Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Flying with kids: all about kids' meals

This did not happen on a flight. Thankfully.
Airline food can be a real hit and miss affair, for adults and kids. Sometimes you end up with something on your tray table that is surprisingly delicious, and sometimes... not so much.

These days, you're not guaranteed a free meal even on longer flights: many airlines now charge for food. This is good in one way, since it means there will be some kind of menu to order from rather than just a choice between "chicken or pasta?". And if you're lucky, there will be something on that menu that will appeal to your kids.

When I'm traveling with my kids, it is never a sure thing that they will find something they like to eat on board, whether it's a complimentary meal or not. Like many kids, my children have some strong preferences (ie, they're picky eaters, at least in my daughter's case) and don't always take kindly to foods that look or taste even just a little bit different than what they're used to.

Add the fact that it's hard to sit and eat comfortably on board, and that the whole situation of being on an airplane can be enough to make it difficult for kids to focus on eating.

My tips:

  • Always ask if there are special kids' meals on board when booking your flight: often you do need to request those meals ahead of time. Also, some airlines that charge for food on board still serve complimentary kids' meals (Iceland Air for example).
  • Feed your kids a good meal you know they'll like just before a long flight. Chicken nuggets and fries, pasta and sauce, or even a big cup of milk and yummy muffin does the trick for my kids.
  • Bring some non-messy, sure-fire-hit snacks on board. Avoid anything chocolate covered (because that chocolate can get everywhere), or anything that is runny (it might not even make it past security!).
  • Go for simple, familiar foods on board if possible: bread, crackers, pretzels, fruit, veggies, simple sandwiches.
Different airlines have different policies when it comes to kids' meals on board. Here are links to and quotes from various airlines about kids' meals.

KLM
Children’s meals
  • Babies: on our intercontinental flights, we always have a selection of sterilized meals available for infants and toddlers to 2 years. You don't need to order these meals upfront.
  • Children: soft and easy to chew meals, easily identified foods, and healthy choices.
Lufthansa

Meals for children under 12 can be ordered free of charge in advance for all Lufthansa long-haul flights and a number of European flights up to 24 hours before departure. Please order children’s menus when you book your flight or no later than 24 hours before departure from the Lufthansa Service Center. By the way, parents can also ask for the recipes to take away and cook at home.

British Airways
We have created a tasty range of children’s meals that are both healthy and delicious. Our Kids’ Council have advised us what they enjoy eating, and we’ve developed these dishes to satisfy their sense of fun as well as their hunger.
Furthermore, because our children’s meals are nutritionally balanced, you don’t have to worry about what they eat onboard.
And our ‘Feed Kids First’ policy also means that you can make sure that your little ones are happy before enjoying your own meal in peace.

We offer on-board bottle and baby-food warming facilities on our longhaul flights - you may only bring un-opened food in a sealed jar with you.
We carry a limited number of tinned baby food products on our longhaul services, however we recommend that you carry your own baby food and equipment (liquids and sufficient supplies of sterilised bottles) in your hand baggage
We are not able to sterilise bottles or provide sterilised water.

Scandinavian Airlines
SAS offer special baby and child meals on international flights with meal service. Check flight display for meal types. Reservation must be made not later than 24 hours before flight departure.
Baby meal
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.
Child meal Child meal can only be ordered on flights departing from 09.30 LT. No time limit on intercontinental flights. Special meals can be ordered for:
  • Business, Economy Extra and Economy on intercontinental flights
  • Business and Economy Extra on European flights with more than 70 minutes of flying time
  • Exceptions
  • Special meal service is not available on domestic flights in DK, NO and SE
  • Special meal service is not available on intra-Scandinavian flights
  • Special meal service is not available within Europe in Economy class as Buy on Board concept applies When booking your tickets online, please call SAS telephone sales and arrange for the infant/child meal.

Delta
Child meals and baby meals are included on the list of special meals.

We offer complimentary meal service on most international flights six hours or more, and on select flights to Alaska and Hawaii. Special meals are also available on flights where complimentary meal service is offered.


Air Canada
The airline offers infant or baby meals as well as kids' meals, as part of their special meals.
Special meals must be ordered at least 19 hours before the first flight in your itinerary.
How to order:
  • At time of online booking: On the Who is travelling page, simply select the special meal you require from the Meal Preference drop-down menu when entering passenger information
  • If your itinerary includes a codeshare flight or a flight operated by another airline: Please note that you may not request your special meal online. Please contact Air Canada Reservations so that we may advise the other airline of your special dietary needs.
Iceland Air
Child meal:
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 (1-800-223-5500 ext. 2 ).
All children between the ages of 2 – 11 years of age receive a complimentary meal on all flights.

Japan Airlines
JAL offers two different types of baby meals, depending on your baby's age:
For babies aged up to 8 months
Pack (Spoon / bib / bottled baby food)
For babies aged 9 months or older Europe route meal (sample)
  • EntrĂ©e: Tomato-flavored fried rice and mixed vegetables in a cream sauce
  • Banana
  • Jelly
  • Bread
  • Crackers
  • * For children aged between 2 and 12.
  • * Children's meal for codeshare flights operated by partner carrier can not be reserved on web.
Please contact our JAL International Reservations for full details of child meal's availability.
From Japan to Guam (departing before 20:00) or Hawaii, the Lunch Box style meal is served. Please click here for details
Air France
On all flights of 2 ½ hours or more, children receive meals adapted to their tastes and needs. In addition, their meat or fish is pre-sliced for an easy-to-eat meal! Beginning at 9 years of age, children are served "like grown-ups". However, they may still opt for the children's menu if they wish. Remember to request the children's menu when booking your trip, purchasing your flight, or at least 24 hours before departure.
Qantas
Special child, toddler and baby meals are available. These must be requested at the time of reservation, otherwise standard meals will be supplied. Let us know your child's age when ordering. If you are travelling with a child or infant aged between 0 and 23 months who has food allergies or special dietary requirements, you must provide their meals.
A wide selection of soft drinks and fruit juices is available for children throughout the flight. Make sure your children drink regularly on longer flights to counteract the dry air on board.

All Qantas aircraft carry a limited quantity, for emergency use, of top brand baby food, milk, baby bottles and brushes, cereals and rusks. If your baby prefers a particular brand, it's a good idea to carry enough for the flight. We cannot guarantee that we will have your brand onboard. Also note that Qantas does not provide infant formula.
United Airlines
Children's meals are available for children who are 18 months or older and who occupy a seat. The meals contain soft, easy-to-chew foods and may include finger foods. Foods that may cause choking or are highly seasoned are avoided. Two-percent milk and juices are available onboard the aircraft.

Continental Airlines
Child meals are available as a "special meal":
This meal is provided for children from two to 12 years of age and includes items that are generally appealing to children. The meals planned for Continental follow the Recommended Dietary Allowances for children.

Finnair
On all intercontinental scheduled flights there are a few jars of baby food in reserve for infants under 2 years of age. An infant under 2 will receive a regular meal if the infant has a child ticket which entitles to a reserved seat. A special children's meal is available to order in Business Class and on intercontinental flight also in Economy Class. The meals in Economy Class are, however, suitable for children as well.

American Airlines

If you are traveling with an infant, please be sure to bring enough food and supplies with you. American does not provide baby food, bottles and other related items. However, baby bottles can be heated on all flights operated by American Airlines.
American Eagle and AmericanConnection flights are not equipped to heat baby bottles
Special children's meals are not available. For more information on available food and beverage choices, please see our Dining section.

Air New Zealand
Baby/infant and child meals are available as special meals.
You will need to request a special meal at least 24 hours prior to departure by advising your travel agent or Air New Zealand. Special meals can be requested at the time of booking.

Virgin Atlantic
When it comes to mealtimes we’ve come up with a menu just for our younger passengers that includes all of their favourite things like fish fingers, pizza and chocolate, so don’t forget to pre-order.

If you are flying with us soon and have your tickets to hand, you can request a child meal online now. Please note meal requests must be made at least 48 hours before travel.

Air China
Baby meals and child meals are available and have to be reserved at least 24 hours before departure.
Baby meal: This meal contains meat, vegetables or fruits. It may be pulp, minced meat, vegetable puree and dessert.
Child meal: This meal contains foods that children enjoy. It avoids food with too much salt or sugar.

Cathay Pacific
Orders for special meals should be made at least 24 hours before your scheduled flight. Please make your request via Manage My Booking or by contacting your local Cathay Pacific reservations office.
Baby Meal: One junior-strained meat or vegetable dish (savoury dish), one junior dessert and one baby juice.

Child Meal: Food items generally enjoyed by children, such as hamburgers, sausages and fish fingers, served in a specially designed meal box.

Singapore Airlines
Special baby meals and child meals are available as special meals, and have to be requested before departure:

Please place your order at least 24 hours* before the flight departure, through our reservations office or your travel agent. You can also make a Special Meal request when you purchase your tickets online through our website. If you would like to make a Special Meal request, click here to retrieve your booking details.

1 comment:

  1. I bought these purely from the reveiws here as I had never heard of them. My 6.5 month old seems to really like them and its the only thing that I let her feed herself. She makes a bit of a mess (of course) but seems to like to feed herself and does really well with them - I was concerned as I just started giving her any solids at 5.5 months. I watch her closely, of course, but she has not had any trouble with the crackers at all so far. I've tasted them and they are quite good.

    ReplyDelete

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