After Breakup, Woman Takes Upgrade And Leaves Ex- Behind In Coach With Kid

A woman shared the drama that unfolded on her recent flight after she and her boyfriend broke up. They were on vacation with his toddler earlier in the month, she watched the child for most of the trip while the boyfriend “had the time of his life” and it came out that he was… “still seeing his ex.”

They still had to travel home together! They were even seated together. Awkward, until a passenger sitting up front didn’t show up and an employee came back to upgrade her.

  • Except they actually offered her upgrade to the ex-boyfriend

  • That’s because “the flight attendant was trying to argue at first as she assumed [the toddler] was [the woman’s] child” and therefore they’d need to sit together. The child had its own seat and was not ticketed as a lap infant.

She took her upgrade, leaving the father and child alone in coach. He was livid, feeling that he should have taken the upgrade like the flight attendant first suggested. Or at least she should have declined the upgrade, remained in coach, so they could both look after the child.

One flight attendant reacting to this story chimed in online, “if you think a couple is together with a kid, why would you even THINK of offering to split them up?” But that is wrong. The simple reason is because they are next on the list and it’s their decision to accept or decline the upgrade.

  • The man’s behavior warrants the breakup and also relieves her of any obligation to care for his child.
  • She’s entitled to the upgrade. And this story is a great example of the assumptions people make – not just about parenting, but also about who belongs in first class.
  • The crewmember on this flight thought it was ok for the dad to leave the woman with the child back in coach, but not ok for the woman to do so? Again, this is up to them.

We’ve seen a lot of ‘man abandons family in coach to take the upgrade’ stories. The general principle here is that if an airline offers an upgrade, you take it. If you love your partner, you want something better for you – rather than to endure economy. But if they want that for you, you want it for them too, classic Gift of the Magi scenario.

None of that applies here in any case. The man’s cheating absolves the woman of any responsibility to remain with him, in coach no less, watching his child.

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. She was about the upgrade going to her. The ex boyfriend and the flight attendant were wrong. I can, however, see a reason for the assumption on the part of the flight attendant. Children are often safer seated next to a woman. It is what should be followed with an unaccompanied minor. The flight attendant didn’t know the relationships of the three of them.

  2. Relationship Rule # 1
    Avoid breaking up on vacation. Bite your tongue. When a child (anyone’s child) is with you, it is the wrong time to discuss your situation. Thankfully the upgrade worked out

  3. Gary: Please don’t post stories from Reddit’s “Am I the A**hole” forum here as though they were news. There is speculated to be a lot of fictionalization on that subreddit. Maybe if there’s a particularly interesting ethical dilemma, you could post it as such — “Who’s right and who’s wrong in this situation?” But clearly the woman passenger was entitled to the upgrade in this case and was right to take it, so there’s no interesting dilemma here.

  4. Airlines need to do some sensitivity training in this world of a new reality. Don’t assume that the infant/child is the female’s responsibility. Non-traditional relationships should be seen as real; heterosexual assumptions don’t apply.

    It’s a simple question: By law, whose child is this this? By airline status rules the question is: Which person is entitled to the upgrade?

    This is not rocket science but the new norm. My husband of 48 years and I live with this ignorance every day: Why do airlines revert to heterosexual standards?

  5. I am sorry, but some simple analysis on this story makes me believe it is mostly false. 1. 3 people on a PNR usually result in not being on the upgrade list, unless all passengers have status. With a toddler that is unlikely. 2. If they split up the PNR to give them all a chance, why would the guy put the child on his girlfriend’s PNR if its his kid, that makes no sense. 3. If the boyfriend got the upgrade, with his kid on the PNR with him, the gate agent would see he is unable to take the upgrade and would have to offer it to the next person on the list. I GUESS that could be the GF, but one thing the GF CANNOT do is take the BF upgrade, because the Gate Agent still would have to show the BF in the seat, and will have created an unaccompanied minor situation on paper, if not in real life.

    And of course, combine all this with the most unbelievable thing of all about this story, that a battlefield upgrade occured. (I kid… mostly).

  6. Moral of the Story
    Don’t get involved with person with child if you don’t have any. Never understood why singles want to entangle themselves in relationship with someone with kid(s). Child support, visitation issues, etc., who needs the hassle. Good he showed his true colors so she can lose him before she gets pregnant.

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