Brad Pitt And Angelina Jolie Fly Economy With Their Kids – Are Mine Spoiled?

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were spotted flying in economy on a flight from Paris to Nice, France, this past weekend with their six kids. Apparently they had connected from the Los Angeles to Paris flight on Air France.

From the Daily Mail:

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are two of the world’s most famous people.

But it’s clear the Hollywood stars like to keep things as down-to-earth as possible for themselves and their brood of six children.

The famous family shunned a private jet or even the luxury of First Class in order to take a normal approach to travelling as they piled into an Air France plane on Saturday, going from the US to France, landing in Paris before taking a domestic trip down to Nice.

Now some will say that this really is much ado about nothing. After all, the flight from Paris to Nice was actually on a regional jet which didn’t have first class to begin with. Even if it had, first or business class on most intra-European flights isn’t really anything more than a blocked middle seat — of course, I could have suggested a seating strategy to increase their chances of consistently sitting next to the empty seat, which would have given them the same thing anyway.

Intra-europe business class seat
Intra-European business class is not very exciting.

There are also no reports from the LAX to CDG flight, which means they may well have flown in business or first on that segment.

It’s hard to say then if they actually chose to fly economy of if that’s just all there was. But this is Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie we’re talking about.

They could have flown Lufthansa which does fly mainline on Frankfurt to Nice, at least occasionally. They probably could have flown a private jet if they wanted to. Even if Brad wanted to save a little coin, he could have just chartered from Paris down to Nice.

Yet they still flew economy for at least one segment. 

G650
My math says that a G650 can fly Los Angeles to Nice non-stop.

Reports indicate that the kids carried their own bags. They waited in the concourse with other passengers between flights. (Brad should really get a Citi Prestige card so he gets the Priority Pass select membership and can guest his whole family into the lounge!) They walked as a family, holding hands, through the airport and, impressively, didn’t get lost in Charles De Gaulle like my friends seem to do. In other words, they actually looked like a normal family and were traveling like normal people.

We can only really speculate as to why, but supposedly they are a relatively down-to-earth family, so maybe they see this as an opportunity for their kids to catch a glimpse of normal life.


This all got me to thinking about my own family and whether the quality and quantity of our travel is spoiling our kids. We take a bunch of trips each year, some of which are even in premium cabins. For us, it’s not because our net worth has a bunch of zeros on it, but rather because we know how to play the game. We look for deals, we strategically acquire and spend miles and points, and watch our finances.

But our kids don’t realize that. They just know that we go on a bunch of trips.

United first 747
Is my son spoiled?

All that is to say that I can appreciate that Brad and Angelina might be trying to raise grounded kids, or at least grounded relative to their position in life. I’m trying to do the same. It’s not easy. I think about this stuff a lot.

Do you worry that all of your family’s travel that is funded by miles and points will cause your kids to grow up spoiled? 

Comments

  1. People should really stop being worried about kids being spoiled. If anything, they are more aware of their surroundings and know how to behave in a “premium” environment.
    Even when you don’t realize it, your kids are actually smart enough to understand that you have to do some work to be able to fly like this.

    Moreover, you’re flying C/F not to please your kids, but for your own comfort.

  2. There are some times in life when you just have to hold your hands up as say I lost it.

    Being 4 days behind the Daily Mail, is one sure sign!

  3. Aside from one trip when she was a baby, our daughter has never flown in economy on longhaul flights. (Well, once it was in Turkish Airlines’ premium economy seat, “Comfort Class.”) Now, as a tween, the very idea of flying economy makes her groan, and the first thing she asks when we tell her we’re going somewhere is “is it business class?”

    Spoiled? Absolutely. We tell her that only people with good jobs can afford business class, so she’d better do well in school etc etc. I figure it’s about as effective as telling her that broccoli is good for her.

  4. Travel is a privilege, first class a luxury — I’d just make sure my kids knew this. I’d make sure my kids know what is and is not acceptable to discuss about their travels with friends or classmates. For example, this is appropriate:

    Friend: “How was your break?”
    My Kid: “I had a great time! And you?”
    Friend: “Pretty chill — I stayed home and played Xbox, mostly. Did you go anywhere?”
    My Kid: “We spent a few days in Paris — it’s beautiful! You should definitely visit if you get the chance.”
    Friend: “Man, you’re so lucky, you get to travel everywhere!”
    My Kid: “Haha, it’s all my parents’ choice, I just follow their say — I love Xbox too, though, what did you play?”

    But this is not appropriate:

    Friend: “How was your break?”
    My Kid: “OMG! So awesome. I had cake in the Flagship Lounge at O’Hare, and I took a shower upon arrival in Paris. Dude, the Park Hyatt Vendome — the suites there are amazing. Breakfast too — they had caviar! But dude, on the way back can you believe the TV in my first class suite was broken?”

  5. Call me jaded, but I think that all of this stuff is endlessly studied and done for a reason by their PR folks. They could have flown private, they didn’t. They know every human on the planet has a phone with a camera. Maybe they wanted a few headlines about “We’re Just Like You.”

    There are never nannies in any of their pictures. So we really think the two of them are raising all those kids without help, while they film global blockbusters and jet around the world on press tours? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

  6. Neil — For sure. I think I read that they had one nanny on this trip, though with 6 kids, that’s still going to require some work.

  7. How dare you all spoil your children and ruin their lives, plus, what will other people think??!! On an award EK trip SEA>DXB>SIN return, we showed our children what it’s like to suffer. We flew first class and made them travel in business. No FL390 shower for them. Oh, yes, you may call us bad parents for making them sit in back, but that’s how you show kids the value of money. 😉

  8. I’ve always been told that the only way to appreciate business class & first class is to fly economy. I do wonder though if kids who fly F or J all the time now will think F & J are actually “small” when they travel as adults.

  9. Hmm. I think you are right to worry. If a kid travels primarily in business or first class, of course they are going to get used to it, as would any adult. And even if you remind them endlessly that this is a treat, it won’t register. It’s what they know, and they have no basis for knowing any better. Imagine if you fed your kid ice cream every day and told them not to get used to it.

    To have them really appreciate it, you may need to just suck it up and travel in coach enough times for them to get used to it. My daughter has travelled up front one or two times. I’ve told her, in no uncertain terms, that I never, ever want to hear her complain about flying in coach.

  10. they were not in econ LAX-CFH. then they flew air france Euro 320 biz class – middle seats blocked, not quite econ. but yes, i do agree it is at least in part a PR stunt, and w/ the kid’s ages, 1 nanny in tow should suffice.

  11. Even on A319s and A320s AF does not offer business class on domestic French flights so they definitely would have been in coach no matter what.

  12. Jody — To be clear, we spend the VAST majority of our time in economy. So it’s not flying premium cabins, It’s really the amount of travel we do that concerns me….

    Jason put it really well: “Travel is a privilege, first class a luxury”

    In those terms, I’m more worried about the privilege….

  13. My kids are spoiled and it worries me. A few years ago, my then 7-year old daughter, upon entering the Emirates first class cabin said “There are no private rooms – this looks like business class!” I had to explain that not every Emirates plane had suites in first.

    However, I take some comfort that everything is relative. A friend (who is very wealthy and usually flies private) told me that his 3 year old daughter once saw an American Airlines plane out the window of their private jet and said “Look mommy, it’s a public plane.” Public!

    So I think my point is that things could be worse?

  14. I don’t think it’s a big deal when “normal” people’s children fly business or first nor is it odd that brangelinas brood travel economy . I think it’s just balance. For brangelina, all other aspects of their lives are probably already what we consider a luxury, so travelling economy once or a few times just balances their kids out. For normal folks, all other aspects of their lives MAY (some) be normal and middle class so treating the family to first or business also evens it out. There’s nothing wrong with giving kids the best as long as they’re also exposed to the other side from time to time

  15. @Travis, the amount of travelling concerns you? If I travelled a lot when I was a kid, I doubt I would travel much at all as an adult since the curiosity factor won’t be there. Sure I would revisit my favorite places but that’s probably it.
    I’m not a parent yet but one thing I would definitely do at least once a year when I have a family is to do a road trip in the summer. I feel that is an American classic and one where my children can relate to with their friends at school.

  16. Joey — I agree with you about road trips. That’s how I grew up!

    But I would argue that it was the love of travel and adventure that my parents instilled in me that has caused me to want to do it as an adult. The biggest difference is that they took me around the US, so now I’ve kind of done that, and need to go international to get my kicks.

    So maybe my kids will prefer to road trip someday cause their old man took them flying to much…. 🙂

  17. They should have flown LAX-JFK-NCE on Delta and they could have done it all in Business Elite, oops I mean DeltaOne!

  18. @Travis, that’s how I grew up too! Who knows? USA is the best tourist destination for the seniors/elderly/disabled/handicapped folks so perhaps your kids will be taking you on roadtrips around the USA later in life! 😉 hehe

  19. I don’t have kids, but I will fully admit that I am spoiled…..haven’t flown coach since 2008.

  20. My kids have flown in J/F exclusively for long haul. They are definitely spoiled. They frequently ask how come a 1 hour regional flight doesn’t have TV or why the seat doesn’t change into a bed. They also wonder why Southwest doesn’t have a buffet before the flight.
    I really have to thank the mileage game for making it happen. Not sure how long it will last with some many devaluationa and restrictions.

  21. “They also wonder why Southwest doesn’t have a buffet before the flight.”

    They do. You’re just supposed to stop at the Golden Corral on the way to the airport….

  22. My father has always tried to fly me business class whenever possible. Whilst I appreciate, once you’ve done it a few times, economy travel becomes a pain, the experience itself has motivated me and shown me first hand, how the fruits of hard work can pay off. Personally, I think so long as you’re not spoiled from the off, it’s not a bad thing.

  23. I don’t see how this is news….. Brad Pitt can make more money than me acting any day, but I have this tiny skill… I view it no differently. He has no time to waste doing what I do. -(looking for deals) Moreover, his net worth isn’t by any means extraordinary in this billionaire era but transporting a herd of kids is not easy and he has to do it to get where he needs to go. I’m from one of the most photographed places on earth and if you want to only visit there in first class you’re an idiot cause it doesn’t exist.

  24. At least you’re not in a private jet? My daughter’s friends were complaining to her that for a Christmas trip last year: “Ugh, we actually had to fly commercial! Can you believe that?”. Now that was an eye-opener! Of course, they flew in F, but it was still a COMMERCIAL airline!

  25. Also…. The above dialog is very good. We have had similar conversations. Nobody likes a spoiled kid and nobody will tolerate them.

  26. Seriously? You let your kid sit in premium cabin? Especially young kids who may cause inconvenience to other passengers. Where is your manner?

  27. Seriously! Let young kids in the premium space? Don’t they make dog carriers big enough for kids nowadays?

  28. Yes, children flying in F and B are spoiled. What’s more distressing is that parents today (including some here) say “sure my kids are spoiled . . .” Do they even understand what the word means? It is spoiled–rotten–good for nothing. Can not be used in a meaningful way ever again. That’s why our parents were so careful not to spoil us–it’s a dreadful thing to do to a human being you are supposed to be preparing for the world, and unfair to the rest of us who have to live with all the little DYKWIAs you are tossing out into the world. Rant over. Damn.

  29. Just like Ben’s guilty pleasure is to watch trash TV, I follow Hollywood gossip, and Brad & Angelina usually fly private, and they definitely have staff, but if I had 6 kids and the wealth, I certainly would. I did not see one of their usual bodyguards in the photos from this trip, but good on them for giving their kids this experience, even if it was motivated for publicity reasons.

  30. Yes; what about privacy/safety of the kids. There is nothing wrong with flying private; much less first. If they want to make them suffer, let them fly business class while the parents fly first. Better yet, fly on the Residence with them on the Apartments. A G6 is overkill for that, even a G500 can do that. Just did a TATL segment on a G5. Wouldn’t they get complimentary upgrades anyway? Introduce them to the miles game lol.

  31. I don’t think you should worry that just by flying first or business sometimes, or by flying often, your kids will be spoiled. My boyfriend grew up flying international first because his Aunt worked at an airline and he’s the least entitled person ever, flies economy plenty, and never comes off as spoiled.
    On the other hand, I only started traveling international (in economy) with my family in high school and I had far more issues with entitlement and acting spoiled for a long time unrelated to any travel – in fact these trips made me a far more cultured and understanding person. It’s really the overall parenting that influences this – not things like how much travel you do with your kids or in what cabin. My parents never said no to me and my mom often made unintentionally pejorative comments about less educated people that caused far more problems for me than how extravagant a given trip was. Just my personal parenting thoughts (coming from a non-parent!).

  32. From the news article that I read, they provided the pictures (about 10) they (Brad Angelina and kids) were not sat in the terminal with others but came in a van with the sign “Air France” with an agent escort them upstair to the jet bridge.

    As a person who has flown AF F many times, I’m sure they had flown AF F on LAX-CDG, they experience the best first class ground service in the world with AF in CDG. CDG-NCE is a very short flight with single class so it doesn’t matter.

    It’s no brainer that one would choose AF F over LH F if you care about food at all. LH food is inedible on the plane and in the FCT… While AF F food is much better especially in the lounge (3 Michelin star chef)

  33. “Is my son spoiled?” Not to worry. Not only will United Global First not spoil your son (or anyone else), it’s even guaranteed to build character!

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