This came up as a very contentious question when I asked my followers on Instagram. Many were adamantly against First Class with a baby. Some even said that several airlines don’t allow babies in First Class. Others said they 100% would if they could, or have and loved it.
Now, after having used an upgrade for a first class ticket cross country (from Boston to LAX), I feel like I can weigh in properly with my opinion.
Priority Boarding & Lounge Access
- No waiting in lines
- You are able to board last if you want to maximize freedom off the plane (I always do)
- Some first/business class tickets include lounge access which is nice for food, changing areas and play areas for baby pre-flight
- Easier to entertain your baby
- More comfortable to hold her, share the seat or in our case,
- Or… give the baby the whole seat and you & partner share the other seat, which we did…
More attention by flight attendants
- They are there to help you with tissues, ice, plastic cups (Rory loves chewing on them) or WINE FOR YOU (which I recommend on these long hauls).
- You can breastfeed easier. This is huge!
- You can sing, play games and pass the baby without disturbing others.
- I am not sure if this is true, but it seems to be a bit cleaner than economy seats.
- Given that a fraction of the amount of people use the first class bathrooms compared to the economy bathrooms, this is definitely true. Also, flight attendants clean it more often.
- Annoying other people that paid up for a better experience.
- It is expensive!
If you are able to afford it (or have an upgrade like I did), I DO think it is worth it on longer haul flights. Anything that can make it a little more comfortable for your little one will make it easier on you as a parent.
I do not think that you should worry about bothering others on the flight. Everyone has headphones and in the higher classes, you are further away from others than normal.
I personally think a sick, coughing person is way more offensive than anyone with a baby!
And I have to be honest, the actual first class on our particular United flight was in no way comparable to other first class/business class experiences I’ve had, particularly on international flights. We flew from Boston to LAX during the first week of January and it wasn’t super clean, few extra luxuries, food was not great and staff were just okay. BUT sure did beat the other options!
Other Good Options that I recommend (in order of preference):
- Extra space to move around
- Bassinet access for babies under 25 lbs
- Occasionally only 2 seats so no extra person if you are traveling with a partner
- Easy access to bathrooms & flight attendants
- *** If you are going to request a bassinet, you have to CALL. Do not expect them to give you one even if you have a ticket with a lap infant. You have to call ahead as they don’t always have them.
- Any bit of more space is key, especially for active, larger or older babies. Mine has always been active and larger for her age and not interested in napping in bright or loud places.
- Priority boarding helps!
- Better access to overhead space
Economy: 3 Seats Together
- If you can buy an extra seat and have 3 seats together, that might be comparable to first class in my opinion!
- I wouldn’t rely on getting an extra third seat for free as planes, especially high traffic routes between hubs, are often overbooked. Even if it says that the seat is open at check-in, standby passengers often fill it.
And at the end of the day, flying middle seat economy is HARD but doable and always totally worth it (especially when you land!).
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree? Tell me below!