Major airlines announce new features for families

Emirates, Air New Zealand, Virgin Australia and Singapore Airlines are among the latest popular airlines to offer family-friendly features that make travelling with kids easier, safer and more enjoyable. You may just be tempted to book an overseas holiday after seeing what’s on board.

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Flying solo can be stressful. Flying with kids in tow can be crazy. The logistics involving luggage, the time zone changes and the long haul flights can leave you feeling dazed and confused before you’ve even taken off. This is why many of the airlines that fly in and out of Australia are looking into more family-friendly options in terms of entertainment and comfort.

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Emirates has been known for awhile as one of the more family-friendly airlines, especially after launching their inclusive in-flight nanny services last year. Last month they also introduced a line of new toys and travel bags for young travellers. Their Lonely Planet activity bags contain fold-out world maps, travel journals, plastic drink bottles, cards with world facts and various educational books exclusive to Emirates.

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The plush characters are designed for infants and children up to eight years old and are meant to be both  entertaining and educational. Each character represents a specific region, including Lewis the Lion from Africa and Leila the Camel from the Middle East, and will help children learn more about the habitat of each character.

Emirates have also pulled out a few more stops for families along the journey including their Magnetic Sketcher for young ones, The Cuddle Buddy soft comfort blanket, The Fly with Me Animal Tin cases with magnets, and their revamped Fly With Me magazine kids’ section.

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Air New Zealand has also recently launched a new service where parents can track children flying on their own. The Airband – a wristband embedded with a chip that is scanned at key stages of the journey – will trigger a text message to the parents so they know their child’s whereabouts. This is a world first and designed for children between the ages of five and 16.

The service will be free until 3 February and then cost $13 per child each way domestic or $38 per child each way on international trips.

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Virgin Australia has also raised the bar for family-friendly travel as they continue to roll out new features. Their latest “High Flyer Passport” provides children with a chance to collect stamps each time they fly.

Virgin Australia welcomes 900,000 children on board each year and their passport program is one of the many ways they are looking to accommodate kids. They have also recently launched an all new Virgin Australian Entertainment App which can be preloaded onto any device before a flight and has a kids and family section.

For the smallest flyers, their new A330 business class come with a bassinet that is safer, studier and seat-belt-sign-on-friendly. Essentially, instead of having to wake baby and strap them in during turbulence, the new bassinet is engineered with see-through netting so you can let baby sleep, even when the seat belt sign is turned on.

Signapore airlines

After recently sparking debate regarding banning children from business class, Singapore Airlines has confirmed that their flights are more family-friendly than ever with special meals, entertainment and toys designed for young flyers.

The airline recently partnered with Disney to help make the time fly with their range of toys, fun packs and entertainment options including Singapore Airlines’ bedtime bear, children’s takeaway bags, crayon packs, art books and key chain wallets.

Make sure you check out our top tips and favourite products when flying with kids to ensure a smooth flight, regardless of where you are going.


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