A woman has sparked debate after revealing that when she travels with her family, her husband flies in first class while she and her children are left in economy.

The revelation, which the US-based woman shared in the New York Times’ newsletter The Ethicist, in which philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah offers readers advice on their dilemmas.

According to the letter, the husband ‘always either pays for, or gets an upgrade into, the first-class cabin‘, leaving the children in economy or economy plus.

She admitted that when the family flew to Paris on an overnight flight, he justified his upgrade by saying that the kids (12 and 16) ‘might feel alone if [she] were to travel in first with him and leave them in the rear cabin, which she described as ‘unfair’.

She added that the children wouldn’t mind if they were to sit in economy while the parents fly together in first class, but she doesn’t know whether that would be unfair on them.

The woman concluded her letter saying that her husband’s suggestion to solve the problem is to take different flights, so she doesn’t ‘feel badly about the disparity’, which she describes as ‘the inherent selfishness in his thinking’.

She wrote: ‘Am I wrong? We are happy to travel, and love going places together, but it is still very strange.’

Responding to the letter, Kwame wrote that ‘a modern marriage is meant to be a pairing of equals, in which each partner treats the other with respect, consideration and dignity’.

He added that in marriage, both parties should have a say in significant decisions, taking the other’s comfort and preferences into account.

But, he continued, the husband appears to have ‘another view’, noting that he ‘thinks that because he’s the ticket-buyer in the family, his own preferences get priority’.

Ultimately, he suggested that ‘creating greater equity’ could be the answer, by the adults taking turns when it comes to flying up front.

A number of readers seemed horrified by the dilemma, with many taking to Twitter to share their responses.

One wrote: ‘This is grounds for immediate divorce.’

Another agreed, adding: ‘I don’t even need to read it. Divorce!’

And a third added: ‘Thought this was gonna be bad when I read it.. it’s way way worse than I imagined.’

A fourth chimed in to say: ‘This is an extreme example of the unbalanced dynamic that’s still out there. Not for everyone but it’s still there… small things like men’s expectation that somehow the dishes will always be clean, food will always just *poof* appear, food will just be ready on a plate… magic.’

However, one took a different approach, and criticised the woman for saying she would like to fly first class, while leaving the children in economy.

The user wrote: ‘All the replies having sympathy for her when she would happily join him & leave the kids in coach. She’s as selfish as he is, zero sympathy.’