Flying with children? Here are some family-friendly airlines
AIR NEW ZEALAND just announced an upgrade to its Skycouch feature, which turns a row of three economy seats into a completely flat surface. It allows infants to lie down next to their parents during a flight and it’s exceptionally handy for long-haul flights.
Previously, infants were required to be seated on a guardian’s lap when the seat belt sign was on.
However, thanks to a complimentary new harness, belt, and pod, coupled with the wide futon-like surface of Air New Zealand’s Skycouch, parents can now relax and cuddle their child for the entire duration of the flight.
In a press release, Air New Zealand wrote: “The Skycouch has proven to be a real game-changer in the Economy cabin. While we initially marketed it to couples, we quickly found the product suited parents with young families especially well. Parents can relax while their children are able to have their own space and flat area to play without interrupting other passengers.”
“Through this process, we’ve spoken to many customers who have traveled on the Skycouch and their feedback has helped to inform the updates and refinements we’re introducing this year.”
The harness will come in three sizes – small, medium, and large – and the airline will also provide free Skycouch Pods for additional protection to infants under a certain size.
Air New Zealand’s Skycouch Cuddle Belt has also been updated to allow two children to lie down together.
These improvements will also be made available to offshore airlines which Air New Zealand has licensed the Skycouch to.
Parents are thrilled to read the announcement and have expressed their enthusiasm over the upgrade.
But unbeknownst to many, Air New Zealand isn’t the only airline that will go out of their way to accommodate children.
From bassinets and diapers to children’s meals and in-flight entertainment, here are some of the most family-friendly international carriers:
All Nippon Airways (ANA)
Is there anything that Japanese airlines can do wrong?
Japan’s largest airline, All Nippon Airways (ANA), provides children and baby meals, powdered milk, baby bottles, paper diapers, aprons, drinks for children, and toys. This is on top of bassinets for babies.
Expecting mothers are offered special treatment, and passengers with connecting flights who have a child under three years old will be escorted.
For unaccompanied minors, ANA has an ANA Junior Pilot program that offers assistance for children five to 11 years of age traveling alone on international flights, from departure to all the way to arrival, to ensure they are taken care of during their travel.
One of South Korea’s two major airlines, Asiana Airlines has a Happy Mom Service that takes the stress out of flying with a baby for Mamas.
Mothers would be pleased to know that the service offers a baby in-flight meal, a baby seat service, and a baby bassinet service just a phone call away (requires a reservation in advance).
At the Happy Mom counter, Moms will also be able to get priority boarding and additional baggage allowances for infants.
If you need to breastfeed during a long-haul flight, simply ask for a nursing cover and a baby sling.
On Hong Kong’s flag carrier, children are VIPs.
For parents who are bringing children from two to under 12 years old on board, Cathay Pacific will ensure a smoother travel by offering a colorful children’s fun pack full of goodies to keep them occupied on the flight.
The pack includes stationery, games, and activity books.
Breastfeeding your baby is allowed during all phases of flight, and all flights also come fully stocked with baby food. To add on, each aircraft has at least two toilets with fold-down tables for changing diapers.
Dubai’s Emirates definitely has a way with children.
The airline’s Young Flyers program offers changing tables and complimentary stroller service at Dubai International Airport, as well as priority boarding for families.
On board, infants and children receive their own amenity pack and special meals. If that’s not enough, there are also special channels for kids on the in-flight entertainment system.
On top of children (occupying a seat) getting discounted fares, when you’re flying with young children, you can skip the queues and go straight to Emirates’ separate family check-in desks.
Etihad wants to be the best at ensuring that every parent has a completely fuss-free, child-friendly flight.
Of course, there’s the staple complimentary strollers, family pre-boarding, bassinet service, child and infant meals, and age-appropriate in-flight entertainment.
But also, the airline has a Flying Nanny service in which a cabin crew member armed with a goodie bag of games, and arts and crafts will help keep your little ones occupied on long-haul flights.
Business and first-class passengers will get dedicated family rooms at Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Manchester, Washington, and Abu Dhabi.
Japan Airlines (JAL)
They also offer bassinets/baby beds, and paper diapers.
Parents will love the JAL original “JAL BABY CRUISE” pack that comes with baby food for an infant under two years, a spoon and an apron, and food for children over two years.
Older children will be given toys and games which can be taken home and picture books on loan.
South Korea’s pride and joy, Korean Air has a bunch of services for both parents with infants and unaccompanied minors.
Korean Air passengers with infants are offered free stroller rental services at Incheon International Airport, and bassinets are available on board as long as a reservation was made prior.
Infants under 24 months will be served baby food and orange juice or child meal.
As for unaccompanied minors between the ages of five and 11, the airline’s staff will accompany them from their departure point through to their destination,
Malaysia Airlines (MAB)
Whether you’re in for a long-haul flight or just a short trip across the sky, Malaysia Airlines (MAB) wants to ensure you get the best MH experience.
MAB allows for an additional 10kg of purely baby essentials (including a bassinet or carrycot) over and above the free baggage allowance of an adult passenger.
Flights will also have a limited quantity of baby formulae, food, and essentials including napkins, bottles, and brushes on board, as well as facilities for heating baby food and sterilizing feeding bottles.
Nursing mothers can head to the baby changing facility and lactation room that comes complete with a cradle, high chair, diaper-changing table, and basic toiletries such as baby soap, talcum powder, and nappies at selected airports.
Inflight meals are bound to get yummier for you and your children when you fly Singapore Airlines.
The airlines feature a wide range of mouth-watering meals for children under its Yummy! menu, and a more cautious selection under its Healthier Yummy! menu.
Special meals are available for infants less than one-year-old, post-weaning children between one and two years old, and meals for children between two and seven years old.
Like most of the other aforementioned airlines, Singapore Airlines also bassinets upon request. But also approved car-type child safety seats and FAA-approved child harnesses for children under three years of age.
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