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Etihad Airways
Image courtesy of Etihad Airways

Airlines’ best family-friendly

initiatives and products

What do you look for when planning and booking a flight? Coralie Parsons shares the best airline products and initiatives that may assist you when planning your next family adventure.

1. Etihad Airways

Flying Nanny

Looking for an extra pair of hands on board during your travels? Etihad Airways introduced the Flying Nanny service in 2013 (at no extra fee) to help kids feel more comfortable in the sky.

Flying Nannies are easily identified on board, wearing a bright orange apron and fully equipped with games and activities to brighten up your child’s flight, from magic tricks and face painting to hand puppets and art.

The Flying Nanny is the perfect distraction while you dash off to the bathroom or stretch your legs, but just keep in mind that they’re there to cater for all families travelling on board and cannot take care of the kids for the entirety of the flight. For flying bubs, Flying Nannies can also arrange warming and replenishing milk on request, as well as extra nappies and snacks.

Etihad Airways
Image courtesy of Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand

Economy Skycouch

Air New Zealand’s Skycouch is a row of three economy seats that can be turned into a couch after take-off, allowing for a little more extra comfort for flying families. This wonderful product was introduced in 2010. Pillows, blankets and a thin mattress are also provided. The full length of the Skycouch is 1.55 metres with the side wall arm rest up. When the cushion and leg rest are combined, its approximate depth is 74 centimetres. It’s just the right size for a bit of extra comfort.

The set-up can be used as a comfortable play area for kids or for watching movies together, then it becomes a cosy bed when they’re ready for their nap. The leg rest of each seat acts independently of one another, so you can still sit up and enjoy the inflight entertainment while the kids are enjoying some rest.

The Skycouch is available on all flights to North and South America, allowing families or couples a more comfortable inflight experience.

Qantas

Joey Club

Qantas recognises it loyal tiny travellers with the Joey Club programme for young frequent flyers.

Initiatives include a Qantas Joey Club Passport for new Australian-based Frequent Flyer members aged three to 10 years old.

Children now also have their own menus in domestic lounges, which include made-to-order sandwiches, fresh fruit and healthy snacks, and dedicated kids’ zones across the Qantas lounge network, stocked with kids’ books, toys, kid-friendly furniture and Mac computers.

Be sure to arrange inflight meals for infants (up to two years) and kids’ meals (over two years) when booking your flight.

Qantas Joey Club

Other things to look out for

Airport lounge facilities

Most airlines offer a dedicated kid-friendly area in their lounge facilities. Be sure to check the website for more information prior to your arrival at the airport. If you are a club member or travelling business or first class it is certainly worthwhile to visit the lounge area if you are entitled to access.

Inflight children’s amenity packs, children’s meals and entertainment

Although it varies between airlines, most will hand out amenity packs full of fun activities and goodies to enthral little ones. Most will contain items such as activity books, stickers, games and even small plush toys to keep kids entertained on board.

They will usually also feature special meals for infants and kids, as long as you request these when booking your flight, and inflight entertainment channels are usually jam-packed with kids’ movies, TV shows, music and games.

When planning your next flight as a family, be sure to make the most of these wonderful airline products and initiatives to assist you to a more comfortable and memorable travel experience.

Having worked in the travel industry for over 20 years - including 15 years mostly spent at 12,000 metres as an international flight attendant - Coralie's obsession with travel and curiosity about the world continues to thrive as she now embarks on exciting adventures with her family. She enjoys sharing these discoveries on her blog Family Travel Blogger, curating a resource that is insightful, useful and, most of all, inspiring.

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