People have called on a woman to divorce her husband after it was revealed that he allegedly flies first class while leaving his wife and children in coach.
The online debate began this week after New York Times Magazine published its recent newsletter “The Ethicist”. The column, written by philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah, offers advice to readers on “life’s trickiest situations and moral dilemmas”.
In the most recent column, a reader asked Appiah if it was “fair” that her husband flies first class but puts her and their children in economy or economy plus. “My husband loves to travel and always either pays for, or gets an upgrade into, the first class cabin,” she wrote. “When we travel together with our children, he buys himself a ticket in first class and puts us in economy or economy plus.”
She explained that her husband justifies flying alone in first-class because of the cost, as well as because of their two children – one 16-year-old and one 12-year-old – who might “feel alone” if their parents were to travel in first class together.
“I don’t think our kids would mind if they were in economy plus and my husband and I sat together in first class,” she shared. “Is that unfair of me to want?”
Although her husband has reportedly suggested he travel alone on a different flight so that his family doesn’t “feel badly about the disparity”, she maintained that this doesn’t “address or solve the problem of the inherent selfishness in his thinking.”
“Am I wrong?” she asked. “We are happy to travel, and love going places together, but it is still very strange.”
In his response, Appiah suggested that she and her husband take turns sitting in first class. However, the internet had some other ideas.
On 19 May, New York Times opinion columnist Lydia Polgreen tweeted the “Ethicist” column with the caption: “This is grounds for immediate divorce.” Her tweet received 1.4m views, as many people in the comments echoed the same sentiment.
“Divorce seems like the mildest possible response,” replied one user.
“Whether it’s fair or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re unhappy about it. And that he doesn’t give a flying monkey,” another said.
This is grounds for immediate divorce. https://t.co/Dqbx0k5Uof
— Lydia Polgreen (@lpolgreen) May 19, 2023
Divorce seems like the mildest possible response
— Gabe Ross (@gabrielmbross) May 19, 2023
Whether it’s fair or not doesn’t matter. What matters is that you’re unhappy about it. And that he doesn’t give a flying monkey. https://t.co/m7oPu2b9n2
— Barbie (@abarbyworld) May 20, 2023
Others took the opportunity to share their own similar experiences with being offered just one first class ticket, while their partner was not. Many people claimed that the husband should’ve given his first class seat to his wife, like one user who tweeted: “I got a free first class upgrade once when travelling with my wife and daughters. I, of course, gave it to my wife and chilled in back with the girls. Easy choice.”
Another wrote: “Whenever me and my fiancé travel together, if one of us gets upgraded and the other doesn’t, I first offer it to her, and then I refuse it myself if she doesn’t want it. Strange hill to die on for this guy. It’s just a larger seat at the end of the day.”
I got a free first class upgrade once when traveling with my wife and daughters. I, of course, gave it to my wife and chilled in back with the girls. Easy choice.
— Scott Caruthers (@scottcaruthers) May 20, 2023
Whenever me and my fiancé travel together, if one of us gets upgraded and the other doesn’t, I first offer it to her, and then I refuse it myself if she doesn’t want it.
Strange hill to die on for this guy. It’s just a larger seat at the end of the day.
— Ryan | Points Miles & Money (@ProfitsAndPoint) May 20, 2023
However, some people defended the husband’s decision to fly first class because he paid for the ticket himself, while others criticised the wife for willingly leaving their children in coach if she were also given a first class seat.
“I think they both suck for wanting to sit in first class and leave their kids in economy, but yes, he sucks more,” said one person.
“All the replies having sympathy for her when she would happily join him and leave the kids in coach. She’s as selfish as he is, zero sympathy,” another wrote.
I think they both suck for wanting to sit in first class and leave their kids in economy, but yes, he sucks more.
— Jenny Gattone (@TheWriteJennyG) May 19, 2023
All the replies having sympathy for her when she would happily join him & leave the kids in coach. She's as selfish as he is, zero sympathy https://t.co/E1P9vWpTcF
— Mary Ford Neal (@maryfordneal) May 20, 2023
This isn’t the first time the internet has been heated over plane seating arrangements. Earlier this month, a real estate influencer sparked a parenting debate after revealing that he and his wife sat in first class on a plane while their children were seated in economy with their nanny on the same flight.
In the viral TikTok video, user Samuel Leeds filmed himself waving goodbye to his children seated in economy, as he said “see you later” before walking towards the front of the plane. “Rich people, don’t spoil your kids,” Leeds wrote in the video, as entered the first class section of the plane. “Walking past business class, because I earned it.”
However, many people were divided over the couple’s decision to sit in first class while their children sat in economy. “No way. I understand the lesson but no way am I being that far away from my girls,” one person commented, while another TikToker wrote: “Respect. They will be in first class one day and feel that they earned it.”