Babies on a plane: the great debate

Business class, baby!

Recently, I wrote a column on Gadling about babies and first class on airplanes. This is a perennially hot topic in travel, one that everyone seems to feel vehemently about one way or the other. The post made the AOL home screen, generating hundreds of comments ranging from supportive to hostile, and hundreds more on the HuffPo Facebook page. I didn’t get upset about the comments (this time), as few were directed at me, and few commenters had even read the article before commenting. Most travelers won’t be dissuaded from their opinion about “screaming brats” or be convinced that not all parents on planes are ignorant assholes. In all of our plane travel so far, Vera has barely made a peep, and I maintain total vigilance on each flight.

While Vera may be the poster child for babies on planes, I honestly have no interest in becoming the advocate for all children. V happens to be an exceptionally good flyer and we’ve been very lucky to fly business on a few of our trips. I don’t think every child should fly up front, or even at all. Every parent should make a decision about whether their baby can handle air travel and how they will look after their child during the flight (and I hope this site helps to make it pleasant for all). I’ve never looked at parenthood as accepting that I will make sacrifices, but rather that I will take on responsibilities. This is especially true for flying, whatever section of the plane you sit in.

Finally, I’ll post my comment to the readers of the Gadling story:

“Thanks to each and every one of you for your comments, particularly those of you who have taken the time to read and respond thoughtfully. My sympathies are with any of you who’ve sat next to a crying baby, though I can assure you, it wasn’t mine. There are many ways to calm a baby, and feeding with a bottle or breast alleviates ear pressure.

We all have reasons to fly and it’s a privilege for all of us, no matter what class. The fact is that airplanes are another form of public transportation and we can’t always choose who we sit next to, but we can all stand to learn common sense, consideration for others, and tolerance.”

Now, let us move on to the HOW to travel with a baby…