A couple in the United States have landed themselves at the centre of the internet’s attention after the wife made the shocking admission that her husband flies first class when they travel, leaving her behind in economy with their two children.
Writing to The New York Times’ ethics column, she wanted to know if she was selfish for thinking their ‘arrangement’ was unfair, noting that while he had offered a compromise of sorts, it did “not really address or solve the problem of the inherent selfishness in his thinking.”
As she explained in her message, she and her husband are avid travellers, and he “either pays for, or gets an upgrade into, the first-class cabin”. Even when they travel with their two children – who are 12 and 16 years old – he takes himself off to first class, while they remain in economy.
According to her, he justifies it to himself by explaining that it’s “because of the cost”, and that their children “might feel alone” if she were to travel up front with him.
“I feel that this is unfair,” she said. “ I don’t think our kids would mind if they were in economy plus and my husband and I sat together in first class. Is that unfair of me to want?
“My husband has suggested travelling alone on a different flight ahead of us so that we don’t feel badly about the disparity, but this does not really address or solve the problem of the inherent selfishness in his thinking. Am I wrong?”
Kwame Anthony Appiah, the ethicist who responded to her for The New York Times, was of the opinion that “a modern marriage is meant to be a pairing of equals”, with partners treating each other with respect and having equal say in the decision making process.
“Your husband has another view,” he said. “He evidently thinks that because he’s the ticket-buyer in the family, his own preferences get priority.”
And when the article was shared to social media, people from all over were quick to get in on the discussion, with most leaping to the defence of the wife.
“I’d divorce him so fast he’d never get to fly first class again until our kids were grown and through college,” one said. “There is no justification for this ever.”
“I’d be calling a divorce lawyer rather than a travel agent,” one agreed.
“Wow. And you’re still married to him?! I’d recommend booking your own flights,” came a similar response.
Meanwhile, another noted that she “just might be married to a narcissist.”
“Oooph BIG YIKES. It’s not about the flight, I’m sure this imbalance trickles into other parts of the relationship,” someone wrote.
And as another shared, “recently, my husband was offered the upgrade to first class but declined it because I couldn’t go too. We’ve been married 30 years.”
Some, however, took issue with the idea of both parents lounging in first while their children were still left behind, with one noting “she wants to upgrade but still leave the kids in economy? The pair of them sound like terrible parents.”
“Frankly, I’m blown away that this mother sees the disparity for herself,” another said, “but is perfectly comfortable experiencing privilege while treating her own children disparately.”
This article first appeared on Over60.