No Tranquility for Traveler in First Class

October 3, 2012

in Baby & Kid Stories

This past weekend I decided to fly across the United States. Wanting peace and quiet, I opted to pay full fare for first class. Unfortunately I didn’t get what I paid for. 

Who is crazy enough to bring their infant into first class? Apparently the fools behind me. At least my headphones kept the regular screeches reduced, but not the sounds of the child. These headphones usually eliminate all aircraft sounds; they’re designed for recording studios. This means the wretched child was louder than a jet engine!

Worse was the constant kicking – for six hours.

Mitt Romney was right — aircrafts need windows so passengers like those parents can be tossed out in midair.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

clare October 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm

So, you just sat there the entire flight without saying anything to the flight attendant or the child's parents about the kicking, but decided to whinge about it here instead?

Oh, and just how big was this infant that it was able to reach the back of your seat with its feet?


James October 5, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Looking at seatguru, standard pitch in first class for United/USAir is 38-inches, American 39. This is as opposed to 31/32 inches in coach. With a bit more recline, I could easily see a lap-child reaching the seat in front.

Now, if it were an international first class, you'd be looking at 54-inches or more.

We don't know if the OP spoke to the flight attendants, or not, but usually first class is full (usually with upgrades.) So, there isn't another seat, unless you're saying the original poster should have agreed to be downgraded to coach?


Hackz October 4, 2012 at 2:11 pm

He never said the infant was kicking the seat.


xxrjxx October 17, 2012 at 10:17 am

He referred to the constant kicking for six hours. Which I highly doubt, unless he's suggeting the parent was doing the kicking?


Hack October 17, 2012 at 4:15 pm

It’s called reading comprehension, Hackz.
You’d love it.


Hackz October 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Hack: You are totally right. Infant means a baby who is unable to walk/talk. Once a child begins to walk they are considered toddlers (generally 12-36 months). So you are right, an infant "constantly" kicked the seat for 6 hour . It couldn't possibly have been the adults. I stand corrected.


Josh December 20, 2012 at 10:33 am

I don't see why being in first class makes this story any different. You were no more harmed by a screaming child in first class than a person in coach would have been. Furthermore, there really is no way to isolate yourself completely from one another. The child may have been screaming, but you could have had strong cologne on, or maybe you farted and stunk up the plane. Perhaps you were watching a violent movie on your screen which someone else's kid could see.

Sometimes parents can't control that, especially on a plane. Pressure changes may have made the baby's ears hurt. He/she may have had a stomach ache, or been tired and the engines were too loud.

The bottom line is that we all have to deal with each other on a plane. Being in first class doesn't change that. Babies cry.


Kate October 4, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I agree with Clare. Yes, I'm sure it was annoying to pay full fare and be disturbed, but by sitting there and stewing instead of politely trying to resolve the issue does no good. Parents with young kid can become sort of 'desensitized' to how loud/disruptive their kids can be, because they experience it all the time. They may not have realized how disruptive it was, and assuming that they should just be able to magically recognize this is pretty passive aggressive. Next time, speak up (politely), and if nothing changes then you have a right to be upset.


Mindy October 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Sorry Kate, the onus is on the parents. They're the ones who created the problem. You can try to couch it with psycho babble, but instead of being "desensitized" they were just plain rude.


Kate October 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm

"Psycho babble"? Seriously? I find that to be rude. Pretty sure mine was a legitimate comment. Especially as others have mentioned that the parents may not have known how their young child would react to being on the plane with all the pressure issues and the pain that can come with it. Ignorant, maybe, but not rude. They weren't intentionally trying to make other's lives miserable. Though after re-reading I do concede that bringing a child into first class probably isn't the best idea.

I still say they original poster could have at least said something. It's really not fair to complain about something if you haven't even tried to resolve the situation directly.


paul October 4, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Didn't know "Aeroflot" flew domestic across USA!
Seems to me with the extra leg room you get up front would havre eliminated that kind of problem.
Bottom line you shoud have told the F/A.
What were the other pax saying?..


Hack October 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm



chode October 6, 2012 at 12:52 am

The people with the infant paid just as much as you did for the same ticket in 1st class. So with everyone paying equal how does this qualify for a flight from hell? Next time you should take your self absorbed self to a high point and jump, take the belt from the first class seat and choke yourself you will be doing all of the free world a favor by ridding one leach of society from the nipple of entitlement.


Rachel October 6, 2012 at 10:22 am

The people with the infant chose to bring a disruptive, noisy being into first class, and did nothing to quiet it. They therefore chose to make the entire first class's flights miserable. By your logic, because he paid the same ticket price as those parents, the OP would have been well within his rights to get drunk and spend the whole flight belting out showtunes.


James October 7, 2012 at 2:16 pm

In thinking about it, the poster did more than what is reasonable to avoid problems. We hear the suggestion "bring headphones" if you don't like screaming infants. He did. We hear intolerant parents say "Pay for first class if you don't like my precious baby." He did that. Should peaceful flights be reserved for that 0.1% who can afford private jets? Or should parents take better responsibility for children, and not fly with them?


Kate October 15, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Yes, he did do many of the reasonable things by paying for first class and buying headphones. But he probably could have at least tried mentioning the issue to the parents as well, instead of just stewing about it in silence. Truth is, many people nowadays are too wrapped up in their own world to realize that their actions might be affecting others around them. Is it right? No, but it's the truth of the matter and the OP could have at least politely mentioned it to see if anything could be done.


chode October 8, 2012 at 2:28 am

guess what everyone paid for the ticket so they all deserve the seat that was paid for. some one pays they get a seat it's simple now if a screaming child is in 1st class, yes I would be somewhat dissatisfied but there is no reason to say "oh what a flight from hell because other people with kids can afford to fly 1st class". If I was on the flight with you I'd be sure to hold an air horn to your ear for the entire flight until it ran out of fuel just to piss you off..harlot.


Rachel October 8, 2012 at 12:02 pm

….harlot? Seriously? Did you seriously just call me HARLOT? Sweet Jesus, that's hilarious. And whether you're in first class or coach, no matter how much you paid for your ticket, you do not have the right to disrupt the other passengers' lives. Therefore, when you bring something potentially disruptive, i.e. a baby, onto a plane, you have a responsibility to make sure it disturbs the other passengers as little as possible. This is particularly true when flying first class, when the other passengers have paid a great deal of money specifically to avoid being disturbed and to enjoy some extra comforts. So, yes, if someone brings a screaming child into first class and does nothing to quiet it, the other passengers are completely within their rights to be pissed off.

Oh, and if you ever are on a flight with me, please do try that trick with the air horn. It would be hilarious to watch you being arrested once the plane lands.


guest October 10, 2012 at 10:47 am

The poor child probably suffered ear issues after take off……something the parents were probably unaware could happen and were unprepared for. It is recommended that infants be sucking on a bottle to prevent ear problems on take off and landing just like it's recommended we chew gum or suck on a hard candy. Plugged ears are more painful for babies than for us and their only form of communication when in pain is to scream.


runi October 9, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Surely full fare was not paid for the child's seat; either the child flew free as a "lap baby" or at a child's fare.


relaxedflyer October 8, 2012 at 5:55 pm

WWAAAaaaaahhhhhhh!!! YOu poor baby!!!! you sound like the kind of guy who cried and kicked seats when he was an infant!!!


robert valderaz October 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm

If the child was a infant as you say, babies ears can not adjust to pressure changes as well as a toddler or adult an can be painful. In addition how can a infant have the strength to kick your seat with the extra leg room. I suggest you take the bus on your next trip. I agree some kids are brats and should be dealt with acorddingly by the parents. But an infant is a little different. By your comment I take it you have no kids, so therefore you have no idea what is going on. So next time you get on a flight get on board, sit down shutup and worry about yourself and have compassion for others!


John October 13, 2012 at 2:19 am

I've got to go with Chode here. An airline provides transportation to the public: if you don't like public transportation, then hire a private plane. The parents of the screaming infant paid for their seats the same as you did and had the same right to be on the plane as you did. They and their infant weren't doing anything illegal or anything that threatened the safety of the plane. If you didn't like their infant's behaviour, you could complain, although I think that everyone realizes that there are times when there's very little a parent (or anyone else) can do to stop an infant crying, and complaining isn't going to achieve anything, no matter how sincere the parents might be in their efforts to calm the child.


The Alchemist December 3, 2012 at 2:24 pm

The kid should have been in their own seat, in a child seat. I know it's legal to carry a child in your lap, but anyone who actually does is being irresponsible. It isn't safe.


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