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Flying business class with a baby: Why you should feel no shame

Have travel points to use or considering an upgrade? Follow these tips for a guilt-free first-class flight.

By Vanessa Grant
Flying business class with a baby: Why you should feel no shame

Babies on planes is always a hot topic. Do you offer goodies to the adults sitting around you? Should you give your kids Gravol so they'll sleep? But flying business class with a baby is a whole other level of drama. From The New York Times story where a first-class traveler became an unwilling—and angry—babysitter to the Redditor who posted, “Are you insinuating that plebes in economy should have to deal with your kids if they misbehave, but people in first class deserve better? That's not how humanity works, friend,” opinions are plentiful.

Ashley Bleau, a Toronto mom, has been flying business class since her daughter was a newborn. In fact, Bleau and her partner have only ever flown business class with their now 7-year-old.

“The staff have always been amazing,” she says. “We've never had any comments or looks from fellow business class travelers. It's worth every cent for the extra room and large seats for my daughter to move around.”

Ready to risk side-eye from passengers hoping to write a report on their red-eye? Katrina Cameron-Epp, a mom of two, pilot and former flight attendant, shares five reasons why parents should take advantage of first-class flights.

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Parents—and babies—are as worthy of business class as those without kids

“Look for the baby section of the airplane,” says Cameron-Epp. “Can't find it? That's because it doesn't exist. The entire plane is the baby section.” And really, who needs the extra room of business class seats more than a family flying together? Plus, she says, “you won't get stuck in the middle seat with a squirmy baby because there are no middle seats in first class.”

The VIP (very important parent) treatment

Flying business class with a baby: Why you should feel no shame

Who deserves a little pampering more than a tired parent? While priority boarding may seem silly—who wants to spend extra time on the plane with kids?—checking your bags early is a blessing when you’ve got a stroller and small people to wrangle. Also, business class travelers often get access to lines that allow them to get through security faster, which is great for toddlers with zero patience. In the air, “the flight attendants will be even more attentive to you and your baby because they have fewer passengers to take care of,” says Cameron-Epp.

Everyone is more likely to sleep in first class

“Business cabins tend to be less hectic than economy cabins where there are a lot more passengers moving around,” says Cameron-Epp. She adds that the food and beverage carts have a shorter distance to travel in first class, which means less disruption—and hopefully no passengers to bump your elbow while trying to squeeze past the cart on their way to the bathroom.

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And don't feel guilty if your little one cries. “A lot of passengers in business class travel with noise-canceling headphones, so they won't even hear your baby.”

Snacks and meals are so much easier 

First-class flights allow access to the frequent flyer lounge, which means free or discounted food and drinks. And there’s a wider variety of meals available on the flight, says Cameron-Epp, so you don't have to overload your carry-on with crackers and granola bars for the toddlers.

Fly without shame—you earned it

Still hesitant? Don't be. As Cameron-Epp says, “you’ve used those coveted points or paid full price to be there, just like everyone else.”

A few bonus pointers for flying first class from Pilot Mom Kristen Cameron-Epp:

  • While business class will usually have its own dedicated lavatory, it likely won't have a changing table.
  • Child-restraint systems and car seats are not typically permitted in the business class cabin as the seats are larger and they don't fit properly.
  • Concerned about your child being too loud? Plan in advance. Travel days are often filled with the word “no” for kids and that can be frustrating. Give your child a feeling of control by having them pack their own bag and then sneak in a few little surprises, like new books, crayons or small toys, that will keep them occupied on the flight.
This article was originally published on Mar 05, 2023

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