Whose Business is Business?

It’s been all over the news: the top of the passenger food chain (corporate folk who routinely spend exorbitant sums of their firms’ money to fly business class) have declared that their number one source of discontent on airplanes is children in premium cabins!

Well, excuse me!

It’s true that many of us parents struggle with economy tickets ever since they did away with discounts for toddlers. But for the fortunate few that have enough moolah or airplane clout to provide leg room and a decent meal for their kids on a flight, is some self-righteous suit going to tell them they can’t?! I don’t think so.

I love the quote in this article:”I’m always amused to see children in business class on flights. What sort of business can these children be travelling on?”

I have friends who brought their adopted daughter home for the first time first class, because they wanted it to be special. Who is the Seating God that is going to tell them their business isn’t good enough?

And where does it end? Will we be stopping obese people from flying up front? What about badly dressed ones, or those that are just plain ugly? I personally put in a vote for amorous couples who get hopped up on champagne, partake in the mile high club and then barf all over each other during a turbulent landing. (I’ve seen it – I swear). Business class has long ceased to be only for business people – it is for anyone who wants a better experience and is willing to pay (an obscene price) for it.

As a recent parent who can remember the ease of pre-baby travel, I was never thrilled at being seated next to the hyper toddler or the screechy twins. On my post-baby voyages, I still have no desire to be neighbors with someone else’s kids, because you guessed it, I have my own to deal with! So the notion of “child-only” sections is not only insulting, it is logistically impossible. Can you imagine the resourcing tap dance airlines will have to do? Extra help, food, toys for the back of the bus please, and you can’t ignore us this time because you put us all here, and together, we’re a force! Sure miss those days when it was a few isolated brats in every cabin that you could just pretend didn’t exist, huh? Yes, I can see airlines just psyched to hire more staff to man those areas. And the rest of the cabin whining because all the service is being directed elsewhere….Talk about unfriendly skies!

And what happens when the FAA mandates seats for all children? I am sure parents who have just been forced to cough up a full fare for an infant will be very inclined to be accommodating and gracious on a flight. NOT. I will demand full service and that means my child being treated as a human being and not an unwanted inconvenience. Just like you people up in business class, she is after all, a full paying customer.

So here’s my solution: you want exclusivity? Let airlines give them their “18-above” sections, at an even higher fare (keeping some regular premium seats for those who are or don’t mind traveling with children) . Surely the peace and quiet is worth a couple of g’s more? Maybe for the extra money the airlines can throw in some earplugs, a tranquilizer and a small dose of tolerance. And then, unleash me on the next disgruntled passenger in economy who tells me to “get the kid to keep it down”. Hell hath no fury like a traveling mother scorned. If there are no kids in business, there should be no jerks in economy either.