Instagram Star Flies First Class While Her Husband Flies Coach. How Does It Work In Your Family?

Three years ago I wrote about husbands who fly business class while their wives fly coach. Last year the Washington Post‘s relationship columnist covered the issue, telling a woman whose boyfriend flies up front while he pays for her to fly coach that she should dump him: “His wife sat alone in coach: His epitaph writes itself.”

When only one premium cabin seat is available do you,

  • Decide that sitting together is more important, even if it’s less comfortable in back?

  • Offer it up to your less frequent flying partner?

  • Gladly take it yourself, you earned it?

And for the person left in back that’s resentful, what do they think of their partner that they’d wish for them to sit in coach? Maybe they should ask a flight attendant’s permission to split time in the seat?

Sometimes couples just don’t like each other that much and being in separate cabins is a great way to stay together. Over the holidays last fall two American Airlines flights had to divert when couples got into fights on board.

It does seem most of the stories are about men flying up front while wives or girlfriends are in back, so I was intrigued by a role reversal: an Instagram ‘influencer’ who says she flies up front and leaves her husband and kids in back.

  • She doesn’t believe kids should sit up front because they can’t appreciate the work it takes to get there.

  • But she needs to sit up front so she can be productive in flight. And with the kids in back, her husband needs to sit there to watch them.

She says if it’s just the two of them, sure, she’ll try to get him a premium cabin seat too. But never for the four of them. And since it’s her work that takes them around the world, she needs to get work done and business class lets her do that.

Plus staying healthy so she can work is really important and she ‘doesn’t want to catch a cold’ — it’s unclear whether her argument is that there are fewer people within a distance that can get you sick when you’re seated up front, or she just thinks coach passengers are diseased unwashed masses.

A 40-year-old Instagram star and TV presenter leaves her husband and kids in economy when she flies first class because she needs “time to focus” and doesn’t want to “catch a cold” from other passengers.

Naomi Isted, a fashion journalist and TV presenter from Essex, UK with nearly 100,000 Instagram followers, told INSIDER that she and her husband Haydn, also 40, travel the world producing “bespoke digital content for global clients.”

Only one seat is available because “sometimes an airline may invite me to upgrade when they know I’m travelling” but she’s “also paid” and the seat is expensive — though she says “[s]ome airlines I wouldn’t bother upgrading as it’s not worth it.”

Why won’t she ever swap inflight roles with her husband? She says it’s about work (“He can’t write the scripts for me”) but that doesn’t seem to be what’s driving it (“I probably wouldn’t swap anyway”). Instead she says her husband just appreciates how lucky he is to be with her,

He appreciates that these are opportunities I am bringing to the family.

She sure sounds like a peach. What do you think though, should couples split up and should the seat up front go to whomever has more important work?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. In a traditional work situation, and the people are on vacation with no work involved, splitting it or offering business to the spouse that doesn’t fly in business is nice. If the breadwinner has to work then let them in business.

    I typically get annoyed at the guy who ‘earned’ his seat and just relaxes during the flight.

  2. Ah yet another benefit to being single so I don’t have to worry about crap like this. When I travel with my son he travels in the same cabin as me (usually F/J). Otherwise I am travelling alone and can choose whatever I want without worrying about pissing anybody off. As an aside I use my son travelling up front as a lesson in working hard and thinking outside the box since I normally wouldn’t pay to sit up front.

  3. While she looks like in her late 50’s even though she said she is 40, her husband is much younger. In this case, she might need to sit in the front than her husband and just let the baby bomb to disturb others in the back…

  4. So….
    A few years ago, my wife and I are using System Wide Upgrades.
    On the last leg (LHR to DFW), my wife (because of lower status) gets bumped off the upgrade down to coach.
    I beg her to take the upgrade, she says: “No, honey, you are going straight from the Airport to work, I can rest when we get home.”
    For the amount of grief I have taken since, I have decided from now on, she gets the upgrade. I don’t mind flying in the cargo hold in a dog crate if necessary.

  5. My wife or mother-in-law always fly in coach to watch the kids, while I am in first. I need to get work done, and being comfortable and not disturbed is tantamount to that. If mother-in-law accompanies, then wife can get an upgrade also.

  6. My husband is 6’4″, I’m 5’2″. If a seat becomes available up front, he gets it for the leg space. Once, when we were flying with our then-young son, two seats became available up front. We couldn’t both go up front and leave our young son alone behind in Economy, so my husband and son went up front and I stayed behind. These are the most logical choices and I have no resentment.

  7. She needs room for her implants so upfront is better for her!! I see mostly the husbands(not gentleman) take the front seat and wife in the back!! Recently waiting to board spoke with a wife and she hubby got upgraded as he flies all of the time.. I said –he heard.. you are letting the mother of your 5 yes 5 children sit in the back? he ignored me but she said its ok??? i said not really>> but he did sit in the front by himself?? not nice

  8. If and when my wife and I are flying together, and I (with higher elite status) am offered an upgrade (rather than we — in other words, only 1 seat, not 2), I always offer it to my wife. Sometimes she accepts it; sometimes not. I’ve even been “warned off” taking the upgrade by ground personnel (e.g.: the only upgrade I have is to a middle seat; you have an aisle seat in the Exit Row — I’d keep that if I were you!).


    Then there was the time that my then-young daughters (10 and 12, respectively at the time) were flying with my wife and I on Air France (CDG-LHR) in Coach. Our girls were upgraded to Business Class/Exit Row seats while my wife and I stayed in steerage near the back of the plane. And while they didn’t especially like their pâté de foie gras sandwiches, neither they they offer to send them back to us…

  9. If people are dumb enough to be influenced by her then this woman deserves to get rich . And of course millions are that dumb: Kim Kardshians is the classic case in point.

  10. Two comments:
    As to marriage, whatever two people agree to is their business. Period.

    As for influencer, 94+k followers is hardly an influencer. More wannabe fantasizer than reality…see also narcissistic, egocentric & arrogant.

  11. When I traveled on business and my wife was with me, and I was upgraded, I always gave her the front seat. Happy wife = happy life.

    And, as the great sci fi writer Robert Heinlein observed, “Love is the condition in which the happiness of another is critical to one’s own happiness.”

  12. Pass on the upgrade. I was offered an upgrade to first class on Alaska last week just before the door closed, and I said “I’ll pass. I prefer to sit with my girlfriend.”

  13. 100k followers? Jesus. That ain’t shit. There’s hoes all over Instagram showing their body and they got 1m followers. That a company would pay this woman with such a small following is pitiful but that’s where we are.

    Millions of women are making a lot of money off men’s stupidly by simply posting pics of their ass but considering how much less autonomy women have had through out history I can’t feel bad.

    Just know these ugly simp ass men who are thirsting over these girls are the reason we have this culture. It ain’t women’s fault, so when you say these women are talentless, remember it’s dumb ass simple men who give these women the time and energy (likes + thirsty comments) that give these women the idea theyre all that.

    Maybe men should realize it’s their thirsty simple asses that caused all this in the first place.

    She probably no more talented then any other person but in this day and age ‘pretty’ people get to prosper even more than before since men and women alike view them so highly.

  14. It may be difficult for this crowd to appreciate. But there are people who don’t really care about an upgrade. I have passed on my seat to elderly, military at the gate. It is not that big of a deal on flights <8 hrs and I sleep just as fine in coach.

  15. @Rich is such a gentleman. How lucky is your girl friend to have you.. If she eventually pass, I will take you over

  16. Years ago my wife and I were traveling to Hawaii on vacation, with family including both of our mothers. My wife and I had some sort of upgrades clear. We figured that we should offer them to our moms, and we guessed that the likely outcome would be their saying “Oh, no, dear, you go ahead.”

    What happened, of course, was that we asked them “Would you like to sit up in fir–” and found that we were talking to two mom-sized holes in the air. We saw them again when we landed, many Mai Tais later and smiling. Definitely worth it.

  17. My husband would never take the upgraded seat. . . Nor would I. He’s always said if I only have a sandwich, he would share it me. We always are together. We are old farts. How disrespectful can a marriage get!

  18. One look at that woman is enough to know she’s trouble. Jesus.

    I am married 32 years. Some things I know. Flying upfront if my wife is in the back is obviously a non-starter. No way on earth that works out for me ever, case closed, the end.

  19. @dotti~ surely best to keep your own (confused) opinions to yourself, rather than actively interfering in some other family’s travel arrangements, no?

  20. @Jason Brandt Lewis
    “middle seat” and “upgrade” are incompatible….even though Delta thinks so

    I am 6-6, so upgrades do matter most of the time, especially with American’s Oasisification, although I have given them up at times

  21. They’ll be in divorce court soon and then she will be sitting in the back when she takes the kids on holiday.

  22. I know that me and my husband would split the time in the upgraded seat.
    Either he or I would go half the flight then we would switch.

    What a sad sad life, that your income is dependent on people liking you on social media. It’s so plastic, so very sad.

  23. About premium seating- this is tangentially related to the topic. We recently flew from Tampa to LHR on British Airways Premium + and it was really bad. The way over was LHR to DC on an older plane in Premium+ and it was fine, lots of leg room I think it was 2-3-2, it was the old business class seats. But Tampa -> LHR was a newer airplane and a newly redone Premium + cabin. It was terrible it was 2-4-2 and the rows of seats were very very tight, hardly any space between the rows. And the food, the food was the worst food I have ever had on an airline ever, and I have been flying over 40 years.

    I will never pay for Premium+ again on BA. When Premium+ first came out we got the same meals as business class and as stated above, very spacious seating in the older planes. It is so not worth the price increase to fly premium + over coach. Brand new plane and they ruined it.

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