In our latest chapter of “Parents Can’t Have Anything Nice Ever,” fashion blogger Arielle Noa Charnas recently shared a negative travel experience she had after having the gall to take her baby on a first class flight. Let’s just say, things did not go well.
As most parents (and well, people) tend to know, tiny humans cry. Often. They cry when they’re tired, they cry when they’re hungry, and they cry when they’re angry that they’re on an airplane. Shortly before takeoff, Charnas’ 9-month-old daughter Ruby did just that: She cried. And because her fellow first-class passengers were annoyed, a flight attendant ultimately asked her to move to
steerage the other end of the plane. Because apparently, first class passengers don’t deserve to hear some good ol’ baby shrieking — but that couple back by the bathroom in row 65 sure does.
Charnas, who runs the fashion blog Something Navy, shared the story in an Instagram post earlier this week:
” … it was my first time flying with Ruby. I had a screaming crying sleepy baby who was so overwhelmed that she couldn’t fall asleep. My husband and I paid for first class so that we’d have the extra space and could lay down with her — [but] once we were boarded I was getting tons of eye rolls and head shakes from fellow passengers on @delta because my baby was crying (as if I could just look at Ruby and say okay now it’s time to stop).”
That’s an awkward and tension-filled experience for any new mom. And according to Charnas, she dealt with it the best she could:
“I tried to ignore the people until 10 minutes passed and a flight attendant came over to me and asked me and my baby to move to the back of the plane (as if the people in the back didn’t matter). Give up our seats that we paid for and move. Apparently I was upsetting and getting a lot of complaints from the first class passengers. I started crying because I was so stressed and anxious and instead of the stewardess being helpful and compassionate she instead made the situation worse. I don’t know what’s right and wrong when it comes to flying with a baby but after telling a few people the story they were in shock.”
I realize that I’m looking at this from a mother’s perspective, but when I read this, I was shocked too. My own kids are hanging off of my person 24 hours a day, so I’m admittedly in the “kids go where I go” camp. But I also think the world needs to accept the reality that kids are everywhere. It’s sort of essential to maintain the population. Do people really think babies and kids should stay home (likely with mom) until they are old enough to know how to sit quietly? I sincerely hope not, as that is absurdly unrealistic.
Ultimately, Charnas refused to leave first class. And honestly, I applaud her for that.
“We rocked her and we walked her up and down the aisles,” Charnas told Us Weekly. “Finally during take-off Ruby fell asleep on my shoulder and was a dream the rest of the flight.”
Here’s the reality: kids travel. Their grandparents want to see them, their parents have to fly for work and don’t want to be away from them, or maybe Mom and Dad just want to take a vacation with their family. They are merely trying to get somewhere, just like you, grumpy passenger in seat 1A.
I know you spent a small fortune on your seat. This isn’t what you hoped for. And that sucks. Just like this mom had hoped her baby would immediately lay down and sleep quietly. Also, not getting what she hoped for. Yes, purchasing a first-class ticket entitles you to better service, bigger seats, real pillows, and snacks other than peanuts and pretzels. But it doesn’t entitle you to demand a totally child-free experience.
And believe me, I know how frustrating it is to listen to a screaming child. But I guarantee that her mother was suffering far more than her fellow passengers. I’ve been there myself — desperately trying to shush and calm a screaming baby on a flight. In our case, we were flying with a baby so he could meet his grandfather for the first time. I was exhausted, sweating, and out of options. Turbulence meant I couldn’t walk the aisles, so it was just him and me, crammed into a 16-inch square space, surrounded by
innocent victims other passengers, where anger bellowed from his lungs at ear-splitting decibels until he finally fell asleep.
And it wasn’t a quick ordeal, I’ll tell you that. You can be damn sure I was dreaming of a seat in first class where I could lay him down once he was asleep. Where a kind flight attendant would bring me a very large mimosa and a snack with fancy cheese. And maybe a towel to wipe the sweat off of my face. But I was back with the regular folk, sheepishly apologizing and trying to keep my kid from kicking the guy’s elbow that was .05 cm away.
So while I see both sides to the situation, my compassion ultimately lies with Charnas on this one. Since when does having children make us second-class citizens? If a parent can afford a first-class ticket for herself and her child, she has every right to take it. (Because let’s be honest, that kid is going to destroy everything in her home by the time she turns 3 — I say, let her enjoy a damn first-class flight at the very least.)
According to Us, Delta’s CEO later reached out to Charnas’ husband and personally apologized. He also gave them a full refund, plus $300 for the upset. Still, Charnas likely won’t forget the embarrassment any time soon.
“We appreciated the [gesture],” she told Us. “However, it’s still not enough to make up for the awful experience we had.”