Traveling BC (Before Children) was all about the destination – sites to see, things to do, different cultures and experiences etc…. It’s just one of the small indicators of how much your life changes, when you find your holiday destination or travel routes dictated by the length of time spent on an airplane!
Traveling with infants and small children becomes all about the journey and seasoned family travellers will have encyclopaedic knowledge on the best routes to take, which airlines to fly with and which airports to transit through… anything that will make the journey easier. If, as a parent, you know that a certain airport has a great play area/onsite hotel/decent family services, you will most certainly take it into consideration when planning a stop-over on a long haul trip.
Thankfully airlines and airports have all realised this and there has been much work on improving family services in recent years. Even our own Ryanair and Aer Lingus have both revamped their offering to the family traveller, with seat selection and luggage allowances for equipment recently added. The 2015 aviation industry global awards (Routes) voted Dublin airport into the top 100 airports, ranked 81st, and Tourism Ireland should be commended for their win in Best Destination Marketing (yip-yip, well done!)… There wasn’t a Best Family Service category (yet), so The Stork Exchange decided to run its own airports and airlines awards for ‘Best Airport’ and ‘Best Airline’ in terms or Family Services. As always, please feel free to comment and share your own experiences.
Best Airlines for Family Services!
And the award for Best Airline goes to (drumroll)…. Emirates! For anyone traveling to or from Australia or the Middle East, consider flying with Emirates. They are streets ahead in terms of family services. They offer priority boarding to families, complimentary strollers at Dubai Airport, complimentary entertainment packs such as colouring books and crayons on board. Some flights even have in-flight nannies to help parents (pure genius). They officially came number 5 on the World’s Best Airlines List with Qatar Airways at number 1.
Runner Up Airline goes to the Canadian airline West Jet.. their “Christmas Miracle” Video on You Tube will honestly make you cry!
Best Airport for Family Services!
Best Airport Award goes to Copenhagen.. wonderful, wonderful Copenhagen. Not the biggest airport or the best (it’s ranked 16th in the Top 100 by Routes) but Stork Exchange customers (all parents traveling with children!) rave about it. Many deliberately chose it as a transit hub because it’s not too big (similar in passenger numbers to Dublin), they provide ‘family lanes’ through security, strollers available airside so you either don’t have to bring yours or you can check yours in, well designed play areas (only to be expected from the great Danes), great food and shopping and concierge services available.
Runner Up Airport, goes to Hong Kong. I’ve never been, but by all accounts Hong Kong airport is something else! Aside from all the services mentioned above they have recently opened a “Dream Come True Education Park”, an Imax Cinema, an Aviation Discovery Centre (with flight simulators) and Green Air golf simulator. I have a feeling the last two are aimed at the big kids though!
Travelling with the kids and need advice? Get in touch with us.