Asian Airlines Soar as Most Family-Friendly: A Comprehensive Guide to Family Travel in 2023

Asian Airlines Soar as Most Family-Friendly: A Comprehensive Guide to Family Travel in 2023

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.

Family-Friendly Features

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

  1. Mexico City Juarez International — Mexico
  2. John F. Kennedy International Airport — U.S.
  3. O’Hare International Airport — U.S.
  4. Philadelphia International Airport — U.S.
  5. Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport — U.S.
  6. Frankfurt am Main International Airport — Germany
  7. Toronto Pearson International Airport — Canada
  8. Soekarno-Hatta International Airport — Indonesia
  9. El Dorado International Airport — Colombia
  10. Singapore Changi Airport — Singapore
  11. 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

RankAirlinesSeat ComfortFree Seat SelectionFamily Pre-boardingTotal
1Japan Airlines8YesYes15
2Korean Air8NoYes14
2Hainan Airlines8NoYes14
4China Southern Airlines7YesNo13
4Singapore Airlines6YesYes13
7China Eastern Airlines6YesNo12
7EVA Air7NoYes12
7Hawaiian Airlines6NoYes12
10ANA All Nippon Airways5NoYes11

Source: The Family Vacation GuideGet the dataCreated with Datawrapper

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