*In recent days, Kirstie Allsopp, a British TV presenter has been ridiculed in the press for a revelation that her children fly economy, while she flies business. Similar comments have been made by Gordon Ramsay, and to criticize either seems ludicrous.*
Give it a rest, just not in business class…
Kirstie Allsopp, Gordon Ramsay and anyone else who chooses to have their self sufficient, of age children fly in economy are not in the wrong at all. Period. Full stop. End of discussion. As a full time travel blogger, I spend more time in business and first class in a month than most people do in their lifetimes, but it wasn’t always that way – and I’m damn glad it wasn’t. I’ve got absolutely nothing against parents choosing to have their kids fly business class too, and at some ages it would actually be awful not to – but you can’t lambast people for instilling hard work or being smart with their money.
Since money talks, lets start with that. Most international business class tickets run $3000. For two people, that’s an extortionate amount of money, but for four, it’s just crazy. This is especially true when you consider that with the rise of budget airlines and rabid competition, an economy ticket would allow you to drop a zero. Yep, on the same flight Gordon or Kirstie may be paying $3,000 for themselves, $300 could take care of one of their children. It’s not hard to figure how that $2,700 in savings could positively impact their trip, or their lives. And let’s be real – unless their kids are the next Dirk Nowitzki or Kerri Jennings, space isn’t a big issue at 13 years old.
I’ll cut through the red tape. I grew up in a middle/upper class family. I never flew business class as a kid, nor did I get a flashy car at 16 – and yes I have a chip on my shoulder, because many of my friends did. I got a bike and encouragement for a summer job, and that was no surprise at all. The success of my parents was never portrayed as my success, or something that would enable me – and for me personally, and not necessarily anyone else – it’s the reason I work hard to this day. I work seven days a week, 360 days a year. I’d like to think that had I been given those things I would be as hard working as I am today, but I can’t guarantee that, nor could anyone else, so I see nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution.
Walking through the business and first cabins, and even past premium economy gave me a desire to work harder, develop skills and find a way to one day reach these cabins. That increased when I met my wife, and had a deeper desire to provide for someone other than myself. Had these cabins been handed to me as a child, I can’t say I would’ve learned the ins and outs of loyalty programs, studied airlines or honed my skills to run a large travel site. But that’s all crap. Any kid can study. Not many who are handed the silver spoon choose to work three jobs, seven days a week to give the dream career a chance. I did, and it paid off – and yeah, I am proud of myself. Who wouldn’t be?
Go Your Own Way
Now lets be clear – I’m not at all against parents flying their kids in business class if they can. At some ages, it would be borderline cruel or completely against the rules to separate a young child from parents. A cabin crew member certainly isn’t going to change diapers. And ultimately, the character of a child should not boil down to a few hours a year in the air. It’s the day in day out morals, ethics and work drive instilled by the parents. I know people who fly first class, not even business class with their kids and the children are exemplary citizens with admirable drive. I just personally think Kirstie Allsopp and Gordon Ramsay have the right idea and think criticizing them for being practical, while possibly instilling a desire for hard work is true madness. Just because Mommy or Daddy worked their tail off and get to enjoy a level of comfort certainly doesn’t mean you should. After all – if you’re on a plane, you’re going somewhere and that’s a gift in itself. Many kids never get to travel, let alone experience air travel.
What’s your take?
Featured image courtesy of Air New Zealand.