Airlines could do more to help parents
Airlines are not doing enough to help parents flying with young children, according to a new survey.
The poll has been conducted by Fly.com. It questioned 884 mothers in the USA.
An overwhelming 72% of them believe that airlines don’t always cater sufficiently to families travelling with children.
Recent policy changes by some airlines seem to have exacerbated their concerns. According to the poll, 51% of mothers believe it is unacceptable for airlines to ban parents from allowing young children into first class airport lounges; 30% were unhappy about airlines preventing children from sitting in certain seat rows; and 69% didn’t like airlines stopping the pre-boarding system for families with young children.
We all know that travelling with kids in tow can be stressful at the best of times. Indeed 68% of the mothers questioned rated their stress level as ‘moderate to extreme’ when flying with family. One of their main anxieties is disturbance to other passengers. For ways to help keep stress levels down, have a look at our features Tips for stress-free flying with kids and Entertaining the kids en route.
So what can airlines do to help reduce the stress? The mothers in the poll wanted airlines to provide more child-friendly amenities. The top requests were for children’s play areas at airports, dedicated family security lanes, complimentary in-flight activity packs and appropriate in-flight entertainment programming. We have some futher tips in our feature Flying with little ones – hand luggage essentials to help make the journey more enjoyable for all.
Here at FSN, some of the team flew home from Norway just last week. We were very impressed with Oslo airport. A model ‘plane’ climbing-frame certainly took the strain out of a 3-hour wait and in the Duty Free shopping area kids were handed balloons and magic trick books. The BA in-flight childrens’ goodie bags also kept the kids amused for a couple of hours on the flight. There were two types – one for toddlers with colouring, origami and games; and another for older kids with an interesting magazine, puzzles, Sudoku and a smart multi-coloured-ink biro.
Increasing numbers of parents are flying with their parents. In the Fly.com survey, many of the mothers had already flown more than 10 times with their kids – 24% with children aged 5 and under. And 64% of them intend to fly with their children again this year.
“The airline industry has a lot to gain if it can better understand the needs of mums flying with young children,” commented Warren Chang, Vice President and General Manager of Fly.com.
“Just as business travellers appreciate targeted services to improve their flight experience, so does the travelling parent.”