if I was wrong for not wanting her poopy baby and his diaper on my seat!

    Freakin’ entitled people.

    1. I must admit, I have changed babies on seats before, but always my own.  Many airplanes (esp the ones flown by United) still do not have changing tables in the restrooms (even on leisure routes).  I started to change my baby on the floor but the FA told me to do it on the seat bc of “safety” issues.  I was in FC on United from SFO-LIH and return. It was ridiculous, but sometimes there is no choice.  I agree with some of the posts above–the answer may lie in airlines being more accomodating to people flying with children in general, and then they may be more well behaved.

      I’ve got an example.  Flew SFO-ICN-TAS and return many times.  Once was in coach, the others in business.  Asiana airlines offers bulkhead seating with bassinets and food for infants, in all classes.  However, flew SFO-LHR-VIE-CDG-SFO on United.  Three different representatives told me they offered bassinets and infant food before boarding.  On the plane, I was told that there was no bassinet available and no food.  At LHR, was informed they discontinued infant food in 2009.  Thank God I had backup, of course.  Would babies behave better if they had a bassinet and food? I would think so…

  47. It’s amazing how often I see parents with small children take them places (such as on airline flights) where the poor little squirt has to sit in one place, bored to tears, while the parent brought along essentially no comforts or amusements for the child. Plan ahead a little, parents!  Bring along some toys, games, puzzles, snacks, etc., that are totally new to the kid, and dole them out piecemeal as the flight goes on. The kid might even look forward to otherwise boring things like long airline flights.  (And let’s not ban anyone just because of their age, please, annoying as little children can sometimes be!)

  48. I’d be interested to know how many children in First or Business Class are flying on reduced price industry tickets, as airline employees or kindred eligible organizations.

  49. Children have enough challenges in this cruel world without being discriminated against on travel.  As for manners, we could all work on those.  It’s not only children who can be annoying.

  50. It is a simple solution, the same as when my son wanted to accompany me to the tennis courts. I promised that I would leave in a micro second if he made a sound. The owner allowed this and as the years went by, Marc became the best ball-boy, proficient in tennis and loved by all. His siter was a true pain in the ass and was never let back. SO……I pay for 1st class and bother others, it’s back to the last row and the plane for me and the back row just got a free upgrade. Punishment for a monster child, who knew.

  51. Oh please.  I’d much rather have the comforts of first class with a screaming child, than be crammed into economy with a screaming child.  Just to note, I can’t afford the former, and always end up with the latter.  If I had the comforts of first class, it would outweigh the annoying child.  People need to quit whining.  First class doesn’t get you GUARANTEED quiet, it just makes it MORE LIKELY.  Enjoy your free booze and noise-canceling headphones and the kids will fade away.

  52. Flying commercial means you have to share the plane with others wether they are snoring or else. The fact That because one is flying first class should be exempt from this fact is ridiculous and morally questionable. If someone thinks money CAN buy one’s way out, then it is by flying private.

  53. First or business class is sold on the basis of offering a higher standard of service, a better environment, etc. Generally, the airlines charge a hefty premium for first and business class. This should provide a way to fly without babies/kids/etc.

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