A survival guide for you and your fellow passengers in business class
I won’t deny it, I’d much rather be sitting up the pointy end of the plane. Every time. Yes, even with the kids!
We are lucky as expatriates (and through the power of being frequent flyers with a lot of loyalty points!) to have experienced the pleasures of flying business class several times on both Etihad and Emirates – two of the world’s leading business class providers.
We have been spoilt, I know (but don’t be mistaken into thinking that’s the way we always travel!!) We have, however, learnt a thing or two about business class travel with kids from newborn infants through to preschoolers.
Aside from our 10 Commandments of Family Flying (PLEASE read this before you attempt to take an infant onto an aircraft!!), there are certain rules for safety and flat out good manners that need to be applied when travelling business.
This post is part of our series Flying with Kids – check out all our handy family flying advice
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Are children allowed in Business Class?
Now after the gasps of fellow business class passengers have died down… is it allowed? Of course.
It is completely acceptable – and understandable – that parents would like to enjoy the extra space and quality of service that is available to stretch out and travel comfortably with their kids, especially when flying long-haul.
Particularly parents travelling solo can benefit a lot from the additional service and attention flying upfront.
As far as I know, there are only 4 airlines though that have declared “zones” where children are not permitted – read who they are here.
But always, always remember its called business class for a reason. I have been there, on the other side of that partition trying to work on a plane while others with their littles are wailing up back. I rolled my eyes. I get it now.
But that didn’t detract from the fact I was regularly needing to fly for work, regularly exhausted so either catching up on work or sleep while flying. I commanded respect from my fellow passengers and expect nothing less now as a parent.
You need to sense your child’s needs, give them the attention they need, walk the plane if necessary are essential to business class survival (see some of our other tips for getting through the flight).
Yes, you paid for or earned the right to that seat too, but show respect for the place you are in. Most of the time, we overthink these things and panic about our children’s behaviour unnecessarily, but I can honestly say out of about a dozen business class flights with kids we have not suffered through a complete meltdown, yet.
In fact, on many occasions, other travellers have complimented the children as we have left the aircraft for their good behaviour. I put this partly down to simply their amount of experience in the air, but also how we have prepared them for flying.
Business class essentials
Know thy aircraft! Not all business class cabins are set out the same. For shorter flights in, say an Airbus A321, business class will consist of only a few rows in a 2 – 2 seat configuration where an adult can be seated next to a child.
More convenient for families, though you are unlikely to experience the luxuries of things like the lie-flat bed and personalised menus that make business class travel so special!!
The stuff dreams are made of can be found onboard the wide-bodied, long-haul aircraft such as B777 and A330’s or upper deck on an A380.
How do you know what you’ll be flying? Simply grab your flight number and pop it into SEAT GURU (our number one flight planning tool!!! After SkyScanner of course!)
Now the problem though with these wide-bodied aircraft, a lot of airlines insist on fancy seat configurations that then mean you have your own booth essentially. Great for business travellers, not so great for families.
Do check these in advance before booking as you can find yourself sitting well beyond arms reach of your children (that does have its pluses too…)
Baby’s and Toddlers in Business Class
Just as you would in economy, you can book for a child under 2 to sit on your lap without their own seat. They are restrained with a lap belt that loops intoyours for takeoff and landing.
Questions about infant seating with more than one child? Here’s our guide to flying with multiple children.
Cost of an infant ticket in business class
Charges for an infant ticket in business vary by airline and this is when it can get tricky! Please read the fine print!!!
So for example, adding an infant ticket might state “10% of the applicable adult fare”. But if you have booked the flight on reward points, what is the standard adult fare?
Some airlines interpret this as the cheapest available adult fare for business class, whereas others will charge based on the full rate of an adult fare.
British Airways is the only one I am aware will allow you to book your infant on points too at 10% of the adult points (how we flew London to Grand Cayman and back with our Miss Z!).
Then there are taxes. Taxes are charged per person and whilst they might be included in your reward booking, they are not for your infant ticket.
The costs of a “free flight” with a lap baby can add up to significantly more than even an adult ticket in economy!
Confused by it all? There’s a good guide by Mommy Points on how to use reward points with infants.
A good website we have discovered for finding discounted business class flights is Skyclub.com.
Where does an infant sit in Business Class?
Most business class cabins do have at least a couple of allocated bulkhead seats that can have a baby bassinet or carrycot attached. These are either hanging off the wall like they do in economy, or placed on a special shelf. On many airlines, the size can be larger than the economy bassinet.
Always check with your airline before booking to make sure a bassinet is actually fitted in your cabin. You may be restricted on which seat they will let you sit in with a lap infant due to cabin configuration.
Pop over to our Ultimate Guide to Baby Bassinets to learn more – we’ve included information (where known) on separate business class rules.
When can you NOT take a baby to Business Class?
As we found out, if you are travelling as a couple with one of you in business and one of you in economy (ok, lets set the record straight, if your husband STEALS your upgrade seat from you and you end up back in the economy seats with three kids while he swaggers up front); you cannot simply swap the baby between you.
This usually comes down to an oxygen mask issue. In many aircraft, the extra oxygen mask is only fitted to the bassinet seat in business, whereas in economy every row is fitted with an extra for infants.
Equally, you may not be able to book a lap infant in business class if they have already met their quota forinfants allowed in the cabin.
If you’re booking gets rejected with an infant, ring the airline to confirm as this could be why. Try booking on a different/day or time if this happens.
And in case you are curious, certainly on airlines offering flat-bed services, IT IS possible for a parent and infant to fit on a seat together lying down.
Do note the safety issue with seating on oxygen masks above. And obviously, as your infant grows this seating arrangement will become less comfortable, especially if they’re a wriggly sleeper.
Children 2-11 years old in Business Class
Once you’re past the infant stage and on to children, I guess the big question isn’t CAN YOU, but SHOULD you bother with business class.
My honest opinion, the experience is pretty much wasted on a 2-3-year-old. Not only will they not appreciate the surroundings and the extra space, in fact, but they will also still be lucky if their legs can dangle over the edge of the chair!
Additionally, due to the seat configuration issue mentioned above, a toddler might not actually be happy to sit in their own chair – a disruption to everyone on board.
Saying that, if someone is offering you the tickets for free…. You will get by but get to the airport early, and preferable ring the airline in advance to discuss seat configuration and ability to sit together.
Are you a car seat flyer? You could be in trouble here as most business class seats are not designed to take these. Check with the airline first before bringing a car seat on board or expect disappointment. You may still be able to bring a child’s flying harnessbut again, check specifications with your airline.
NB. If you are cashing in frequent flyer points for a business class ticket or cabin upgrade, expect to pay the same as in points an adult for a child.
The elusive upgrade. Does it really exist? Find out 3 easy ways to upgrade with Qatar Airways
Aiport Lounges for Business Class Passengers
Another plus of business class flying is the airport lounges. With any business class ticket, the airline will give you access to a lounge, either one they own and operate or a shared lounge with other airlines and membership programs (eg LoungeKey or PriorityPass)
Now is the time to spoil yourself! If you are flyingpre-kids (even better if it’s your first!), cash in whatever points you have now, pay the difference – pay it all!!! Sit back and ENJOY! This might be the last solo flight you ever take!!!
Even when I still had one infant and was pregnant, I used points to upgrade as it allowed me and Miss Z to still stretch out fully flat, and easy access for me to the loo!
Read our Ultimate Guide to Flying Pregnant – includes a guide by airline on how far along you can fly and safety precautions to take
More benefits for travelling business class with kids
If you haven’t convinced yourself of the benefit of flying business class with kids, then consider these additional factors.
Earning frequent flyer miles
Are you kids registered for frequent flyer points? If not, get on to it! Some airlines will only let you register children from age 2, even if you’ve booked an extra seat.
Business and First class tier miles though significantly add up – and an awful lot faster than economy miles. You might find that even in one UK to Australia long-haul, business class points will earn you a short European flight for the family.
Points obviously vary significantly by program,so check details and that you’re properly registered before flying.
Learn more about how families can save on international flying here
We love the Etihad Guest program because of its very flexible in allowing family members to pool – we compare all the different airline miles programs in ourGlobetrotters Guide to International Airlines.
Not offered by many, but of particular note Etihad, Emirates and Qantas operate a chauffeur service on many of their long-haul route to major capital destinations if you’ve flown business. It pays to check their websites if this is a crucial element to your decision making as many restrictions apply. Travelling with children though, this can be an extra stress-relieving step that pays for itself.
Business lounges and kids
Think you need to fly business every time to access the airport lounge? Think again! We travel economy the majority of the time now with three kids – we simply can’t justify the upgrade cost on their little legs, but we still travel in style.
Flying in and out of our closest airport Abu Dhabi we are both Etihad Gold members and two of the three kids have reached Etihad Silver which gives us access to several of the business lounges (though sadly not the one with the kids’ playroom, sigh).
At most other international airports we have travelled through, we have been able to access an airport lounge using Lounge Key – we get this from owning a Citi Premier Miles card (amongst many other awesome benefits – frequent flyers in the UAE this is the one I recommend!).
If you do have a long international flight schedule ahead of you with kids, I strongly recommend joining the likes of Priority Pass for lounge access.
Yes, they cost, but worth their weight in gold and your youngsters get in for free. Not just for businessmen and women (I’m sure, again, much to their disgust), airport lounges have been our saviour, particularly when travelling with a baby.
You can find a quiet, cosy place to feed and the staff will happily wash and fill bottles for you which can take the hassle out of worrying about liquids and security checks. You can safely charge your electric devices and usually, a feed and a drink are included.
Other ways of doing Business Class
Love the idea of business class but feel the benefits are wasted on the kids?
Have you considered sending your children back to economy as unaccompanied minors while you sit up front? Take a moment to contemplate – I’m sure if you’re still at the infant stage your agog at the idea just now, but bear it in mind as a strategy.
I know many parents who have done this and the parents arrived refreshed while the children had an experience of independence. Amongst the expat community who are frequent flyers, this is not as unusual as you might think.
There are some additional costs as the kids will need to be booked on adult tickets in economy, and naturally, age restrictions apply (usually 5 years old+). Check out more on unaccompanied minors here, and don’t forget flying to the US you also need to arrange an ESTA for Children.
Still gotta fly Economy? Not to worry. We have a huge range of travel advice specifically aimed at the average family-flyer based back in coach. Check out our complete guide to flying with kids.
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Over to you? Have you flown business class with your kids? Horror story or a complete delight? No details spared, please!!!!
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How do you fly business class with kids? ›
- Make Sure Your Kids are Emotionally Ready. ...
- Get Them Hyped and Set Expectations. ...
- Book or Link Reservations Together. ...
- Strategically Choose Your Seats. ...
- Visit the Lounge Beforehand. ...
- Bring Entertainment. ...
- Pack Backup Snacks and Meals. ...
- Remind Your Kids That The Flight Is Special.
Kids are usually welcome upfront
With business-class seats, your family is probably going to board very early in the process — and most of the passengers around you will not be traveling with kids.
Baby's and Toddlers in Business Class. Just as you would in economy, you can book for a child under 2 to sit on your lap without their own seat. They are restrained with a lap belt that loops into yours for takeoff and landing.Are children allowed in first class? ›
Since there's no policy prohibiting children and babies from flying in first class, then as long as they are respectful and well behaved, they belong there, she said. Plus, Ms. Whitmore said, many of them are better behaved than some adults.Is it worth it to fly business class with a baby? ›
With a seat that can turn into a lie-flat bed at the push of a button, extra storage compartments for bottles and baby wipes, and a TV that won't hit your baby on the forehead if the person in front of you reclines, just having the extra space may be worth the extra cost.Can you have a lap child in first class American Airlines? ›
On its website, American Airlines states that infants can fly for free in an adult's lap, or they can occupy a safety seat or a separate aircraft seat.Is it OK to take family on business trip? ›
If it's your first time bringing a family member or friend along, the overarching rule is to check with your supervisor first. If it's a trip that you have done many times, and your boss can trust you, then it may be allowed.Can I give my business class seat to my wife? ›
As tempting as it might be to switch seats with a generous friend or family member seated in business or first class, passengers are often technically prohibited from making such a move. Airlines have implemented policies to ensure the safety of all passengers as well as to promote fairness among all passengers.Why can't kids sit still in class? ›
Sometimes it's because they're worried or anxious about something. Other times, they're excited about an event that's coming up soon, like a birthday or a trip to the toy store. They might also be tired or hungry. When kids often have trouble sitting still, hyperactivity is a common cause.Can I add my child to my business? ›
Under federal law, children younger than 16 years of age working in nonagricultural employment in a business solely owned by their parents, may work any time of day and for any number of hours. So, your 14-year old can do data entry in your home-based business.
Can you switch seats with someone in business class? ›
Either arrange this at the gate or mention this to the flight crew before the aircraft door closes, and you should be fine. But don't expect to be able to swap an economy seat for a business class or first class seat mid-flight. While some flight crews have looked the other way, most will not permit this.Can an airline seat a child away from parent? ›
That changed on December 15, 2019, when Phase 2 of the federal government's Air Passenger Protection Regulations came into effect. Under these new rules, airlines have to help seat children under the age of 14 close to their parent, guardian or tutor, at no extra cost and at the earliest opportunity.Is first class trouble OK for kids? ›
Because it is a deduction game like Among Us but also includes proximity/voice chat, it can sometimes be a cesspool for people going on the game simply to annoy or upset others. I do recommend that this game to anybody who is not mentally mature enough to handle toxic gamers - i.e. anybody under the age of 17.Is it rude to fly first class with a baby? ›
It is not rude to fly any class with infants. However, because infants cannot speak a language that anyone will understand, they tend to cry when they are in pain.Which age is best for 1st class? ›
What is the Right Age for Class 1? CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) states that a child should be 6 years old or older to be admitted to class 1.Do business class passengers get their luggage first? ›
Both business- and first-class passengers will receive priority check-in, tagged luggage and boarding.How can I fly business class without paying a lot? ›
- Redeem miles and points for business class travel. ...
- Stalk business class sale fares. ...
- Play the business class upgrade game. ...
- Pick and choose your luxury. ...
- Avoid antiquated business class advice.
The best time to fly with kids
The best times, most agree, are between three and nine months, when kids aren't yet mobile, and any time after age two or three. The idea here is to bypass the toddler phase, and, more importantly, to avoid flying with young infants. The latter is especially risky says Dr.
FAA regulations prohibit children under 15 and passengers caring for small children from sitting in exit row seats.Can my 3 year old sit my lap airplane? ›
However, while children under the age of 2 can sit on your lap — and saving the cost of that extra ticket undoubtedly sounds really good — the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends that parents buy seats for children of all ages.
What to do with car seat base when flying? ›
- You can either stow it on board the plane on an overhead locker.
- Gate check it.
- or check it in with the rest of your luggage.
- Being underprepared. ...
- Booking a poor hotel. ...
- Making a poor first impression. ...
- Getting the meals wrong. ...
- Forgetting about receipts. ...
- Being unproductive. ...
- Staying in a comfort zone. ...
- Family can be distracting. ...
- Conflicts from work can follow you home. ...
- They may break the rules. ...
- They can inspire hard feelings among others. ...
- Inspiration may go wanting. ...
- They lack the skills to meet your needs. ...
- Negative feedback can blow up in your face.
Lack of skills or experience - some family businesses will appoint family members into roles that they do not have the skills or training for. This can have a negative effect on the success of the business and lead to a stressful working environment.Is it illegal to switch seats on a plane? ›
As long as you ask though, you should be okay – there are no rules or laws against swapping seats. The best place to sit is actually the back of the plane, according to one flight attendant.Can husband and wife start business together? ›
Two people can co-exist amiably as a married couple, but they could be totally unsuited as business partners. In fact, small arguments, personal or professional, can escalate to a divorce.Is it good to go into business with your spouse? ›
Enhance your relationship
You'll discover that open communication reduces resentment, either about your partner or the business. Growing a business with your spouse can enhance your relationship. It's a venture which requires open minded thinking, clear communication, passion for the business and love for each other.
This behavior is typical of their sexual development, though it can lead to some awkward or embarrassing moments for parents. Some kids might also touch themselves when they're scared or anxious — this behavior is more about self-soothing.What does it mean when a child sits in W position? ›
In the w-sitting position, a child makes a wide base with their legs and relies on that rather than using their core posture muscles. They may begin to use this base to make up for a lack of core strength. Your child may also sit in the w-position if they have problems with flexibility in their hip muscles.How do people with ADHD sit still in class? ›
Another teacher let students use exercise balls instead of chairs so ADHD students could move around a bit, but still stay seated. —Provide fidget objects. These object can include worry beads, Wikki Stix, and squeeze balls — anything that can be quietly squished or handled.
How much can your business pay your kids? ›
How much can I pay my child to work for my business 2022 IRS? As long as they're doing legitimate work for your business, you can hire your child tax free and pay each of them up to $12,000 per year tax-free. It's true.What is the Augusta rule? ›
Getting its name from the town it was first implemented in, the Augusta Rule is a nifty way to get a tax break for renting out your home. It's as simple as this: if you rent out your house for less than fourteen days per year, you don't have to report the additional income on your taxes.What is the kiddie tax rule? ›
The tax applies to dependent children under the age of 18 at the end of the tax year (or full-time students younger than 24) and works like this: The first $1,150 of unearned income is covered by the kiddie tax's standard deduction, so it isn't taxed. The next $1,150 is taxed at the child's marginal tax rate.How do you ask for a complimentary upgrade to business class? ›
- Get With the Program. If you are a regular traveller and you fly a lot, it's worth sticking to one airline and joining their frequent flyer program. ...
- Get A Branded Credit Card. ...
- Know Your Aircraft. ...
- Arrive Early. ...
- Volunteer To Sit This One Out. ...
- Ask For It. ...
- Fly Midweek or Redeye. ...
- Go Solo.
Follow this equation for a bid price: Calculate the regular cost of a business class seat. Subtract what you paid for the economy fare, and aim for around 20% to 40% of the remaining price. Bid slightly above the minimum to beat the crowd, since most people will choose the minimum.How do business class seats work? ›
For starters, your seat will typically be extremely comfortable and spacious. Your seat will likely fully recline into a bed or it may even have its own enclosed pod around it for added privacy. This can make for a very comfortable place to sleep if you have a long flight planned.How should a family of 4 sit on a plane? ›
2 x 4 x 2 configuration...which seats to choose? When travelling as a family of 4 I choose two rows of 2, opposed to the middle aisle of 4 seats. Having a window is so handy to rest up against and also means no sibling fighting! If the configuration is 3 x 3 I will put 2 of us 2 rows (one aisle and one window)...How do I make sure I sit together on a plane? ›
You can call the airlines' reservation line and let them know you're all part of one family group—most of the time the agent can link the reservations or make a note that will identify you as a family within the seating system. Arriving at the airport early can help ensure families sit together.Do airlines legally have to sit you with your child? ›
There is no such rule. Most airlines will try to seat a small child with 1 parent,but there are no guarantees.What age child is most difficult? ›
In fact, age 8 is so tough that the majority of the 2,000 parents who responded to the 2020 survey agreed that it was the hardest year, while age 6 was better than expected and age 7 produced the most intense tantrums.
Can a 6 year old fly first class? ›
Yet the fact remains that children are welcome in first class (on nearly every airline) and it is always up to parents to ensure that their children are well behaved, no matter where they are.Can you sit in first class with a baby? ›
The proper way to view a sad baby on an airplane is not to be annoyed at them, but to be sympathetic to their misery and compassionate to their parent. Right now, all the major airlines allow infants in first class.Is there a dress code for business class? ›
3. What to wear in Business Class. The general rule of thumb when it comes to the business class dress code for most is smart casual, so you can still get away with your comfy flying pants however thongs (flip-flops), beachwear or clothing with offensive images or slogans are not permitted.Is it better to be oldest or youngest in class? ›
A study finds that being the youngest student in class can lead to educational and emotional problems for children. Experts note that young students can also suffer socially. Examining many factors can help parents determine if a child is truly ready to begin formal instruction.What class is a 7 year old in? ›
Primary Class (5-7 Year Olds)Why is first class so popular? ›
Benefits of flying first class
First-class seats are always more comfortable than lower classes, will have extra legroom, and will typically recline all the way back for you to lie down during your flight.
"Many airlines have a policy of not letting their employees bring their children on board in business or first class until age six.Can you book business class with an infant? ›
I have been asked a few times whether you can fly business class with your baby and the simple answer is, hell yes! Whilst there are some mistakes you can make when travelling with kids, flying business class is not one of them.Do you pay for infants on business class? ›
While lap infants (younger than 24 months) generally fly free on domestic U.S. flights, with international trips you can expect to be charged 10% of the adult fare for the child you're flying with (for the same cabin — so 10% of the economy fare if you're flying economy, or 10% of the business class fare if you're ...Is it OK to fly first class with a baby? ›
Right now, all the major airlines allow infants in first class. People like Dr. Miller think that babies should be banned from first class. But reading this enraging article makes me think that the proper solution is in fact the opposite: Every airline must seat all infants in first class.
Can kids fly first class Delta? ›
Yes, your kids are allowed to fly in Delta Business class aka first class. I have even seen people flying with babies up here. My kids love being first class passengers!Are business class seats worth it? ›
On long-haul international flights, business class is almost always worth it. You'll get a lie flat seat with a decent amount of privacy. You'll also be fed one or two meals depending on the length of the flight. These meals will be far better than what you would receive in economy class.Are children allowed in business class Emirates? ›
Let kids be kids at the airport
While you relax in our First and Business Class lounges at Dubai International, the kids can let loose in our play area.
First class provides exclusive access in the airport.
First-class passengers also have special access to first-class airport lounges before and after flights, where they can grab a drink pre-flight or take a shower upon arrival. Some lounges even offer free mani-pedis.
Here is the procedure: The IRS allows any sole proprietorship or partnership (LLC) that is wholly owned by a child's parents to pay wages to children under age 18 without having to withhold the payroll taxes and list it as “outside labor” as another expense. NOT Payroll. You do not have to issue a W-2.Do you have to pay for food in business class? ›
All types of first and business class flights offer free light snack options. There are some air carriers that offer excellent quality food options even on short flights.Is everything free in business class? ›
Bottom line. It certainly varies by lounge, though in general you should expect everything to be free, unless there's a menu with a price. All the best first class lounges in the world offer as much food and as many premium drinks as you'd like at no cost. So you can eat and drink to your heart's content.Is it rude to fly first class with a toddler? ›
Yet the fact remains that children are welcome in first class (on nearly every airline) and it is always up to parents to ensure that their children are well behaved, no matter where they are.