Former star of BBC's The Apprentice says 'bratty' children shouldn't be allowed in aeroplane business class
Lottie Lion, who appeared on the BBC show in 2019, has been met with both criticism and support for her views
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A former contestant from BBC business reality show The Apprentice has caused a stir online by complaining that she was sitting near a “bratty” child during a recent flight - and said that she doesn’t think youngsters should be allowed to have a seat in business class.
Lottie Lion, now 23, was 19 when she appeared in the 15th series of the show in 2019. She made it to the final five, but was then one of three contestants sacked by Lord Alan Sugar after they had presented their business ideas, narrowly missing out on the business mogul’s £250,000 investment.
Lion proved to be a controversial figure during her time on the show and was allegedly uninvited from any post-show interviews after being accused of making racist comments and bullying others. Lion then hit back and said she had been portrayed in a “horrendous way” and denied the accusations. She has since said she regrets appearing on the popular BBC show at all, and earlier this year announced that she had moved to Bali, with no plans to return to the UK.
Now, Lion has caused controversy again with her comments about children on aeroplanes. So, what exactly did Lion say and how have been responded? Here’s what you need to know.
What did Lottie Lion say?
Lion took to her Instagram stories to express her frustration at having to sit near a family who had what she described as a “bratty” child during a recent flight to Paris. She shared a photo of herself looking frustrated with her hand placed on her forehead and her eyes looking up to the ceiling.
The image was overlaid with the caption: “Not to sound pretentious or anything (but we all know I am) why the f**k are children allowed in business class? There’s a bratty six-year-old NEXT TO ME with the parents in the row in front.”
Lion’s comments suggest that she is aware that she gained a reputation during her time on The Apprentice for being a bit of a posh snob because of the way she spoke and her ideas, such as her business concept which was to create a membership club for ladies in the countryside.
How have people responded to Lottie Lion’s comments?
Lion’s comments were soon met with questions from her followers. One asked what was presumably the question on everyone’s lips: “what are parents flying business class supposed to do with their kids?”
Lion responded with what was presumably intended to be a joke response: “‘I don’t know, put them in the luggage hold or something I guess.” This follow-up post also included a second photo of Lion continuing to look unimpressed.
One person took to X to accuse Lion of trying to “out-tantrum” a toddler with her comments.
Some people have, however, sided with Lion. One X user said: “I think Lottie Lion is right. Children should be banned from First and Business Class on aircraft. 18+ Only. Ideally Children could travel in the hold.”
They also compared having children on flights to smoking on flights, and said airlines should offer some flights that are completely child-free. “Airlines should have child free flights. Why should adults have to tolerate other people's kids? It's as antisocial as smokers. Some of us hate kids and have no desire to be within a mile of one.”
What else has been said?
This is not the first time that the topic of children on aeroplanes has divided public opinion - and involved famous faces.
Back in August, Vogue and Spencer Williams asked a fellow passenger to swap seats with them to allow them to sit next to their young children, Theodore, Gigi and Otto, then three, two and four months respectively. The couple said they had accidentally booked the wrong seats on a flight back to the UK from Gibraltar. They were then shocked when the man initially refused to change seats to allow them to sit together as a family.
But, the couple were met with criticism from the public, who said they were being “obnoxious” and should not have expected the man to move because of their mistake when choosing their seats.
Another TV star who may agree with Lion, however, is Kirstie Allsopp. The presenter made the headlines in 2018 when she flew in business class while her children, Bay, then 12, and Oscar, then 10, flew in economy class. She said that upgrading children so they could sit next to their parents on a flight would be an "absurd waste of money”. Celebrity chef and TV personality Gordon Ramsay has also previously said he buys a first class aeroplane ticket for himself while buying standard class tickets for his children. He said: “They haven’t worked anywhere near hard enough to afford that.”
Earlier this month, singer and presenter Stacey Soloman was praised by fans for flying in economy when she jetted off on holiday with her husband, actor Joe Swash, and their children. She shared some images of them on a plane to her Instagram account, and one fan commented: “She is flying economy (when she could afford business if she wanted to) because she hates being seen as anything other than normal. She is the most normal down to earth person who never wastes money!”