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Would You Leave Your 10-Year-Old Child Behind In Economy and Upgrade Your Seats to Business Class? Travel Influencers Spark Online Debate with Hypothetical Video About Traveling with Son

Two travel influencers received mixed reactions from social media after posting a video alleging they left their 10-year-old son in economy class and upgraded their seats to business class on a recent trip.

Karen and Sylvester Apkan took to their popular Instagram account to ask their supporters a simple question.

The Apkans posing for a family photo for Christmas. (Photo:@Themomtrotter/Instagram)

“Enjoying business class with my husband on a 13 hour flight while our 10 year old sits in the back in economy class because he doesn’t have United Premier 1K status like we do and didn’t get a complementary upgrade,” Karen wrote on her Instagram page.

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She continued, “Sorry son. Let’s talk fam !! What would you do? Option 1, 2 or 3? And why? Does the flight time make a difference in your decision? Does the age of the child make a difference in your decision?”

Then she gave social media users three options to choose from: take the upgrade and leave your child, give your child the upgrade, or decline the upgrade and stay together as a family.

Social media users pointed out what they saw as the dangers to a child flying alone and called the Apkans bad parents and selfish.

“Imagine how alone he felt on a plane with a bunch of strangers around him. Imagine your parents did that to you. It’s either all of us or none of us. My hubs and I would rather stay with him in econo then leave him by himself to be potentially harmed,” wrote Star Stevens.

Another user wrote, “Y’all need parenting classes. The whole notion is wild. The other adults passengers on the plane are not your village in the event some catastrophe happens and you can’t get to your child. All because you want to relax in 1st class………..If you won’t upgrade, the child then pay for another adult to sit with him.”

The users that agreed with the couple upgrading their tickets praised them and said that parents need to enjoy a break as well.

“You are my hero and I would do the same! A great experience for him too and opportunity to be independent in a safe environment!” wrote mom Blogger Jess Keys.

“Parents work hard and deserve some perks and praise. At the end of the day he’s still flying on the same plane and being cared for. This isn’t any different than parents being in the house having charcuterie and wine with the ac on while kids play outside. Let grownups enjoy grownup things,” wrote another user.

Karen started being a full-time travel influencer in 2019 after she lost her job and her family was buried in debt. She and her husband were living in California at the time with their now-10-year-old son, “Good Morning America” reported in 2021.

After Karen lost her job, the couple couldn’t afford their mortgage, car note, household bills, student loan debt, and other debts they had accumulated. So, they sold their house and used the money to pay off a good portion of what they owed. They also were able to buy an RV.

Karen then started to take her travel influencer vlogs more seriously and also focused on being a full-time stay-at-home mom. She even persuaded her husband to join in to make it a family business.

As their vlogs grew in popularity, they were able to gain attention from companies that wanted them to promote their products. The couple reportedly made enough to pay off their $266,000 in debt and take more trips to get more content.

The Apkans also were able to make upgrades to their RV. Now, Sylvester and Karen homeschool their son and travel the world. They have 305,000 followers on Instagram, over one million followers on TikTok, and have released parenting books.

Karen is known on social media as “The Momtrotter.” She responded to the comments defending their decision.

“On my last post I agreed with every response bc whatever option you chose to go with is fine as long as it works for your family. There’s no right or wrong answer, please let’s stop with the mom shaming,” she said. “I heard someone say they’d call CPS on me, another said I need parenting classes & another said my son would hate us & put us in a nursing home . Bc people don’t do things like you do doesn’t mean your way is better. Stahp it !”

She also revealed that it was a “scenario post” and all three of them actually flew in business class. 

“My initial post was a scenario post to ask people what they would do and why? And my follow up post was to say don’t judge parents, they know what’s best for their child,” Karen wrote in a post two days later. “Regardless of whether they chose to upgrade their child or not. I wouldn’t upgrade myself and not my child, he’s just my baby and deserves all the luxury however I wouldn’t judge a parent who does that. We all parent differently and that’s okay.”

What people are saying

2 thoughts on “Would You Leave Your 10-Year-Old Child Behind In Economy and Upgrade Your Seats to Business Class? Travel Influencers Spark Online Debate with Hypothetical Video About Traveling with Son

  1. Carole Brown says:

    I would not personally have done it but believe there was no harm done to the 10 year old. Thinking it was an awesome experience for the family.

  2. Lorry says:

    You left your 10yo child w a group of strangers for 13 hours? Why would you jeopardize your child’s safety?That’s exactly how unsupervised children get victimized by adults.

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