Frankly, I don’t hate kids

by James Wysong on March 14, 2004

I’m not a child-hater.

I’m not a first-class snob, either. And despite last week’s column on flying babies in the front of the cabin, I do believe there are many more important issues facing the airline industry today.

But here’s the long and the short of it: Airlines desperately need higher-revenue customers. When passengers pay $12,000 for a first class ticket and have a crying infant next to them the whole time, they’re likely to book their future passage on a foreign airline keeps the little ones out of the forward cabin.

It’s true that most passengers in first class are either upgrades or employees. But the ability to upgrade is one of the perks that separate the majors from the low-cost carriers. Did you know that on international flights, one-third of first class passengers on foreign airlines are full paying passengers, compared to a mere 17 percent on the US airlines?

I appreciate your comments (and certainly didn’t mean to offend anyone with them). But I remain on this side of the first-class curtain all the same.

“Obviously you’re not a parent,” was one popular remark.

True. But I hope to become one someday soon. Maybe I’ll change my mind when I am in that situation.

Many readers confused my use of the word “infant” with “child,” but I ask you, how many times have you seen little children at a fine-dining establishment wishing they were at home or a Chuck E. Cheese?

Do children always need to go where the adults go? Do they always appreciate it? Do people without kids need to lighten up on those with offspring?

Good questions, all of them. Your opinions are wonderful to hear, and I’m grateful for every one of your notes – good and bad – except maybe for the woman who wished me a lifetime of sterility.

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