The Great Debate: Children Flying Business Class

Practical or indulgent? Two mothers give us their reasons.

 

MADHURI MAHTANI socialite GAYATRI RANGACHARI SHAH  journalist

 “I fly my children Business Class because we normally fly to New York on a direct long-haul flight lasting 16 hours. It is more comfortable for them to fly Business Class. The seats allow them to sleep relatively well. If they cannot get to sleep, at least the entertainment is better than in Economy, and they can keep themselves occupied during the flight. The food served offers more options, and when you have to eat two meals on a flight, choices are a good thing to have, whether you’re an adult or a child. As far as the price goes, it’s expensive, yes, but sometimes you can get a good deal. And even if you can’t, I feel that the many advantages are worth the expense. The other plus is that the luggage comes out together, as Business Class is unloaded first. It would be quite an ordeal to be forced to wait for the Economy luggage after such a long journey.

"Flying my children Business Class with me also makes perfect sense because, this way, I can keep an eye on them."

It is much less stressful than continuously walking up and down the aircraft to keep checking on them. Children may feel air sick or scared if there is turbulence and require a parent to be with them. They would always feel more secure with their parents within easy reach. To force a child to sit in a cramped Economy seat on a long-haul flight, with little room and beside strangers who may or may not be child-friendly seems a little heartless to me. I fly my children Business Class purely for practical reasons and I see nothing wrong with it. Aren’t children people, too?”

“Children should not fly Business Class because they do not need to. Their bodies are small. They can sleep sitting up. They are happy enough watching an unlimited number of movies and TV shows while airborne. Do they really need a flat bed and an unlimited booze service as well? As parents, we are the ones who impart life lessons. And value for money is one of those lessons. If children are handed the finer things of life on a platter, the chances are they won’t understand how hard it is to earn those things. I indulge my kids aplenty, especially on holiday—from nice, fancy meals to whatever else they may desire. But I draw the line at them travelling in Business Class. When I was a new mother, my son went everywhere with us in the front of the bus, so to speak. But as he grew up, and after I had my second child, we put them in Coach without us. Typically, there was a nanny travelling with them but, on our most recent trip to the US, it was just us. During take-off and landing, one of us sat with each child. But for the remainder of the flight, they sat in the back.

"Of course, my son was upset when he learned that there were no beds in Economy. But, that is the point—teaching them that there is a distinction between being an adult and being a child." 

I want them to learn values such as economy, thrift and appreciation for the finer things and not take them for granted. By putting my kids in Coach, not only do I hope to impart to them valuable lessons (while helping my budget), I also hope to let my fellow upper-class passengers, most of whom travel for business, breathe a sigh of relief.”

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