In order to have an unforgettable family holiday, you first have to get there. One of the most stressful parts about going on a holiday with children is the flight, especially if it is a long-haul flight. A long flight with restless and bored children can be enough to ruin a holiday before it even begins. Unfortunately, we all can’t afford the luxury of flying business class where there is room to stretch out and lay flat when it is sleep time, so here is a list of carriers that go that extra mile for families that are travelling with children.
Even before getting on the plane, Emirates starts looking after families. If you are travelling with young children, you can skip the queue and go straight to a separate family check-in desk. Once checked in it gets even better with Emirate’s families board first policy.
Once on the plane little adventurers can share their journey with Fly With Me Animals which is not just a cute soft toy but also includes a fairly generous sized blanked which children can wrap up with their buddy in a blanket, use theirs as a bag or attach to their stroller when they’re on the move. The Fly With Me Animals magazine is full of puzzles, games and comes with coloured pencils.
Emirates have also teamed up with the amazing team at Lonely Planet Kids to create packs that inspire older children to explore more of the world.
Young explorers can dig into a travel-themed bag which is pack with educational books designed exclusively for Emirates flights. Inside the pack they’ll also find amazing world facts, creative crafts and a travel journal so that can always remember the journey for years to come.
Etihad Airlines is one of the very few airlines to offer a Flying Nanny service. The Flying Nanny on Etihad is not your everyday Nanny. They are graduates of the prestigious Norland College in the UK which supplies nanny’s to Royals and celebrities. The Flying Nanny is a free service for flights longer than 6.5 hours. It is designed to give parents that little bit of an extra hand. They make crowns out of pipe-cleaners, create hand puppets, perform magic tricks and do face-painting. It also allows parents an opportunity to relax and enjoy their meal while the children are being entertained.
Etihad’s inflight entertainment features animated characters: Zoe the bee, Jamool the camel, Kundai the lion, and Boo the panda. The Kids Club is for children under 12 years old who love interactive games, TV and movies.
When traveling with children, the more prepared you are the easier the flight can be. Etihad offers the ability to pre-order items such as bassinets for little one’s under 10 months and also the ability to pre-order meals 24 hours before departure. For the really little one’s this includes a good range of baby food brands. For 2-12-year-old you can pre-order from the Children’s menu.
Air New Zealand
Air New Zealand have an amazing option for families flying with Children called Sky Couch. The Air New Zealand Sky Couch converts from your standard 3 economy seats row into an almost flat(ish) bed as the foot of the chairs extend all the way up giving a dimension of 1.55m long and a depth of 74cm. While this does come at an extra cost is only a fraction of the cost of business class. A family of 2 adults and 2 children can essentially have two rows to themselves and get a good sleep which would normally be difficult to do in economy class.
Air New Zealand also offers a Jet Cadets Kids Pack, in-flight meals designed to appeal to fussy eaters and pre-board bassinet booking.
Qatar Airways introduces their new Oryx Kids Club featuring five characters, including the oryx twins Orry and Orah, and their three furry friends, Kamil the camel, Faaiz the falcon and Farrah the desert fox. These cute plush toys also come with an activity packs and meal boxes which can also be taken home. Activity pack can vary depending on the flight but generally crayons, stickers and an activity book filled with puzzles, fun facts, and colouring pages. For the infants Qatar offer a sleepy-time Ella Fun soft-plush toy with an eye mask to encourage relaxing sleep and a soft-plush book. For infants you also get a diaper bag (2 diapers, 4 wipes, baby lotion, and baby powder), baby meal, and toys.
Children can join Qantas’ Joey Club which will include an activity kit for the flight. Downloadable themed activity sheets are available from the Qantas website for more on-board colouring-in fun. Qantas have a broad entertainment selection specifically designed for younger kids. Qantas will also make your children feel part of the Qantas crew when you purchase a mini outfit including Qantas captain or cabin crew uniforms from the Qantas website.
British Airways understand that one way to keep children happy is to make sure they are not hungry. Not only does British Airways have a ‘Feed Kids First’ policy, their food is also delicious and nutritionally balanced.
British Airways also has Age-appropriate ‘skyflyer’ activity packs. For children aged between 3 to 5 years, the pack includes crayons and a ‘spread your wings’ colouring book that features Cuthbert, the Cat. For those a little older they get a pen and a ‘wing it’ book that has interesting and fun facts about flying, puzzles and Sudoku. The inflight entertainment can also be controlled by the parents you don’t need to worry about what they are watching if you happen to get some sleep.
If you have been on these airlines or any other airlines that have gone above and beyond for your family I would love to hear from you.