Friday, March 4, 2011

Airline resources when traveling with kids

These days there are quite a lot of services available at airports and on airlines for parents traveling with their children. The increase in play areas in airports is one sign of this, and so is the increased travel information for parents available on airline websites. Here's a sample of airline resources available on the internet:

There is some good, specific information here, for example what kind of child seats can be used on board, including a list of approved brands:
If a seat has been reserved for your child, you may bring your own car/child seat aboard on the condition that it fits between the armrests of the aircraft seat (42 cm/16.5 inches). Only child seats that display no defects and that carry a visible seal of approval awarded by the European Union or an official government agency may be taken aboard.
There is also information about special meals, including meals for children and infants.

Lufthansa's website has a lot of information about travel preparation for families, and services offered on board and at some of the airports serviced by the airline.

Lufthansa's Family Service sounds like a very nice option if you're traveling with children:
The Lufthansa guides from the Lufthansa Family Service ensure a relaxed start to a holiday by helping families, who are boarding or transferring at Frankfurt or Munich, to find their way around the airport.

Parents travelling alone with children, in particular, find this a huge help. For example, the guides take them to check-in, where they explain the security regulations, accompany them to their gate and, on landing, to baggage reclaim, but also to restaurants, hotels or car rental companies.
British Airways
A lot of information is available on the website, including information about cots and seats for infants:
The infants seats supplied by British Airways are:
  • ideal for ages from 6 months to 2 years, but can also be used from birth
  • adjustable to a variety of positions from horizontal to vertical
  • available for infants who weigh no more than 13kgs (29lbs)
  • available on all longhaul flights, except in First Class on Boeing 777 aircraft, where only carrycots are available
British Airways has the usual selection of special meals, including kids' meals, and on longhaul flights food for infants can also be provided. However, they do recommend you bring your own food for your infant, and then ask the airline crew to heat it if necessary.

Scandinavian Airlines
The information provided by SAS seems a little scanty compared to that offered by many other airlines, but there is some good stuff here, especially in the section on traveling with an infant. The airline offers both special meals for children and babies:
  • Baby meals have to be ordered in advance. For infants not occupying a seat, only BBML may be ordered. BBML may only be ordered on flights and classes with meal service.
  • SAS baby meal is a standard kit containing soya semp or prosobee (contains soya), jars with mashed meat or fish and vegetables and pureed fruit.
  • Hot water is available on board to heat bottles/jars with baby food.
Delta's website has a lot of information about what child restraint systems you can use on board their airplanes.
Approved Child Restraints
All child restraints have labeling that shows whether or not the restraint meets certain safety requirements. The label has a circle surrounding the letter "e" followed by the distinguishing number granting approval, and will indicate the seat's category and mass group.
We do not permit the following types of car seats:
  • Booster seats-even if they bear labels indicating they meet U.S., UN, or foreign government standards.
  • Vest and harness-type child restraint devices other than the FAA approved CARES restraint device.
The airline also offer both special meals for children and babies on flights with complimentary meal service.

Air Canada
The airline's website offers a lot of information about their services and policies for strollers, seating, and bassinets. It's also very informative about their special services for families traveling with infants and children:
Special services
  • Formula, breast milk, juice and baby food (in small containers) are permitted in carry-on baggage. To keep these items at the desired temperature, we encourage you to bring them in a small cooler and request extra ice as needed since onboard refrigeration may not always be available on all aircraft types.
  • Infants' and children's meals are available only on International flights and in Executive Class within North America. An infant meal consists of such food as strained fruits, vegetables, meats and desserts. A children's meal is designed for children two years of age and older. Examples of the choices available are hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken fingers, sandwiches, brownies and raisins. To order an infant/child meal, please call Air Canada Reservations at least 18 hours prior to departure.
  • All of our aircraft (with the exception of our Dash 8-300 and Dash-8 100 aircraft) have diaper-changing tables located in either the front or back lavatories.
Iceland Air
This airline's website is not all that informative for parents traveling with children, but there is some information on child seats you can bring and use on board, as well as special meal service for infants and children.
It is possible to order yogurt and a banana for infants. Warm water is always available on board in order to warm up milk and baby food. An infant meal needs to be reserved in advance, at least 24 hours before departure or at the time of reservation.
There is also some information about other services for children on board:
On board there is a personal in-flight entertainment centers in most of our fleet with variety of children programmes. Furthermore children are given postcards and crayons which they can fill out and send to friends and family
The airline's on board menus are also available.

All airlines: general ticket-price policies
  • Children under 2 usually fly for a fraction of the price, as long as they don't have their own seat. You can sometimes get a cot/bassinet for them, or they travel on your lap.
  • Many airlines allow car seats on board, if they fulfill certain requirements. If your child has a car seat, you will pay pretty much full price for their ticket because they need a seat.
More airline resources
For more airline resources you can read my other posts with information about these other airlines:

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