Here's how I imagine first class on Air Brooklyn: flight attendants of ambiguous ethnic origin and sexual identity serve classic cocktails and a dinner includes truffled mac n' cheese, a beet and goat cheese salad and a salted caramel tart. The inflight movie selection is sorted by auteur, and on your headset you can listen to Jonathan Franzen reading excerpts from the latest New York Review of Books. But most importantly, every seat has a built-in cradle and the aisles are stroller width. Despite the fact that (luckily) this airline only exists in my brain, Air Malaysia has still managed to position itself as the anti-Air Brooklyn by banning infants in first class.
Via The NYT:
The news came via Twitter, from company CEO Tengku Azmil, who has been tweeting back and forth with passengers over the past few days. He is alternately answering questions, fielding criticism, and accepting thanks. “We already hand out noise canx headphones in 1st class,” one of his messages said. “They don’t work so well for babies crying.”
Of course, this topic obviously has particular relevance to us as we've covered baby bans so much we've even received attention for covering baby bans. But babies in bars is one thing -- being trapped with a screaming child for a 13+ hour flight is quite another. Believe me, the first thing I do when I get to the gate is survey my fellow passengers and begin compiling a mental checklist of who I least want to sit with -- in descending order from "how much xanax would I need to approximate a medically induced coma" to "just don't make eye contact and everything should be fine" -- and generally people with infants are at the top of that list.
That said, I'm not OK with this baby ban, and here's why: it punishes those of us who don't have the money to fly first class. The fact is, if you can afford to fly first class to Malaysia (going ticket price from NY looks to be around $7k) you can probably afford to bring a nanny to sit with the baby in coach while you enjoy lobster thermidore and 100% cotton pajamas.
So what do folks think? Would you cash in your ticket to Kuala Lampur in protest? Or shell out an extra 5 grand or so for the guarantee of a quiet flight? More importantly, any prospective Air Brooklyn investors?
Didn't think so.