The most child-friendly airlines 2023 + top 10 tips for a stress-free flight

The summer holidays are just around the corner. Families will be preparing for their long-awaited summer break with their children. In fact, Google searches for ‘child-friendly airlines’ have increased by +1,400% over the past 12 months!

But what regulations do airlines have in place regarding taking a pram on board or a free seat for children?

Leading life insurance broker, Reassured have analysed 24 airlines departing from UK airports to compare what they’re offering to travelling parents and their kids.Whilst our summer holidays are meant to be blissfully relaxing, they can end up being a stressful time. Therefore, we have also included our 10 top tips for making flying more relaxed for families with children.

British Airways, Qatar Airways and Emirates are among the top child-friendly airlines.

Let’s look at the detail…

The below table showcases how different airlines compare against one another in terms of child-friendliness:

Child-friendly airlines

Taking the top spots is British Airways, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Qantas as they each offer the most advantages for children.

Out of each airline analysed, all 24 allow for a pushchair to be taken on board for free. However, 18 airlines charge extra for a child’s seat and among those are Etihad Airlines, Lufthansa and Jet2.

Most of the airlines offer kids’ entertainment such as appropriate movies or colouring pens and paper. However, parents flying with Flybe, Jet2 or Ryan Air are in for a disappointment, as no entertainment is offered for the little ones. Instead, Ryanair and Jet2 make some points up by offering free kids’ meals.

In light of the findings, we spoke to childcare expert, Kathryn Lord and David Doughty, CEO at Admiral Jet, and together they have correlated a list of top tips to prepare your children for a flight.

How to prepare your children for a flight

  1. Age-appropriate books can help children get an understanding of what to expect. You can also use a map to show the route you’re taking, and they can ask all those burning questions while the excitement sets in.
  2. Showing children photos of the destination and explaining how hot or cold it is will help them to take part in choosing what to pack.  This way they can take on some independence by packing appropriate clothes as well as pick out some games they might want to play on holiday.
  3. If you have any anxieties about planes, try not to let your child notice this.
  4. Especially during the holiday season long queues and a lot of new noises can be expected when getting to the airport. Explaining to children a little about what to expect can be a great help for a smooth and stress-free check-in and security check.
  5. Ensure to carry extra nappies, wipes and change of nappies as necessary. You’ll also be able to bring enough milk and formula as these items are exempt from the 100ml rule.
  6. Wear or pack comfy clothes for your child to sleep in if the flight is a long haul. Taking the toothbrush to do their teeth and changing into PJs can help signal that it is time to go to sleep – a good way to pass the flight time!
  7. Providing a comfy seat or a small flatbed can help settle your child. Some prams have a removable seat but ensure to check with the airlines if accepted.
  8. Bring picture or painting books to keep the little one busy. Paperback books are lightweight and offer hours of fun! If old enough, you can start playing little games like tic-tac-toe.
  9. With only a few things to do, screen time can be a good way to keep the little ones distracted. You can download their favourite films or shows before the trip and make sure you charge the battery before the flight. Bring comfy earphones for them so other passengers won’t be bothered by the sound.
  10. Fill up their water bottles before getting on the plane and bring some of their favourite snacks in case the hunger kicks in between meals. Raisins, a packet of crisps or some wine gummies are often available in smaller packages and won’t take up much room.

So there we have it, the top child-friendly airlines in 2023. We hope the findings and the top 10 travel tips help you to enjoy the summer holiday that you have worked hard all year for and fully deserve.

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