Passenger Hurls Profanity At Mother Who Brought Her 2 Year Old In First Class: Should This Be Allowed?

A woman went online for the internet’s judgment on whether she was in the wrong to fly first class over Thanksgiving with her three year old. Another passenger tried to get them kicked out of first class before the flight even began, asked her to go back to coach during the flight, and hurled profanity at her at the end of the flight.

My husband, toddler (almost 3) and I were flying across the country for Thanksgiving. …My toddler has always been a good flyer and has flown a lot throughout her short life. We follow our pediatrician recommendation to give her a dose of baby Tylenol and gripe water 30 minutes before travel and she’s never been disruptive or cried on an airplane, this flight included.

..[W]hen another 1st class passenger saw us he started glaring. Shortly after he sat down a flight attendant came up and asked to see our boarding passes to make sure we were seated correctly. We showed her our boarding passes and she was like “cool, yall are good”. A few minutes later a second flight attendant came up and asked again to see our boarding passes. We showed them and again she was like “cool yall are good”.

…My kid fell asleep in the middle of coloring, husband is snoozing, I’m listening to music when I get a tap on my shoulder. It was the guy that glared at us as he boarded and before I could even get a word out he told me that children weren’t allowed in 1st class and that we needed to move to our “real” seats.

…The flight attendant came and explained to him that we were in the correct seats that we paid for and asked that he sit back down and not bother us again. He did go back to his seat but as we were getting off the plane he whispered to me that I was a [expletive deleted] and that he pays too much money for first class to be surrounded by children.

I’ve been really lucky. My daughter has been an amazing traveler and I’ve never drugged her for a flight like this woman did. Despite the interruption of the pandemic, she’s been to Paris a couple of times, Sydney a couple of times, Bora Bora and more. As a baby she was a great flyer – the plane was a giant white noise machine, she’d sleep, and we’d entertain her when she was awake (which wasn’t much of the flight). More recently she sits and plays games, plays with toys we bring, and watches shows. We’ve only ever had two flights with issues,

  • After a perfect flight from Sydney to Dallas at five months old, where passengers complimented us and a flight attendant described her as the best they’ve ever had, things went south for our short Dallas – Austin connection. I did get a couple of glares in first class. I wished they knew how well she’d done for the 15 hour flight.

  • On the return from her first of two trips to Hawaii, we were just over 20 minutes out from landing back in Austin. She threw a tantrum. Her version of it, though, was to show how made she was by threatening to take off her mask so the police would come get us. I tried so hard not to laugh because she wanted to be taken very seriously!

Several years ago Malaysia Airlines banned babies from first class. They don’t have first class anymore. I’ve found that travel in first class with an infant is great, but with a toddler business class is much better for helping and monitoring (British Airways first class is really business class in this regard).

My first thought hearing this woman’s Thanksgiving story is this was a domestic first class flight, not a private jet or the Etihad Residence. If this man “pays too much money for first class to be surrounded by children” then he’s… paying too much to sit there.

Ultimately children have a right to be on planes. Other passengers have a right to peace and quiet regardless of class of service. Sometimes those rights conflict, and we resolve them the best we can. Parents should come as prepared as possible to meet their child’s needs. When their child has an issue, the parents should address it.

The worst behavior I’ve seen has, more often than not, come about because the parents were acting badly.

  • I’ve seen parents just ‘check out’ on planes
  • And I’ve seen them send their kids running down the aisles.

When a young child threw a loud tantrum on a flight once, their parents argued with each other and ignored the screams and kicks. Another child ran into American Airlines first class on a Los Angeles – Washington Dulles flight and took my wife’s phone from her, wanting to play games on it. Once as I was about to lay down to sleep in Cathay first class on a Hong Kong – New York JFK flight, a young child’s parents sent him running back and forth down the aisle. It turns out his parents were readers of this blog.

It’s hard to travel with children, and that’s ok, traveling with children is an added responsibility for parents who usually rise to the occasion. And it’s when the parents don’t that the biggest issues arise. In contrast, when they’re visibly trying, other passengers will often give them much more patience and kindness.

On the other hand, some people (like the passenger described here) are just jerks.

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