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Traveling with Kids: Should Families Fly First Class?

By February 4, 2015October 5th, 20176 Comments

Traveling first class

One of our favorite airlines, JetBlue, has an option called JetBlue Mint, a new first-class service. Available on round-trip flights from New York to L.A., passengers can indulge in lie-flat seats, a swanky NYC small plate menu, bottle service and high-quality beauty products from BirchBox. All of this does sound fantastic—however, JetBlue has notably been a top family-friendly airline catering to the everyday traveler. Will a luxe perk like this alienate families traveling with kids? Or, will it allow for a new demographic of higher class parents and kids who pamper themselves in-flight?

Kids fly Jetblue

If parents pay…

Do children automatically have the right to be kids, even in first class? Some parents feel it’s worth the additional cost to avoid potential meltdowns and cramped quarters. These tickets also grant access to airport lounges and offer other perks that can make traveling with children a lot breezier. This does come with a high price, but some families swear it can make long haul flights, and even domestic ones, bearable.

The adult-only club

Images of first and business class often conjure ideas of smart suits, rockstars and airborne road warriors. Rarely are children seen in this environment, especially young ones and babies. But parents who can afford a first-class flight should not have to forgo the option just because they have a family, right? When some airlines are banning children on certain flights or contemplating kid-only sections, it seems the idea of kids in a high-quality environment—like first-class—would not be tolerated. Is this section of the plane like others, or should it be treated like a high-end, exclusive restaurant or resort—no little ones allowed?

Kids fly Jetblue

What to do with first-class kids

If parents do decide to splurge on a more comfortable and spread out first-class option, they will need to prepare themselves and other passengers. Perhaps your little ones are well behaved and do not need to be monitored, which can be especially true for older kids and teens. Do not be offended if a fellow flyer gives you or your kids the stink eye—they paid a lot for peace on their flight too.

Talk with kids beforehand, explaining you will be in a special, extra quiet section of the plane where they can wear their headphones and hang out, but respect other people’s space. Ask an attendant if you can sit closest to them, or if there’s two children, if they can be together. You have every right to be there as the other passengers do, but a mindful and flexible family in first class is much more welcome than one that’s irritated or loud!

What do you think? Should kids be banned from pricey first-class plane sections? Should babies? What do you think about JetBlue Mint? Would you and your family pay extra for first-class?

Eileen Cotter Wright

Author Eileen Cotter Wright

Eileen Cotter is a freelance travel journalist and owner of Pure Wander. She's our resident expat extraordinaire and falls down a lot in yoga class. Follow her on Instagram @Pure_Wander.

More posts by Eileen Cotter Wright

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Becca says:

    I would NOT appreciate dealing with a noisy child if I were to splurge on first-class tickets. I feel I’m not only paying for more room, but also a better experience. I do wish first or business class would be an adults-only area, especially because it’s not always the child’s fault (cabin air pressure & popping ears = no fun for kids). But if it isn’t adults only, I would want the family to be asked to move if the children weren’t able to control their behavior. Or else I would expect a serious refund from the airline.

  • Christian says:

    It may actually be better to have the kids in first class than in the economy cabin. If they have more room to sleep, then they’ll be quieter.

  • My friend was traveling on an international flight “solo” with her two little ones. There was another woman in her row traveling solo with two kids, too. It turns out it was the nanny/maid! The parents were flying first class and would occasionally come back to economy to check on their kids.

  • Bryan says:

    Parents should be respectful to others and control rowdy children, but other passengers should no have expectations of a perfectly private and quiet flight. If that’s what they want then they should be flying private.

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