Sarah Bryden-Brown looks at the familyfriendly options available from leading airlines
AIR TAHITI NUI
Junior fares: Infants who do not require a seat, 10 per cent of full adult fare; from two to 11 years old, 75 per cent of the accompanying adult’s fare, plus taxes and surcharges. Preflight and boarding: Families with babies and young children board first. Junior luggage allowance: One piece luggage (up to 10kg) and a folding stroller for infants; children two and older, adult allowance of two pieces up to 23kg each. Junior entertainment: Personal video screens in every seat; a range of movies and interactive games. As with all airlines featured, movies are reviewed and modified, if required, to suit a broad audience. Junior meals: Babies’ and children’s meals must be booked 72 hours before departure. Junior packs: Basic in-flight packs. Babies on board: Baby packs supplied, including nappies, wipes and moisturiser. (Drinks and food carried on board are subject to security restrictions affecting liquids and gels, and only small quantities are permitted. Milk and juices are freely available.) Juniors flying solo: Unaccompanied five to 11-year-olds only. Forms must be signed by the person designated to meet at destination.
AIR NEW ZEALAND
Junior fares: Infants who do not require a seat, 10 per cent of full adult fare; from two to 11 years old, 75 per cent of the accompanying adult’s fare plus taxes and surcharges. Preflight and boarding: Seat requests available (but not guaranteed) when booking. Like most airlines, Air New Zealand will seat families together if possible and pays special attention to families travelling with children. Junior luggage allowance: Two pieces of luggage up to 23kg a piece for each child (same as adults). Infants are entitled to the same, including car seats and strollers, but not to allowances linked to accompanying passengers’ frequent flyer tier status. Junior entertainment: A dedicated zone within the on-demand entertainment system offers G-rated blockbuster movies, classic favourites, television shows, games, music and audio. While children can access the general entertainment options, there is a parental lock option (standard on most airlines). Junior meals: Extensive menu includes mini prime beef hamburger and chunky chips, or grilled chicken breast with vegetables, and dessert. Request junior meals when booking. Junior packs: The airline has revamped its children’s packs, creating three cute new characters based on native New Zealand species. Two versions on offer, for ages three to six and seven to 12. Babies on board: On long-haul US services, parents can bring their own food or request a meal when booking; cabin crew can prepare, heat and wash bottles but there are no sterilising facilities on board; baby-care kits available on long-haul flights: wipes, lotion, bib and teddy bear. Juniors flying solo: Children under five must be accompanied by a person 15 years or older. Contact the airline for details of the cost of a company escort. If children aged five to 11 fly as unaccompanied minors, an additional supervision fee applies.
Junior fares: Infants, 10 per cent of adult fare or free if travelling within Britain. Child fares (ages two to 11), 75 per cent of adult fare. Preflight and boarding: When booking, advise BA if travelling with children so you can be seated as a family. Parents and children have priority boarding and disembarking. Junior luggage allowance: For infants, one bag up to 23kg plus collapsible pram or stroller. A parent can also carry a standardsized bag for baby in addition to their allowance. For children two and older, one 23kg bag. Junior entertainment: BA offers Disney and Cartoon Network channels, plus family blockbuster movies. Junior meals: Must be booked in advance; BA guarantees at least five portions of fruit or vegetables in every junior meal. Bring your own baby formula and food, which can be prepared and heated on board. The airline has a feed families first policy. Junior packs: Children aged three to five receive a backpack; those six to 12 receive a shoulder pack. These contain age-appropriate games and activities. Babies on board: Parents can request specially designed travel cot or a BA infant seat, the latter designed by Britax, the UK’s leading manufacturer of children’s car seats. There is no charge, but book early. BA allows small prams to be pushed to the aircraft door. There are on-board bottle and baby-food warming facilities (only for unopened food in a sealed jar) but BA doesn’t carry infant meals or baby milk, nor can it sterilise bottles or provide sterilised water. Juniors flying solo: Skyflyers Solo is available for five to 17-year-olds on single-sector flights, and for six to 17-year-olds on multi-sectors. Solo five to 12-year-olds are charged child’s fare plus supervision fee.
CATHAY PACIFIC AIRWAYS
Junior fares: Infants who do not require a seat, 10 per cent of the full adult fare. From two to 11 years, 75 per cent of the accompanying adult’s fare plus taxes and surcharges. Preflight and boarding: Parents with young children board first. Junior luggage allowance: 10kg (maximum two bags) for infants; double amount for juniors and adults. Parents can also board with a forward-facing infant car safety seat or bassinet and collapsible pram (if cabin stowage is available). Junior entertainment: In-seat videos show Disney movies and games. Junior meals: Prebook meals for infant (0-10 months), junior (10 months and over) or a child. Baby food available. Junior packs: Baby and junior packs include games, activity books and stationery. Babies on board: Fold-down tables for nappy changes. Juniors flying solo: A surcharge applies to the Young Person Travelling Alone scheme for six to 12-year-olds.
www.cathaypacific.com Junior fares: Infants, 10 per cent of an adult fare; two to 12 years, 50 per cent. Preflight and boarding: Seats with a bassinet can be prebooked; families with young children board first. Complimentary Pierre Cardin baby stroller service at Dubai in specially marked cupboards throughout the airport. Junior luggage allowance: For infants, one bag, 10kg. For children, two bags, 20kg a bag (same as adults). Junior entertainment: Personal TV screen with children’s comedy, cartoons, movies, music and games, plus colourful junior-sized headsets. A mid-flight birthday cake and celebratory photo can be booked, too. Junior meals: Must be booked for children two to 12 years old. Vegetarian options available; baby food on offer but it’s recommended to bring your own (milk and meals can be heated by cabin crew). Junior packs: Two new packs of first-class quality featuring a supersoft toy with dressups, activity magazine and gifts. Babies on board: Baby and toddler kit with wet wipes, cream, bib, teething ring and tissue pack. Baby food, formula, feeding bottles and nappies available. Juniors flying solo: Adult fare covers children five to 12 flying solo under the care of staff and crew. Must book ahead.
Junior fares: Infants who do not require a seat, 10 per cent of full adult fare. Children two to 11 years, 75 per cent of the accompanying adult’s fare, plus taxes and surcharges. For flights between Hawaiian islands or Honolulu and the US mainland, children pay adult fares; infants free. Preflight and boarding: children board first. Junior luggage allowance: No separate allowance. Collapsible strollers can be checked at boarding gate; nappy bags are carried at no charge. Same allowance for children and adults: two bags of 32kg each for international flights or 23kg for US domestic. Junior entertainment: Hire personal dig-Eplayers for $US15 ($17.50) for on-demand movies and children’s programs. Junior meals: Special options not provided. Junior packs: Bring your own entertainment. Babies on board: Book a bassinet. Juniors flying solo: Under-15s not permitted solo on international flights.
Junior fares: No fixed-rate fare for two to 12-year-olds. Preflight and boarding JAL Family Service offers a meet-and-greet service and there are JAL Family Service Lounges at Narita and Kansai (Osaka) airports. Families with children board first. Junior luggage allowance: For infants, 10kg, plus a fully collapsible stroller or pram or bassinet or car seat. For children over two, adult allowance of 20kg applies. Junior entertainment: MAGIC operates on personal video screens showing movies, Disney Channel and Spot the Dog and Bob the Builder video storybooks. Junior meals: Healthy children’s meals can be pre-booked. Junior packs: Entertainment depending on the route. Babies on board: Bassinets must be booked.
vary JAL Baby Cruise kits include baby food, aeroplane spoon, bib and straw. Limited supplies of other essentials. Juniors flying solo: Adult fare charged for five to 12-year-olds.
Junior fares: Infants free. Child fares not available. Preflight and boarding: Families can preselect their seats and orange-coloured family boarding passes are issued for early boarding. Junior luggage allowance: 20kg for all passengers. Prams at no extra charge. Junior entertainment: Hire on-demand portable entertainment units for $10 prepaid, or $12 on board. Junior meals: Pre-purchase a Feed Me Package, which includes a main meal, snack and drink ($25). Or bring your own food and drink, providing it adheres to new requirements regarding liquids and gels. Junior packs: Cost $7 and include colouringin book, puzzle and soft toy. Babies on board: Pre-booked bassinets on international flights to and from Australia (not trans-Tasman). Baby gear such as prams and portable cots checked in free of charge. Cabin crew can heat feeding bottles. Baby food and formula can be brought on board if it conforms to new rules regarding the carriage of liquids and gels. Baby change tables available. Juniors flying solo: All children must travel with a person 15 years or older.
Junior fares: Infants are 10 per cent of the applicable adult fare. Qantas offers special air fares for children on certain less restrictive fare types, but conditions apply. Preflight and boarding: Seats cannot be preallocated. Families are seated together if possible. Junior luggage allowance: Routes to and from the US, US territories, Tahiti, South America and Canada, via the Pacific: two bags, each weighing up to 32kg. All other international flights allow 20kg per child. Infants: 10kg of luggage for international flights. Adults can check in one collapsible stroller or a carry basket or bassinet and infant food and nappies. Junior entertainment: On demand, in-seat screens show six family movies, Disney programs, Wiggles and Bananas in Pyjamas . Junior meals: Need to be booked ahead. Baby and infant formula not available. Children served first. Junior packs: Wiggles-themed for three to six-year-olds and Penguin Puffin for seven to 11-year-olds. Babies on board: Baby food, milk, bottles and brushes, cereals and rusks available for emergency use. Cabin crew will prepare, heat and wash bottles or dummies on request. Book bassinet at time of reservation (age limit is eight months; weight, 11kg). Juniors flying solo: Under-sixes must be accompanied by a person over 15 years who is an immediate family member or who has written permission from the solo flyer’s parent or guardian.
Junior fares: Infants who do not require a seat are charged 10 per cent of the full adult fare. Children two to 11 years old: 75 per cent of accompanying adult’s fare, plus taxes. Preflight and boarding: Families board first. Junior luggage allowance: Infants, 10kg; plus collapsible stroller or carry cot. Children, 20kg (same as adults for all flights except to and from US and Canada: two bags, each up to 32kg). Junior entertainment: Just For Kids channel with movies and cartoons. Nintendo, GameBoy and video games can be played against other passengers. An audio channel has children’s CDs and sound tracks. Junior meals: Four types of infant and child meals: baby meals, post-weaning and children’s. Book ahead. Children’s meals usually served first. Junior packs: An exclusive Dora the Explorer pack for 12-year-olds and younger, including a watch and monkey slippers (except on Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route). Babies on board: Baby meals; bassinets for up to 14kg. Book ahead. Juniors flying solo: Requires forms for five to 17-year-olds to be cared for by ground staff and cabin crew from check-in to arrival.
Junior fares: Infants who do not require a seat, 10 per cent of the full adult fare. Children two to 11 years, 75 per cent of the accompanying adult’s fare, plus taxes and surcharges. Preflight and boarding: Families with underfives board first. Junior luggage allowance: Baby bag or carry basket at no charge. Children the same as adults: two bags, 23kg each. Infants, one 23kg bag, plus collapsible stroller or pram. Junior entertainment: XMKIDS channel shows family movies, Disney, the Wiggles and Sponge Bob Squarepants . Junior meals: Book baby and children’s meals; milk and juice available on board. Junior packs: Not offered. Babies on board: Book bassinets for babies up to six months. Juniors flying solo: Five to 11-year-olds charged a fee, under-fives not accepted. Only eight to 11-year-olds allowed solo for flights requiring a connection.
Junior fares: Infants, 10 per cent of adult fare; two to 12-year-olds, 75 per cent of adult fare. Preflight and boarding: Seats allocated at time of booking. Or check in online, up to 24 hours before departure, go straight to bagdrop counter at airport and bypass check-in lines. Junior luggage allowance: Infants, one 10kg bag plus stroller, bassinet or car seat. Children, two bags, 23kg each (the same as adults). Junior entertainment: V.Tots for preschoolers, V.KiD for five to 11-year-olds and V.T for teens. V:Port has games to play against other passengers. Junior meals: Book ahead. Junior packs: Ki-D pack includes fiction by award-winning British children’s author Gillian Cross. Babies on board: Book bassinets; nappies, baby food and milk available. Juniors flying solo: A so-called Auntie — a registered child minder, nurse or carer — available to travel with five to 15-year-olds at cost of applicable adult fare.
www.virgin-atlantic.com.au Information is based on international economy-class travel, unless otherwise stated. All airlines consider infants to be up to two years old and children from two to 11 years old. Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines declined to provide information.
All this and the Wiggles, too: Clockwise from bottom left; fun in the air on Cathay Pacific; Qantas’s child activity pack; at play on Singapore Airlines; a young traveller receives an Emirates’ activity pack; entertainment on Qantas, centre