The internet is outraged over a man that left his wife and son in economy class while he flew business class. I’m not quite so outraged. Let me explain why.
Wife Upset That She Is Stuck In Economy Class With Toddler While Husband Flies Business Class
A woman shared a story about traveling with her husband that was deleted once it went viral. But here’s the gist of the story:
- Husband was going on a business trip (paid for by his company)
- He offered to take his wife and two-year-old son along
- Wife agreed – as long as she could fly in premium economy (husband said yes)
- “My husband’s going for a week’s work and wanted me and my son (2) to go and tag on a holiday. I only agreed to go if my son and I flew premium economy as it’s a long way. I’ll be on my own with a toddler whilst my husband is in business class (work paid for his ticket).”
- Husband booked them in regular economy instead
- “My husband said fine no problem, had lots of points to use. Booked the flights. Told me had booked premium. Six weeks later I discover he’d lied and basically booked the cheapest economy tickets available (no seat reservation option/upgrade option).”
- Wife then “went nuts” on husband and called him a “selfish prick.”
- “I’ve gone nuts at my husband because I think he’s a selfish prickk that was too tight to book a seat reservation when making the booking. Meanwhile, he laps it up in business class. I’ve rung the airline but they said the seats can’t be changed.”
“Am I being unreasonable to be annoyed with my husband? Am I being unreasonable to drag him out of business class so he can do his share of parenting? I doubt we can swap halfway through but did wonder if he could take son to sleep with him as he will be able to lie down.”
Here’s my answer. She is not unreasonable in being annoyed if her husband promised her premium economy and did not deliver. Shame on him, for not keeping his word and apparently lying. Lying is toxic and threatens the very core of the marriage: it’s a huge red flag. Often when there is deception in one area, there is deception in other areas.
But is she reasonable in wanting to drag him out of business class? My answer is no. Work paid for his ticket, presumably because he has to hit the ground running when he lands in Asia or South America or wherever the 14-hour flight from London took him. He did not have to take her at all and she should not reasonably expect him to give up her seat.
The push for “equality” is a funny thing. Some want to be treated as functional equivalents but still want chivalry at the same time. Now I’m all about chivalry in my relationship with my wife and have given up my upgraded seat to my her on many occasions when her upgrade did not come through. But if I am flying to a destination and have to go to work when I arrive, sorry…that business class seat is mine and I’d be cheating my employer if I gave it away and arrived to work exhausted after 14 hours in economy class.
Ultimately, I see this as an issue of expectations. The wife rightly excepted premium economy class because she was promised it. Again, shame on the husband for lying to her and not delivering. On the other hand, my sympathy is based only upon that key distinction. Had he simply asked her along and not promised her an upgrade, I think she would be wholly unreasonable to want to split time or even have him take the toddler for part of the flight if this was a work trip. She should be thankful she got to go on a holiday and not pay for the hotel.
What are your thoughts about this case?
(H/T: View From The Wing)
bro, this is not post worthy.
I think it’s an interesting distinction – work trips versus leisure, chivalry versus equality
I’m trying to understand how you landed on the debate of “equality vs. chivalry”? What aspect of the original post stated or implied that the mother wanted equality and/or chivalry?
Re: The general question about this.
I think there is too little info to accurately comment on it. We only have her point of view. We don’t know what their agreements were about parenting duties, regardless of economy or premium economy.
I am of the opinion that as parents we try our best to all parent and share in that responsibility. And in this scenario as an example, we both must communicate these things prior to a trip. Personally, I would not go on a trip if I were not supported in parenting for a 14 hour trip. Conversely, I would not ask my family to come on a business trip (and flight) with me and not expect to share in the parenting. But again in this scenario we don’t know what they agreed to or not. Though sounds like they didn’t have that convo?
Flying together is the least of their problems.
His blog..his choice?
Yeah, what we needed instead was another article on the best travel credit cards..
The wife is also bad. Her calling her husband a “selfish prick” is not in the spirit of cooperation and a good marriage. She is evil, too. The husband is like Putin and the wife is like Xi. Neither is Kim Jong Un.
If this is the situation, the husband should have been prepared to pony up when he invited his wife and child along. Or the agreement should have been struck when this was agreed on. “I need to go straight to meeting so let me get my sleep first and maybe we switch seats, etc, etc.” I think communication and consideration could have resolved this matter.
I book business for the whole family or we all fly economy. If I get upgraded (domestically), I’ll usually give it to my wife. In addition to chivalry, a pissed off wife is in no one’s interest.
Completely agree. Perhaps it’s a cultural distinction, but I can’t imagine one spouse seated in one class and the other in another. If unavoidable, then I’m all for preventing pissed off wife being paramount :).
Everyone in J class is grateful the husband kept the baby, and mom, in back. Nobody spending thousands of $ wants to be woken up by a screaming baby mid flight.
They don’t seem very happily married. Or at least she seems like she may have some dissatisfaction with her spouse beyond just a PE seat, and who knows, maybe he wanted to buy her PE, but the particular aircraft they’re on didn’t have it. He can have all the Avios in the world, but that’s not useful if he’s flying Royal Brunei.
I used to work for a Big 4 audit firm that permitted business class on long-haul travel, but the policy specifically stated that it was not permissible to book an economy ticket for yourself and a partner even if it was cheaper than the business class seat because the intention of the premium seat was for you to arrive at your destination rested.
She has/had a right to be upset – her husband lied to her.
Husband stinks big time. I don’t want to hear he has to arrive fresh as a daisy and hit the ground running. Her description of him absolutely fits. She has to hit the ground with an even bigger responsibility. A toddler’s well being is in her hands. If I was his wife it would take me a long time to get over his selfishness. If ever.
The heart of it is the lie. She said she’d go IF she got PE – not demanding J, just PE, with a baby for a 14 hour flight. He agreed and then blew her off. This is serious. She should be looking at other options, and I don’t mean her seat. And I’m wondering if your own wife is as happy with your attitudes as you assume, buddy.
In life we play different roles. The point of this business trip is work. Tagging along you are in a supportive role, and secondary to the business. It requires a confident and competent person to play the supporting role. If the spouse cannot do this, they should be at home with the two year old, not adding demands.
Don’t confuse a business trip with a family holiday. Spouse and toddler confined in a hotel room for the week is no vacation. If you can’t be comfortable flying economy with the toddler, the rest of the week will not get better
Divorce the slime-ball. If he lied to you once he’ll just keep lying to you.
What a stupid wife. Just the fact she vented online shows how disgusting she is. Do the dirty laundry at home. Next time, leave her home with the toddler. Seriously, the reason companies lay business class on a 14 hour flight is that the person can have some rest to get to the destination and get to work. I have done hundreds of these trips and you land and go straight to meetings so there is reason for him to be rested vs her going for fun.
BTW, I do it differently when it is a leisure trip. This summer I booked a trip to Europe for m family of 4. Bought 2 business class tickets (one under my name so I get mikes towards my status and one under my wife’s name). I then redeemed miles for 2 coach tickets for my kids. I already told them that my wife will fly business both ways and each kid will fly business one way. I fly enough in business that I don’t care and can survive a 7 hour flight to Europe in coach.
I’d just book four economy lolll. Such a premium in price x2 for just 7 hours. Especially back from Europe.
@Mick: Actually I was surprised. Almost $2k for coach and $4.2k for Delta One. I need to spend $20k in Delta to keep Diamond so this was a quick bump into the rest of travel paid by my company.
Lovely! With coach being sky high the premium price does come closer.
I agree with the premise of putting the wife in there. I’m happy with 7 hours in economy if I can finally read my book and relax. Especially if you can get an economy plus seat.
I am 100% behind the husband flying in business class; his ticket was paid by his employer and he needs to be fully functional for business. She has a full week to recover while staying in the hotel so he should not trade seats with her.
However we need to fully understand what led to him booking regular economy for her/toddler. I agree it was crummy that he didn’t buy premium economy — IF there were any premium economy seats available. It also is not clear when he booked the ticket for wife/toddler; those tickets may have been purchased at a later date and there might not have been any PE tix left.
Shut up, Karen. You got to go on a trip with your little brat. Be happy about that. You already hooked him in by having a kid. You’ll get to soak him during the divorce for custody and child support.
And this is why I would love United to bring back the Businessman’s Special shuttle service.
Which airline? On some airlines, premium economy is just regular economy seat with extra legroom, or even a regular economy seat with standard legroom closer to the front. It’s also possible the husband booked premium economy and the scheduled aircraft was replaced with one that had no premium economy.
My wife and I often do not sit together on flights. Sometimes I get upgrade , or we both want aisle. We sometimes go on our own vacations. But my mistress I want by my side at all times and I would happily take a middle economy seat next to her. If we prearranged a split seating, she would be happy, too.
Get divorced if you don’t like it, why bother us with your personal issues. You married the guy after all. What is up with all this crap on the internet these days and the constant outrage.
By the way, we, family of 4, often have a situation where we got only 2 upgrades out of 4. We either take turns (you get it this time, the other one next time) – usually on shorter flights, or if it’s international lie flat we switch at half time. Never a problem.
She should have checked the ticket to see if it was Premium Economy long before going to the airport. Not because she was suspicious of him (apparently she should be though) but out of curiosity.
Taking care of a toddler is work. If a parent doesn’t sleep on a 14 hour flight, they are not in shape for a business meeting OR to care for a toddler. This blog post diminishes the value of parenting, suggesting that losing the contract is more important than losing the toddler.
I believe parents around the world for centuries have cared for small children with minimal amounts of sleep.
I’d never want to do a long haul with an infant or toddler, because no matter where you are seated, you’re not going to sleep much, or at all.
If I take the fam on a work trip I find their award seats first and build the work itinerary accordingly. Seems like he did it the other way around.
I couldn’t upgrade my wife to premium because I had used all my points to buy a ticket for my 18 year old girlfriend to fly in business class with me.
It’s a private issue between the husband and wife and none of our business. The wife was wrong in making the issue public to shame her husband.
The lesson here, for the husband, is not to bring the wife and kid during his business trips. She complains in social media about her husband? If the wife expects equality, she should be bringing in the income and then expects the husband to share the housework. Don’t have children, if you are going to think you are sacrificing your time looking after selfish screaming kids. No children in business class please.
I agree with Matthew K. BTW, did the wife lie about the promise of PE? What’s the husband’s version.
And for those who build your work trip around your family, I hope you have the guts to name yourself and company so that you can be fired.
Luckily my wife and I don’t get into these kinds of arguments. We will usually slum it in coach together or fly business together. And on the rare occasion that I get upgraded and she does not, I push her to enjoy business class while I stay in coach with my daughter and she pushes me to take the upgrade instead of her. When you love your spouse, these small things become immaterial. Never had an argument about this topic and neither about who has the nicer car/clothes/watch etc.
In my family, everyone flies in the same class. Occasionally, I’ve gotten a complimentary upgrade and traded it to stay with the family. (Never had that turned down.) For international, everyone is in business, usually on the cheapest award tickets I can find.
On this report, I’m surprised she flew once she realized he lied. Though we may not have the whole story.
I think we overlook a simple answer: the couple Matt wrote about yesterday have a spare week in Bahrain with nothing to do except send internet viral bombs to Ed Bastien. They can watch the toddler. They could invite Tim Dunn to help.
A few thoughts … (a) apparently he’s never heard the quip “happy wife happy life” (b) why invite wife and baby on a BUSINESS TRIP when you’re going to be working and at meetings? Wouldn’t they be more comfortable at home? I would like to think the baby would. (c) sorry bro … you should have avoided the mess in the first place and ponied up either miles, paid cash, or bought an upgradable ticket and used less miles to upgrade into Business. This backfired spectacularly because you and your wallet are stingy. (d) to the wife … his COMPANY PAID FOR HIM TO BE IN BUSINESS CLASS. He’s on a WORKING TRIP and you don’t work for the company! Your beef is with your cheap skate husband. Settle that at home.
I’ve done this myself on previous trips where, technically, the hotel room was paid for by the company but extra days I paid on my own dime. My wife was excited to come along and didn’t gripe at all.
If the husband welched on paying for premium after promising it, I can understand her being annoyed but throwing a tantrum? Quite frankly, he could not bring her along at all. It’s work after all. My friend regularly flies up front for work while his wife and children fly in regular economy in the rear.
In other cultures, women are submissive to men, but also treated with respect so they will be less likely to throw tantrums over such matters. That isn’t to say the women never express themselves because they do, but they do so in private and constructively.
I had an aging American woman in her 30’s I was dating tell me “happy wife, happy life” and list all of her demands as a future “upper class housewife” including a laundry list of things for me to buy for her. I said… no thanks. I had time to wife shop elsewhere and did. I disconnected my phone but she left threatening messages on voicemail and that was that. She agreed to leave me alone. It’s a PRIVILEGE to have someone provide for you to raise YOUR children in a home comfortably or to travel and enjoy a hotel. Economy is not torture.
Lying and flying go together as has been demonstrated by the airlines for a long time. Deal with it. I didn’t read anything about why the husband booked in regular economy. Was there a reason such as premium economy was full? \