I have recently completed an 8 hour flight, during which two children (under 2) sat two rows behind me in Business Class screamed or cried loudly for 7 hours of it. This is no exaggeration for the sake of effect, (or a good headline), but represents an accurate report of the experience. Ear plugs and Bose headsets had no impact to the screaming. The parents seemed unable or perhaps incapable of stopping them. No amount of ‘shushing’ had an effect in reducing the volume nor frequency of the noise.
Looking at the cabin, of about 40 seats, 15 were occupied by children of various ages. The rear cabin was overtaken as a sort of children’s party from what I could see when I ventured to the loo.
So when I chatted to one of the flight attendants, she asked the question ‘ Should we be limiting children in premium cabins to those 14 years or older?’
At the time it seemed a possible solution to the latest wailing episode from the kids in Row 5, but in all honesty is that possible?
After all, the other side of the story is that the parents money is as good as mine. As it was a holiday flight and fares were cheap, why should the parents not be able to take their kids in to Business Class? Well, of course, there is no reason. American, of course, doesn’t see any difference between dollars. Updates were copious and if parents want to use their certificates or miles for upgrades, why not?
I wrote to American to express my concern, and whilst I got a reply pretty fast, it failed to understand the points I was making in the email as seems common with their Customer Service since the merger. Their reply contained the paragraph below:
Because children are children and we recognize that occasionally youngsters might become restless during a long airplane ride and may inconvenience other customers, we make every effort to reserve an adjacent seat for those customers traveling with infants or small children. However, when flights become full, we can’t guarantee that the seat next to a child will remain empty. While most parents are able to maintain control over their children, clearly this was not the case on your flight, and I am very sorry that the enjoyment of your trip was diminished as a result.
What do you think? Should there an age limit for kids to sit in premium cabins on long flights?