Well, OK, to be more specific, I’m going anywhere Malaysia Airlines flies. And, without immediate access to their flight schedules, I’m making the educated guess that many of their routes involve, uh, Malaysia. Why the sudden interest in this beautiful eastern nation? Is it my sense of international adventure? My desire to see the beaches of Kaula Lumpur (OK, full disclosure, I have no idea if Malaysia has beaches let alone if they’re in Kaula Lumpur; though, to my credit, I did know the capital was Kaula Lumpur). Perhaps I’m eager to find exciting new companies to invest in over there? Nope, it is purely because they have recently instituted a “no babies in first class rule.” Remember in the movie Rain Man, when Raymond (the autistic adult played by Dustin Hoffman) and his brother (played by Tom Cruise) were trying to get back from New Jersey to California and Raymond refused to fly on any airlines other than Qantas because Qantas had a perfect safety record. OK, so Newark to Brisbane to LA is not the most direct route, but it was, in his eyes, the only safe way to fly.
I’m now going to use the same strategy with Malaysia Air. It is the only way to reliably fly without babies in first class. Yes, I know there has been so much gnashing of teeth in the wake of Malaysia Air’s decision to ban babies from first class. It’s discriminatory against young parents. It’s insensitive. Hell, how does one even define a “baby?” Is it under 2? Under 3? Under 45 (I know a lot of guys in their 40s that can whine with the best of them)? C’mon folks, this is simple. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and screams bloody murder at the top of its lungs like a duck, it’s probably a duck. Most likely a baby duck.
Hey, if I sound insensitive, I’m sorry. No, actually, I’m not. I paid my dues as a parent with babies on airplanes. I remember one flight when my son, then about 4, was sitting in his child safety seat, positioned perfectly so that he could kick the seat in front of him for the entire flight. I endured the dirty looks of the guy in front of him. But, importantly, I endured it back in coach with the rest of the proletariat. Now that my kids are older and I spend half my life on airplanes, I would to like to enjoy the relative calm one expects in the front of the bus. Today is a good example. I’m traveling from DC to San Fran via Chicago. It’s pretty much an all day affair. American Airlines is my office in the sky today. I got a lot of work to do and now on the Chicago to SF leg, I have 3 (count them, 3) screaming kids in first class with me. Pardon my lack of sensitivity, but get the hell back to the back of the train.
I am absolutely certain that Gerard Arpey, the CEO of AMR (the parent corp of American Airlines), reads my blog on a regular basis so this is directed at you, Gerard. You have until September 1 to follow suit with Malaysia Airlines and institute your own “no babies in first class” rule. Otherwise, you lose my business forever. I have already mapped out my itineraries and it’s not as bad as you’d think. It looks like I can make my regular Monday partners meetings in Miami by simply leaving DC on Saturday morning, flying into Kuala Lumpur on Sunday morning, then connecting out of Kaula Lumpur by mid-afternoon Sunday to arrive in Miami by Monday morning. With the time change working to my advantage, I can leave Miami on Tuesday afternoon, back through Kaula Lumpur and be home in DC by Thursday. It will be worth it.