Business Class Toddlers

My experience of foreign travel when I was a kid was pretty limited.  I went on two holidays with my parents and younger brother out of the UK, both to Majorca, and I remember both of them fondly.  It seemed such an extravagance, and was so exciting, to be going on a plane and staying in a hotel and eating out rather than at home.

I have such clear, stand out memories from those holidays including:

– having to stop the taxi on the way to the airport in the early hours as my brother couldn’t remember packing ‘Tough Ted’ and my mum getting out to check the case before we could continue

– watching a Western show in Almeria, where many a spaghetti western was shot

– befriending a boy called Richard from Leeds in the hotel and thinking we would marry one day

– nicknaming a family ‘the Darlings’ as that is how they referred to each other throughout the holiday around the pool and in the buffet.  And my mum thinking they were common, despite them having pretensions otherwise, as they ‘stole’ from the breakfast buffet and ate it around the pool for lunch

– my mum warning us not to stroke any cat that came near us

– my brother innocently putting his toy gun that he had been bought on holiday into my mum’s hand luggage on our way home and her being surrounded by security at the airport as she tried to convince them it was only a toy

– developing a taste for crème caramel which is still my dessert of choice now despite having it every night off the buffet on our foreign holidays

So, with that in mind I always go out of my way to tell Master ATWWAH how lucky he is that his mummy and daddy take him on holidays to places that I’ve never even been to myself and would not have been taken to when I was younger.  This rang even more true on our recent holiday to Dubai as we flew there business class.  I’ve never flown business class in my life but thanks to Mr ATWWAH’s Avios points and a good deal we decided to splurge on the overnight flight.

Like the true northerner that I am I didn’t actually really tell anyone we were going business class as I was too embarrassed, it seemed such an extravagance, even though with the points there wasn’t a huge difference in price.  And the couple of work colleagues that I did tell were outraged and said how they always felt cheated when they were in business class and a child got on as their peace was usually shattered.

We explained to Master ATWWAH before we left that unlike other times he has been on a plane this time his seat would go all the way back so he could have a nice sleep.  He didn’t really seem to believe us though and just the fact he was going on a plane to a place called ‘Doo-bye’ was good enough for him.

So, was it worth it?  We flew with British Airways from Heathrow’s Terminal 5 on a Saturday evening so the perks were:

– an almost empty terminal. I’m pretty sure T5 sees most of its business during the working week.  Travelling business class meant skipping security queues for ‘fast track’ lanes although generally if you have a buggy most UK airports are good at ‘fast tracking’ you through anyway

– a generous luggage allowance, always a good thing with us, and our habit to over-pack

– access to the business class lounge in T5 which also has a large play area for children and we were the only people in it.  You also get complimentary food and drink so you don’t need to buy meals in the airport restaurants/cafes.  There is a good selection and you can easily put together something that children would eat too.

T5 play area lounge

The play area in the T5 business class lounge

– priority boarding, although again you do generally get that with most airlines when you travel with children anyway

– extra space onboard, there is no getting away from it, flying business class means more space for yourself and anything else you have on the flight such as a place to put your book etc.  The chairs do go down into beds which were pretty comfy although I was in an aisle seat so you still had people walking past you while you laid down.  It all felt a bit surreal to be honest.  Master ATWWAH and Mr ATWWAH were together in one of the double pods and they did look pretty cosy together sat watching a film and then snuggled up for a sleep.

Obviously flying business class doesn’t guarantee you a better behaved toddler either.  They are still into everything and wanting to explore.  The good thing with being in the middle pod was that Master ATWWAH couldn’t wander off down the aisle which he enjoys trying to do usually.

– the refreshments come thick and fast.  However, I had a fledgling Baby Bump so couldn’t take advantage of any alcohol which was slightly irritating.  The food was pretty nice but I was a bit miffed that despite us having to pay for Master ATWWAH the air steward said his choice off the menu wasn’t available so would I mind if he just had a chicken sandwich instead rather than one of the menu choices.

– despite being an ‘overnight’ flight it isn’t a particularly long journey and with the time difference although you may be able to grab up to four hours sleep if you go straight to sleep after the food is served you are never going to get a good nights sleep.  I think business class flights would come in very handy for anything over six hours though overnight as you could get a proper nights sleep especially if you are in a middle pod

On the way back we flew premium economy (Mr ATWWAH didn’t have enough Avios points to justify the cost of doing business class both ways) and for me this was actually better than business class.  It’s all you need really if you don’t want to get a good nights sleep.  There is lots of leg room, the food offering is good, you get the same entertainment system as business class so can spend your time watching lots of films or doing as I did and watching recent Parks and Recreation episodes which aren’t out on British TV yet (too many spoilers to mention here) and lets not forget there isn’t that much wrong with economy class, especially out of season when it isn’t as busy.

I’m thinking maybe next time I’m lucky enough to go business class it will be on an adults only trip and I will be back to saying yes to the free alcohol.




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