Toddler Gets a Taste of First Class

 In Airlines

Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy! That is all I could think when I checked us into our return flight the night before we were headed back to Seattle. I had a horrible cold, my head was congested and I was not looking forward to getting on a plane. We had a short flight to Chicago and then a longer flight to Seattle. And the flight to Seattle just got upgraded. Wahoo! If I had to be congested on a plane at least I could do it in a little luxury.

I’ve only flown first class twice before. Both were flukes due to a seating shortage. This time our airline loyalty had finally paid off. With so many flights to China in the past year, we were now Premier members and eligible for complimentary upgrades on domestic flights. We had been on the waitlist plenty of times, but our flights had always been full. I guess when you fly on December 30th everyone is already where they want to be for the new year.

Dek slept the whole flight from Philadelphia to Chicago, but he wide awake when we boarded our next flight. We headed to our seats and started to settle in. I don’t think Dek knew what to do with himself. There was so much room! I was certainly excited about the extra leg and hip room as I plopped my pregnant self into my own cushy aisle seat.

A little sleepy but still taking advantage of all First class has to offer

The only tricky part was getting Dek to keep his seatbelt on. This was only his second trip that he had a seat to himself. Before he was 2 years old he always sat on my lap. He wasn’t a big fan of being strapped in and of course figured out how to unbuckle himself within 5 minutes of his first solo seat flight. I wanted an intelligent and curious child didn’t I? Hmmm…maybe I should rethink that.

In economy this usually wasn’t an issue. We could put the armrest up and squeeze him next to Mike or me and hold him still long enough to get in the air or land. In First class there is a big armrest and tray table in the way. My solution to this dilemma was to grab a folded up blanket and put it in Dek’s lap and then strapped the seatbelt around him. Then I draped another blanket over his lap so he couldn’t see it. I handed him his trusty toy plane we always fly with and we were ready to go.

Getting comfy in the lap of luxury. Don't get used to this kid!

Once in the air, Dek and I really began to get comfy (Mike was just across the aisle from us in case you were wondering.) I threw my neck pillow around Dek’s head, got his blankets readjusted, popped open a carton of milk and started his movie on my laptop. This kid was in heaven. He had his feet propped up on his tray table in no time. I didn’t have to fuss about that cause the table wasn’t connected to the seat in front of us. There was no one for him to kick. Dek zoned out to his movie while I enjoyed the warm almonds that had just shown up. I got out my Kindle Fire started reading the first 5 chapters of the soon to be released book Cinder.

Our flight attendants (yup, we had two of them) kept our glasses filled with our beverage of choice (red wine for Mike, a little OJ for me) and even set a lovely tray of food down on my table. My horrible cold prevented me from actually tasting the pasta, but Mike said it was pretty good. The salad was fresh and crisp with my favorite pear tomatoes on top. As for the dessert, yes, the warm chocolate chip cookies are just as good as everyone tells you they will be.

Plane food that isn't horrible and comes on real plates? Where am I?

Towards the end of the trip one flight attendant stopped by to check on Dek and I. She was amazed that he didn’t need anything and hadn’t made a peep the whole flight. The only time she saw Dek was when we made a potty run (Note: there was no changing table in first class. Double check your plane. You may have to head back to Economy.)

Our only hiccup was at the end of the flight. We were 3 hours past bedtime and Dek could not deal with having a seatbelt on. No distractions I brought out would sooth him. Finally Mike and I ended up switching seats as I braced myself for some serious ear popping (again, my retched cold not letting me fully enjoy the luxury I had been gifted with.)

Overall Dek did amazingly well. We didn’t get any glares from other passengers and we were the model flying family. How that happened, I’ll never know. Maybe the first class gods were smiling down on us that night. My favorite part of this whole experience is that while half of first class actually paid for their seats, the rest of us only paid economy. In our case that was only $250 roundtrip for each ticket. Thank goodness for summer fare sales. I don’t see myself ever paying full price to sit in First Class, but I sure won’t say no if someone wants to stick me up there again. I’m more worried about Dek not wanting to go back to regular old Economy now that he has had his first glimpse of what travel could be like. Let’s hope he forgets and soon.

How about you? Would you say no to a free upgrade? What about if your whole family didn’t make the list? Mike’s seatmate for most of the trip was a 12-year-old boy whose mom and sister were in economy. Part way through she swapped with him so she could enjoy a glass of wine and some legroom. She sure proved herself a better mom than me. I’m not sure I could give up my first class seat for my 12 year old. I’d check on them, but it would be nice to leave the kids behind for a bit while I soak in a little luxury.

Image Note: All images were taken on my iPhone and altered with the Camera+ app. Check it out. It’s a lot of fun. Cheap too. And no, they didn’t pay me to say that. 

Keryn Means
Keryn is the founder and editor-in-chief of Walking on Travels, an award-winning site that gives hope to today’s active parents who don’t want to stop their lives; they simply bring their kids along for the ride. Keryn utilizes her project management background, along with a masters degree in journalism and an undergrad degree in photography to the team to create dynamic content and a vision that keeps up with the latest technology and trends. You can find Keryn dragging her 2 boys around the DC area most days and across the globe several times a year. Follow along on their adventures on Instagram and Pinterest.
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Showing 4 comments
  • cravesadventure
    Reply

    The kid’s living it large in 1st Class – sweeettt!

  • More Kids Than Suitcases
    Reply

    That is such a great bonus for a long flight home. I’m really scared for you guys the next time you get on a plane though. I can’t see Dek wanting to sit back in economy again.
    With a family of five we don’t often all get upgrades, so we always end up splitting cabins. My wife and however many kids managed to get upgraded go sit up front while I man the back cabin with whoever’s left. We’ve turned down upgrades before when traveling with friends. I’ve even had to downgrade myself after the airline automatically upgraded me and not my wife on one flight. Although I did think about it for a bit.

  • The World of Deej
    Reply

    Some would say that you’re doomed because now Dek will never wanna fly coach again, but I say teach them the good stuff early…they’ll thank you later;)

  • Lisa
    Reply

    I’m envious – I haven’t been in first class since we had kids! We used to use frequent flyer points to fly in first but once we had kids and there were four people traveling it just seemed smarter to use the points to travel more often instead. If I was offered an upgrade then I’d be waving see ya later to the rest of them though! 🙂

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