posted on 07/05/2012: 1187 views
Travelling long distance with kids can be stress-free – no really. That's what a new survey of international airlines found out.
The study, conducted by US News Travel, reveals that Dubai-based Emirates is right on top when it comes to travelling long-haul with little kids. And there's not one but two Gulf-based airlines that make it to the coveted Top 5 Airlines for Families, as short listed by US Travel.
As any parent with kids below 12 (or even in their teens, for that matter) will tell you, flying with children is not an exercise they enjoy. It's exhausting no doubt, but that's the least of their troubles.
Murphy's Law – whatever can go wrong, will go wrong – comes into play fairly often, and if it isn't the disobedient cabin pressure that makes your little one shriek from ear pain, it is the uninterrupted hours of being glued to one's seat that makes even the slightly grown-up go wild with frustration, not to mention the disgruntled looks from fellow passengers and airline crew that are bound to make you alter your next vacation into a ‘staycation'.
But there are indeed some airlines in the world that do care about families. According to Emily H. Bratcher of US News, "some airlines go out of their way to accommodate passengers with kids.”
US Travel lists seven carriers that are helmed by compassionate flight staffs that dole out amenities to make the whole family comfortable at cruising altitude. Here's the list:
For those of us in the UAE, this should come as no surprise. "Families come first,” says Emirates, and sticks to its promise.
While on the ground, it provides parents with free baby strollers to ferry their infants at the airport, Terminal 3, or the T3 as it is better known – exclusive hub of the Emirates in Dubai – offers special play areas for even kids flying Economy class, as well as wired games consoles and play areas for kids (and grown-ups) flying Business and First class.
In the air, bassinets and baby formula are standard, while the airline's ever friendly crew also provides toys, special kids meals and goodie bags with a smile. On long-haul flights and in Business and First class, a member of the crew will even offer to click a Polaroid picture of your happy kids on the flight, and give you a copy for keeps.
The Emirates in-flight entertainment (ICE) has a special section for kids, complete with cartoons and movies, while for kids who ‘frequent fliers', they can even start racking up miles with Emirates Skysurfer program. Young jet-setters can put their miles toward everything from future flights to Magrudy's Book Store gift certificates to Wild Wadi Water Park tickets in Dubai.
The airline also allows unaccompanied minors (between ages 5 and 12) to travel on its flights, providing separate check-in facilities on departure, with dedicated Emirates staff to accompany them to the aircraft. It's special policy for taking best care of the little ones means that unaccompanied minors and young passengers are always boarded before other passengers so that the cabin crew can seat them and stow their hand baggage. On arrival, an Emirates employee meets all unaccompanied children at the aircraft door and helps them through formalities before handing them over to their designated guardian.
The other carriers on US Travel's list are: British Airways; Lufthansa; Gulf Air, QantasVirgin (Atlantic & America) and Singapore Airlines. – Emirates 24|7
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