It’s not very often that I’ll write about controversial subjects, but I’m feeling extra saucy today. Let’s talk about babies in business class. More specifically, is it wrong to be upset by it?
- On one hand, nothing ticks me off more than parents who book business class knowing full well that their baby is going to scream bloody murder for the entire flight. It’s the complete lack of consideration for all the other passengers who paid a lot of money (or points) for a quiet experience that irks me.
- On the other hand, I can’t imagine how hellish it would be to fly with lap baby in economy class on a long haul international flight. I totally understand and appreciate how a larger business class seat would make things a lot more comfortable for both the parents and the baby.
Does it really make you a bad person if you’re annoyed by screaming babies in long-haul business or first class?
Table of Contents
All the reasons why it’s OK to be upset about crying babies in business class
Sometimes, as much as I try to be compassionate for the parents and the babies, I just can’t help but feel negative things towards them. However, I always end up feeling terrible about it later (once some time has passed and I realize that it was just a temporary inconvenience).
Without trying to sound overly insensitive, I still believe it’s OK – and perfectly natural – to be upset sometimes. Especially because:
- Most of the time, what makes business class worth it is the promise of quiet solitude on a long flight. Babies (and sometimes the parents) don’t give a s*** about your quiet solitude.
- Business class is expensive, and it can sometimes feel like you’ve wasted your money if there’s a crying baby in the cabin.
- Sometimes my sole reason for choosing business class is because I know that I’ll need to catch up on sleep (since I won’t be able to do it once I reach my destination). If there’s a crying baby near me, there is zero chance of me getting any quality sleep. I’m basically going to be a complete wreck the next day.
- Parents of crying babies who have absolutely zero consideration for everyone else in business class tick me right the heck off. For example, on my Thai Airways business class flight from Sydney to Bangkok a few years ago, there were parents of a crying baby who did nothing but walk up and down the aisle for the entire flight with it. There was no way for anyone to avoid the noise.
- Babies will poop anytime, anywhere (I can’t say that I’m not jealous). My Aeromexico 737-9 MAX business class experience was made all the more memorable by a baby in the row directly behind me that blew out a diaper just before takeoff. Ugh.
All the reasons why a crying baby in business class should not upset you
I can imagine there are quite a lot of you reading this who think of SANspotter as a horrible human being right about now. But before you get too annoyed with me, know that I actually feel a lot of sympathy for parents who travel with very young children. I’ve never done it, but I appreciate how stressful it must be.
Here is why I feel guilty sometimes about being upset by a baby in business class who refuses to stay silent:
- Can you imagine how difficult it would be to care for a lap child on a long haul international flight an economy class? I can barely survive with just my carry on bag, so I totally get why a larger business class seat would make things easier.
- Most of the time, I get the sense that the parents of the crying baby are feeling just as annoyed as I am. I think there are very few people in this world who would gleefully volunteer to hold a crying baby for 13 hours.
- Chances are the baby is crying because it’s scared or uncomfortable (or both). Have some sympathy!
- Feeling upset by a crying baby ruining your business class experience is about as extreme as first world problems get. Seriously, in the grand scheme of things, there are far more important things to be upset about.
Tips for dealing with crying babies in business class (as an annoyed passenger)
If you fly business class often enough, a crying baby annoying you all the way to your destination is inevitable. It’s just part of the travel experience, and short of airlines banning babies in business class completely, there’s no way of stopping it. Here are some ways I’ve found to help minimize the frustration:
- Always bring a good pair of noise canceling headphones with you! Although it won’t block 100% of the crying and screaming, a good pair of headphones (and some ambient background music) will drown out 90% of it. AirPods Pro work great on an airplane by the way. I never travel without mine.
- Avoid sitting near the front or the rear of the business class cabin. The bulkhead row is often reserved for parents who need a bassinet. The rear of the business class cabin isn’t good either, since you’ll be very close to the bulkhead row in economy class (which, again, is reserved for parents who need a bassinet for their baby).
- Flying mid-week is usually better, since it’ll be mostly business travelers in the premium cabins.
- Being a good samaritan and offering to help the parents of the crying baby won’t reduce the noise, but it will make you feel good about being a decent human being.
How I really feel about it
Being stuck in a business class seat near a crying baby used to annoy me a lot more than it does now. As I’ve grown older, I’ve learned what real pain and suffering is, and ultimately, listening to a crying baby for a few hours is pretty far down on that list.
Yes, I may feel a little annoyed at times. However, with noise cancelling headphone technology as good as it is (and it keeps getting better), it’s become far less of a problem.
Not only that, I realize that I was an annoying little baby at one point in time as well. Come to think of it, I still might be. Anyway, the bottom line is that it would be hypocritical of me to be mad about something that I not only used to do myself, but is completely natural and impossible to prevent.