Richard Quest: We pay business premiums to get a good night's sleep

Babies in business class

It may start off as a gurgle. It may begin with a full-throttle wail. It is often a plaintive cry for food or attention. It doesn't matter how it began, the ending is always the same – an entire business class cabin awoken because a baby is on board that part of the plane.

Allowing babies and young children to travel in business class has always struck me as an odd policy. The airline sells you a very expensive seat that turns into a bed; it promises you a delightful ride across oceans and continents, and then promptly sells an adjacent seat to someone who more than likely will keep everyone awake.

Of course, the baby can't help it. But the question for airlines is whether they should allow young children to travel in business class in the first place. Just because parents can afford to put the child there, does it mean they should be allowed to?

I have no problem with children in first class – that is just a product of money and if you are rich and daft enough to pay for little Johnny or Esmerelda to have a first-class bed you have more money than sense, so go ahead. Other rich people won't thank you, but you can fight it out among yourselves.

Business class, on the other hand, is a product created, designed and executed for the business traveller. BA describes Club World as creating an environment that enables you to "arrive refreshed and ready for the day ahead". It says nothing about being woken at 3am by screaming because they sold a seat behind you to a toddler.

Earlier this month, Malaysia Airlines announced a new policy to create children-free zones upstairs (even in economy) on their A380s. Children will be seated upstairs only when the lower deck is full. Not surprisingly, the policy has courted controversy, but many frequent flyers have applauded it.

I know some adults can be even more objectionable than tots. I have sat next to people who are noisy, smelly, vulgar, snoring – the lot. But they are the exception, whereas a baby in business class is invariably going to wail at some point. They always do. I realise children may keep economy passengers awake too, and that that is unfortunate, but the premium paid by business-class passengers is for the right to a good night's sleep.

Perhaps the most interesting voice in the debate is that of parents. It is infuriating how many parents will recoil at children in business class when they are travelling for work, then happily fill up the seats with their offspring using frequent-flyer points on holiday. However, when put to the test, a straw poll in the CNN bureau revealed that rather than being forced to endure the frosty glances and tut-tuts of fellow passengers in business class, most would rather lump it in economy. After all, they're not going to get any sleep wherever they sit.

In a world full of terrible things, I can, of course, keep this in perspective. It's just that travel is such a part of my working life, and I spend so many hours in aluminium tubes, paying through the nose for a seat that turns into a bed that, frankly, I want what I paid for. And that is a good night's sleep. No babies in business class may be just the ticket.

 

Richard Quest is CNN's international business correspondent and presents Quest Means Business. Follow him on Twitter @richardquest

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Restaurant Manager / Sommelier

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Receptionists - Seasonal Placement

    £12500 - £13520 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced Hotel Receptionists...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Receptionists - Poole

    £12500 - £13520 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Recruitment Genius: Lifeguards / Leisure Club Attendants - Seasonal Placement

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn