Travelling with junior can be terrifying ― non-stop crying! ― some carriers do everything to make your journey less stressful.
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Travelling with littlies is never simple. Never mind that you have to bring just about everything with you, the skies aren’t looking too friendly these days either. Remember the recent American Airlines fiasco where a mother was shown crying after a flight attendant forcibly removed her baby’s stroller, whacking her in the process?
Yet, it’s important to travel as a family because you create fond memories and enjoy new experiences together. Before you lose faith in all airlines, know that many do try their best to accommodate their guests, especially if they have young children.
Sure, there are plenty oftips and tricks that’ll make flying with babies and toddlers a little bit easier, your choice of carrier can also make a difference. That is, would you arrive at your destination feeling fine or frazzled?
Some child-friendly airlines go the extra mile, showering kids with everything from yummy fare, more comfy seats and world-class entertainment, to even nanny services. Yes, you read that right!
Scroll through the photo gallery to discover which airlines that do just that... Consider these options carefully before you book your next trip with the brood.
This airline lays out Arabian hospitality at its finest from the minute you board. Sure, it offers child-centric amenities like kid’s meals and entertainment, bassinet seats and baggage allowance, but Bahrain’s national airline takes it up a notch by making a nanny available to you ― free! Sky Nannies, who work on all wide-bodied aircraft flying long haul routes, will escort you to your seat from the departure gate. They will give you a much-needed break (even a nap!) by keeping a watchful eye on your little ones and keeping them entertained with fun activities. If your diaper bag is missing some items, no worries, it stocks everything ― from baby food, diapers, wet wipes, baby powder\lotion\bibs, to cotton bud packs.
Photo: Gulf Air
Families literally come first for this Middle Eastern airline, since they have special family check-in desks and a complimentary stroller service at Dubai International Airport, plus an international “families board first” policy. You can pre-order a meal if you child has any dietary restrictions and they will do their best to accommodate. Though they have baby meals, they’ll help you warm up your food and milk if you bring your own stash. Every child has access to in-flight toys and will be given an activity pack filled with goodies, such as a back pack, a book, eye masks, pen and activity book, plus a soft toy and blanket. Babies are not forgotten either ― they get their own amenity kit, which consists of baby wipes, a spoon, a bib and a bassinet liner. Older kids are presented with colourful headphones they can use to watch an extensive collection of kid’s TV shows and popular cartoons. Ask nicely and the friendly crew will even snap a Polaroid pic for you!
Photo: Emirates Airlines
You can pre-order sweet and savoury organic pots or baby biscuits for your infant while kids ages 2 to 8 will be served a colourful and healthy meal. For long-haul flights, the kiddos will receive games and colouring books, or they can keep themselves entertained with the wide selection of kid’s cartoons, movies, video games and radio stations. If you’re not keen to check in your stroller at the gate, you can actually bring it on board an Air France flight and store it in the overhead compartments, as long as it meets specifications.
Photo: Air France
You have to love an airline that has a “Feed Kids First” policy, since 80 per cent of airplane tantrums are caused by “hangry” kids! Not only do families board first, little ones receive age-appropriate “Skyflyer” activity packs, which come in a fun swimming bag. Children packs for those between 3 and 5 years will find crayons and a “Spread your Wings” colouring book featuring Cuthbert the Cat, while older kids will receive a pen and the “Wing It” book filled with exciting facts about flying, together with puzzles and Sudoku. Since the in-flight children’s entertainment options boast parental controls, you don’t have to worry that your tweenager will accidentally chance on inappropriate content. By the way, if you’re travelling with kids under 2 who don’t have their own seat, you can reserve seats for everyone in your group, at no charge (since airlines now charge for reserving seats)!
Photo: British Airways
Our national carrier constantly tops lists for being one of the best airlines in the world for good reason. Just look at what it has in store for young travellers ― on board stroller check-in, inflatable aircraft beds, diapers, disposable bibs and feeding bottles. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Infants and children have access to activity games and toys, including stickers, memory card games, puzzles and soft toys. If you often travel on Singapore Airlines, you’ll also realise that toys and games are refreshed every quarter, so your sweetie will constantly find something new to play with!
Here’s another airline that speaks straight to a stressed-out parent’s heart. Thanks to its Flying Nanny service, you can enjoy an extra pair of hands ― especially if you’re travelling alone ― to help you settle your kiddos or keep them entertained. All Flying Nannies, approved by a renowned childcare training college in the UK, are well-equipped with a goodie bag of games and fun hands-on activities, such as face painting, origami-making and magic tricks. Other amenities include scrumptious meals for junior, plus those 3 years and older will get a pack of games, activity books and stickers to help keep boredom at bay.
Photo: Etihad Airways
Air New Zealand
Besides great inflight entertainment for the entire family and a super-cool kid’s pack, this airline also has Olbas oil (a herbal remedy) on hand to soothe your child’s earache during take-offs or landings. You can also fork out extra cash to enjoy Sky Couch comfort for the ultimate indulgence while you fly. These special seats (prices start at $955 extra per seat) extend to make a couch or bed, so you and the brood can have a relaxing flight. Who knows, it might even encourage the little ones to sleep a little longer and if so, it’s money well spent, we say!
Photo: Air New Zealand
This South Korean airline has a “Happy Mom” service that provides plenty of amenities including yummy and healthy baby, toddler and child meals. Didn’t manage to book a bassinet seat or baby is too large for a bassinet? Then request a free baby sling while you’re on board. You can cradle bub in it, so that she can sleep comfortably, leaving your hands free to read or eat. An added bonus: Children under 2 not only enjoy free travel, you can also check in a 10kg bag and stroller without charge!