In the dynamic world of air travel, where family needs are as diverse as the destinations themselves, a recent study by The Family Vacation Guide has unveiled the top family-friendly airlines for 2023. Surprisingly, the majority of these airlines hail from the bustling continent of Asia, showcasing a commitment to passenger comfort and family-centric services.
The Top 11 Family-Friendly Airlines
Eight out of the top 11 family-friendly airlines in the world are based in Asia, according to the extensive evaluation by The Family Vacation Guide. The study considered eight crucial factors, including seat comfort, free seat selection, and pre-boarding for families, accumulating to a maximum of 18 points.
1. Japan Airlines
Japan Airlines soared to the top of the list, securing an impressive 15 out of 18 points. However, it lost one point for charging extra for infants riding on laps, commonly known as “lap fees.”
2. Korean Air and Hainan Airlines (China)
Tying for second place, Korean Air and Hainan Airlines both scored 14 out of 18 points. Notably, neither airline provides free seat selection, and both charge infant lap fees.
3. Singapore Airlines, Qantas, and China Southern Airlines
Singapore Airlines, a perennial favorite, tied for fourth place with Qantas and China Southern Airlines. Despite Singapore Airlines’ top ranking in the Skytrax World Airline Awards, it lost points for seat comfort and infant lap fees.
All of the top 11 airlines prioritize family needs, providing kids’ meals and free kids’ entertainment. They also allow strollers to be checked for free. Most airlines have on-board bassinets, and all but Hawaiian Airlines offer free checked baggage. However, lap fees are prevalent, with only Hawaiian Airlines and Lufthansa being exceptions.
The rankings are based on publicly available information as of February 2023, offering a comprehensive snapshot of the family-friendliness of these airlines.
Why Asia Dominates Family-Friendly Air Travel
According to Praowpan Tansitpong, an assistant professor at Nida Business School, the dominance of Asian airlines in the family-friendly list can be attributed to a difference in business priorities. Over the past two decades, Asian airlines have invested more in improving amenities to attract passengers, while Western airlines have focused more on revenue management.
Tansitpong highlights that cultural differences play a significant role. Asian nations, she explains, are strongly family-oriented, valuing intimate family ties, mutual aid, and respect for elders. This cultural emphasis on family contributes to the prioritization of family-centric services by Asian airlines.
Family-Friendly Airports Worldwide
Beyond airlines, The Family Vacation Guide also conducted an analysis of family-friendly airports, considering factors such as on-time departure, cancellation percentages, free unlimited Wi-Fi, and the availability of dining options and activities.
Top 10 Family-Friendly Airports
- Mexico City Juarez International — Mexico
- John F. Kennedy International Airport — U.S.
- O’Hare International Airport — U.S.
- Philadelphia International Airport — U.S.
- Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport — U.S.
- Frankfurt am Main International Airport — Germany
- Toronto Pearson International Airport — Canada
- Soekarno-Hatta International Airport — Indonesia
- El Dorado International Airport — Colombia
- Singapore Changi Airport — Singapore
- Fukuoka Airport — Japan
Tying for First Place
Mexico City Juarez International and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport tied for first place, both scoring 9.87 out of 10.
Least Family-Friendly Airport
South Korea’s Gimpo International Airport ranked the least family-friendly due to a lack of entertainment, restaurants, and free Wi-Fi.
Airport vs. Airline Discrepancy
Tansitpong notes a potential difference in goals between airports and airlines, with airports focusing more on aircraft and ground services’ safety than family-focused services. The research, she suggests, may not fully capture airports’ ability to meet the needs of family travelers through facilities like playgrounds, family restrooms, and children’s menus.
In conclusion, the family-friendly landscape in air travel is evolving, with Asian airlines leading the charge in prioritizing family needs. As travelers seek seamless and enjoyable experiences, these rankings provide valuable insights into the airlines and airports that excel in catering to families’ unique requirements. Whether jetting off to exotic destinations or exploring closer to home, families can now make more informed decisions to ensure their air travel is as family-friendly as possible.
The 11 most family-friendly airlines
|Rank||Airlines||Seat Comfort||Free Seat Selection||Family Pre-boarding||Total|
|4||China Southern Airlines||7||Yes||No||13|
|7||China Eastern Airlines||6||Yes||No||12|
|10||ANA All Nippon Airways||5||No||Yes||11|