I Don’t Care What You Think: I Took My Toddler On a LONG Overnight Flight in Business Class and Loved It!

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I Don’t Care What You Think:  I Took My Toddler On a LONG Overnight Flight in Business Class and Loved It!

MeghanI Don’t Care What You Think:  I Took My Toddler On a LONG Overnight Flight in Business Class and Loved It!Million Mile Secrets Team

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I’ve always found the no-kids-in-Business-or-First-Class argument fascinating.  And honestly, I understand where each of the camps are coming from.

I get it, you’ve spent a lot to have a peaceful and relaxing flight, and some kid comes in a ruins your plans.  That’s frustrating.  There are even people out there that say kids don’t belong on planes, and entire articles and discussion threads devoted to the topic.

But I was determined to test the waters with my own 2-year-old on a recent trip to Portugal, for the transatlantic flight from Salt Lake City to London.  We had enough miles to make it happen, and I figured, why not?  My daughter loves planes and has been on dozens of flights.

My Daughter Pretending to Count Like the Pilot During Takeoff

I wanted to decide for myself whether flying in Business Class with a toddler was worth it.  Because not only is it expensive (whether you’re paying cash or miles & points), it’s nerve-wracking!

Traveling with young children is like playing a game of Russian roulette.  Things can go VERY wrong, VERY fast.  And I must admit, I was nervous to try it out with my own 2-year-old.

What would people think?  Would I get funny looks and end up being “that person” who brings a rambunctious toddler on an overnight flight?  What kind of mood would my daughter be in?  Turns out, I DO care what other people think.

A Toddler Can Go From Sweet and Innocent to a Roaring Tiger In a Matter of Seconds!

This wasn’t her first ~ 10-hour flight, so I felt I had a good understanding of what I could do to keep her comfortable, relaxed, and occupied.

So How’d It Go?

It ended up being a fantastic flight, and almost everyone commented on what a great flyer she was.

I brought a tablet with episodes of her favorite (and only) show on it.  I rarely let her use electronics at home, so the tablet is that much more intriguing to her, and a great tool on a long flight!  Plus, she’s at that age where it will actually keep her attention for a period of time.

I also made sure to have plenty of her favorite snacks.  And brought along lightweight and packable “toys” like pipe cleaners and stickers.

After a number of trips, I’ve learned that a little goes a long way!  And you can make a game out of almost anything (think packing and unpacking the amenity kits 😉 ).

See Y’all, Not Every Kid Is a Complete Terror! 😉

I LOVED the extra space in the lie-flat Business Class seat.  My daughter is looooooooong, and even when she was just a year old I was wishing she had her own seat.

I tried to see if she’d go to sleep in her own seat on this particular flight, but realized quickly that just wasn’t going to happen.  Luckily, the Delta One seats offered just enough room for both of us to snuggle comfortably.  She ended up sleeping for almost 7 hours!  I’d call that a win.

Would I Always Recommend Toddlers Fly in Business or First Class?

To be fair, every child is different, and what works for one family might not work at all for another.  So it’s up to you to decide whether you’re willing to take the risk of having to deal with an outburst or the potential grumpy passenger.

Plus, you’ll have to manage any anxiety you might have about the situation!  For me, overcoming the worries about the “what ifs” was the biggest battle.  But now that I’ve done it once I’m sure I’ll feel more confident the next go round.

How do you feel about kids (and babies and toddlers in particular) flying in Business and First Class?  Have you ever done it with your own family?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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People who bring screaming and crying babies on transcontinental flights suck. You just suck. I’ve endured many a painful flights because, what? the grandparents need to see their grandchildren? And a hundred people need to suffer for it? Use Skype.

And by the way, the population is growing exponentially. That’s not going to be good for this planet.

We took our almost 5 year old on Cathay Pacific business class from Chicago to Hong Kong. She sat and watched movies or slept the whole time. Only time we had to get up for her was to cut up her meal. Three years later and she still talks about “that China airplane “ with the great seats!

In my opinion, you and the other responders below are missing the real reason it is rude to put kids in premium seats: You are taking those seats away from people who actually need them!

Kids don’t need the extra legroom. Some adults do. I was on a 6 hour flight recently where there was just one row of extra-legroom seats, and I tried desperately to book them but even many months out they were booked. Guess who was in it … a bunch of little kids. Really rude of the parents.

They don’t need the legroom! Save it for people who actually need it!

I agree with Derek. Parents who “need” extra legroom, but have young children can’t put their children in coach…they “need” to be with their parents. My husband is 6’4″ and has a blood clotting disorder that requires him to have extra legroom for circulation. Should he book himself a business class ticket and then leave our 2 year old in coach? People who make comments suggesting this might be appropriate need step out of their self-centered world.

Derek (DebrianTravels.com)

Hold on a minute. Now I have my concerns about children that don’t behave and disrupt others who paid extra to be able to relax/rest/etc. in a premium cabin, but…

There is now a size requirement for a business class seat? That cabin’s only benefit is legroom? Sorry, but to be blunt, that is nonsense. My wife is 5’2″ and petite whereas I am 6’2″ and large. Space is one the biggest benefits of business class to me, but to her, it’s kind of like “it’s ok, but I can get comfortable in economy.” Should I have left her and my stepson in coach this summer when we went to Europe because neither is very tall? Or were the other amenities possibly value enough to justify the points I paid for our tickets? Frankly, your comment sounds very entitled, and I too need more space, but I don’t think I have a greater claim to Comfort+ or Delta One than any other paying customer.

EntitledPplSuck

Flights open for booking the same time it does for parents as it does for you. They beat you to it. They’re not rude or inconsiderate, just more determined and willing to pay the extra dime regardless of their reasoning. Next time why don’t you book first class if you need the space so badly?

Author

Hi A, That’s a fair point, but what if the parent needs the extra room? I can’t just leave my 2-year-old back in coach while I stretch out in Business. 😉 And just because kids wind up in those seats doesn’t mean the parents put them there. It could just be a matter of the airline agent trying to seat families together. I don’t think it’s fair to automatically brand the parent as rude.

My kids now 9 and 5 almost are always in first or business class. I’m not going to not be with them when we fly as a family. Most of the time it’s in AA “first class” and we put them on the bulk head and my wife and I sit behind them, they can’t kick anything with their short legs and can recline at will. But last Christmas coming back from DR our plane was a legacy US Airways with with real business class seat. We ended up with three single window seats and one in the middle. I was given eyes when we boarded to the left but by the end of the flight people were committing on what a fine gentelman my 4 year old was, I guess more was expected from an 8 year old young lady no complaints and no comments. The manners that we instilled in them such as saying yes mam and no mam, please and thank you were not unnoticed. It’s not where they fly on the plane but the way they are raised. Your daughter is younger than my children but as a responsible parent you have given your daughter the ability to sit anywhere on the plane. I found it interesting that you to limit “screen time” so it’s a privilege rather than a baby sitter, as we do the same. An even younger flier could have problems with cabin pressure and that is something out side of a parents control, but they can react differently based on the parents response.

Author

Thanks for sharing, George! I’m glad you’ve had good experiences in the past. And I totally agree regarding the idea that it’s all about the manners the kids have learned from their parents. I always try to be a good example of a respectful human! 🙂

My son is almost 3 and we’ve taken him to him to Europe 4 times now and 3 out of the 4 were in business class. He always did amazing! I’ve learned to book flights that leave at night (around bedtime) so he sleeps most of the flight! I too always have something to keep him entertained- I will usually buy a new coloring book or small toy and it’s a “special surprise” that I will give him in case he does start acting like a toddler- this usually helps and will keep him distracted for a while. I would definitely keep flying like that!

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