Take It From Richard Branson’s Daughter: Traveling with Kids In Coach Is Better Than Premium Classes

Aug 24, 2019

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A photo of Holly Branson, daughter of Virgin Atlantic Founder Sir Richard Branson, sitting in coach class with a baby and two toddlers on her father’s airline has gone viral. Branson was on a flight from Antigua to London after spending a holiday on Necker, her father’s private Caribbean island when she posted the Instagram photo, below.

There were questions on why she’d choose to sit in coach rather than Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class, especially the new suite product on its Airbus A350s. As a mother who took her daughter on her first flight at 10 days old, I understand exactly why Branson chose to sit with her children in coach: more space.

Yes, first/business class and premium economy seats are larger and more comfortable than coach seats. But Branson was able to have three coach seats with the ability to lift the armrest and sit with all three of her children. You can’t do that if you sit in an upper class seat.

If you’re sitting on that swanky new suite on the A350, with its 1-2-1 herringbone configuration, one child would be separated from their mother by two aisles, as shown on Seat Guru’s A350 seat map, below.


It’s even worse on the airline’s Boeing 787-9, since Upper Class is in a very child-unfriendly 1-1-1 configuration, separated by two aisles.


Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 747s aren’t much better, despite one aisle, since the one of the three children would be in a separate row.

I was blessed to have a baby/toddler who traveled so well I would not have hesitated to buy a seat in a premium cabin. It’s possible that Holly Branson was concerned about disturbing premium passengers if her baby became fussy or her toddlers had a tantrum. I’d like to think that she just wanted to be close to her children and coach was the best way to do that.

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