I obviously have too much time on my hands in starting this 'first world problems' thread, but here goes.......
I am a frequent traveller on the NSW Regional services, taking advantage of the very good-deal Discovery Pass, which I use a lot on my regular Newcastle-Sydney trips for family purposes. Plus the occasional other jaunt when I have time off from work. In general, despite the restricted number of departures each day, the XPT and Xplorer trains have a much more pleasant ambience than the regular interurban trains.
However, I have noticed more and more young children in the so-called 'premium' First class carriages. After a bit of discreet digging I have learnt that most, if not all, are travelling either for free or one dollar fares (with their accompanying adult paying normal fare).
As kids are wont to do, they are often noisy, running up and down aisles, crying/irritable etc. I notice adults around me sighing heavily, and casting the odd dirty look, but that's about all you can do.
I wonder about the wisdom of TrainLink promoting first class as a premium 'product (which is what their advertising says), when they virtually give away first class tickets to kids. Let's face it, a one dollar fare is basically giving them away. Would an airline sell their business class seats for one dollar? I don't think so.
So, is it time for NSW Trainlink to either restrict their one dollar/free kids travel to just economy seats (and any parents wanting their kids to go first class can stump up for the appropriate fare)?
Alternatively, could they experiment with having a quiet carriage? (like they do on the regular interurban trains). Even some airlines are trialling kids-free zones. Of course such a quiet carriage would be difficult to have on smaller trains like the two car Moree or Griffith service.
TrainLink are in the planning phase for an all-new fleet. I would assume that as part of this they would be putting lots of things up for internal-discussion. How much they want to go after the full-fare paying adult market would presumably be part of this, and the role of any premium product they might want to offer.
Any parents on this forum with young kids may have a completely different perspective, especially if they routinely take their own tackers into first class. Perhaps I am just sliding into grumpy old man stage of life; in which case I need to get a grip and worry about something a tad more important in life.
By the way, the issue of taking kids into first or business class on airlines has been a lively topic for discussion on various forums for many years; but I am not so aware of rail-based discussions.
PS: On my most recent trip this week a particularly badly behaved family made me get out of the first class car and park myself in the almost empty economy carriage at the front of the train. The peace and quiet made it a great choice, and the fact that the seat didn't recline as much mattered not one bit. The staff made no comment. If they had, then I would have let them know why.