Why I stopped flying business class with my children

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While my husband and I feared that our travels would slow down when our first child was born, they increased due to the maternity and paternity leave travels sparking our interest in family travel. Our family uses Avios and Companion Vouchers to fly business or first class on British Airways long-haul flights whenever possible. As a new mum, I valued the extra space while breastfeeding and as my children grew, we used the fantastic value British Airways child seat available in all classes.

Now that my youngest is over age 2, we have reevaluated our points strategy as a family. Read on for why you’ll soon find our family in the back of the plane. Spoiler: it’s not tut-tutting or our children’s behaviour that changed our minds. We weren’t ever the target market for business class; still, families can occasionally use points to find their way up front.

Read more: How the British Airways child seat saved my family more than £10,000

For the kids, economy is luxury

Our children, ages 4 and 2, are mostly relaxed flyers. We come well-armed with items to keep them entertained on board. We use seat extenders where allowed, headphones with music or stories. We also come armed with more courses of snacks for them than you’d get in first class. Seat selection also plays a crucial role in our comfort.

Read more: 8 things a parent should bring on a plane to keep their children quiet

Great cash economy deals

The top reason that we’ve stopped flying business class with our children is that there are such great cash deals in economy (and sometimes premium economy) on nonstop flights. Due to taxes and fees out of the U.K., even business-class tickets fully covered with Avios or Flying Club miles often cost more cash out of pocket than economy tickets on the same airline.

Saving our points for child-free trips

We now use our miles for last-minute trips on popular routes for one adult. An extreme example is when I attended the TPG Awards. I booked my economy seat just five hours before my flight to New York on Virgin Atlantic for 10,000 Flying Club miles plus £196.

Read more: Premium, upgraded: A review of Virgin Atlantic’s new Premium product on the A350

Virgin Atlantic A330 Premium Economy (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)
Virgin Atlantic A330 Premium Economy (Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

We use our Companion Pass and Avios to take an annual premium cabin long-haul redemption as just adults outside of term time. Another excellent use of Avios for a family of four is a Reward Flight Saver, which often has more availability than long-haul award flights.

Read more: How to plan an enjoyable child-free trip

Keeping the mini AvGeeks happy

When you’re raising tiny AvGeeks, they likely want to sit near the window. When we pre-board, it provides entertainment right up until takeoff for my son to watch the runway. However, the most family-friendly seats in business and first class are usually in the middle of the plane and lack access to a window. As British Airways and Virgin move to a suite-like experience on the A350, it also means that all passengers will have direct aisle access, which isn’t ideal for young children but is a very welcome upgrade to most passengers.

Finally, young children want to be close to their parents and mine will inevitably end up in my business class seat or suite.

Read more: The one group that isn’t excited about the new British Airways Club Suite

Middle seats on an A380 in first
Always stuck in the middle in premium with kids (Photo by Kathleen Porter Kristiansen/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

Every family should travel in a way that makes the most sense for them, and we find that flying in economy is a better option for us. Of course, we’re not going to turn down Qsuite tickets for four anytime soon, but until then, you’ll find this family turning right.

Featured image by Kathleen Porter Kristiansen

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