A study conducted by Emirates found children under 12 get bored as soon as 49 minutes into their long-haul flight. On a 14-hour journey, that’s a lot of time to kill, so it’s important to choose an airline that will help keep them entertained. Here are some of the best.
Emirates has teamed up with Dr Sandi Mann, a psychologist and boredom specialist at the University of Central Lancashire to find a solution to keeping kids entertained on a plane. She has identified five areas you can blend together to give your kids the perfect experience. Passive: watching films, or listening to music. Active: walking up and down the aisles. Creative: drawing, or colouring books. Sensory: refreshments. Interactive: reading a book, or chatting. The airline makes it easier by providing soft toys, Lonely Planet kids packs, and a huge range of TV, movie and games options. To book, visit emirates.com.
Kids can join Qantas’ Joey Club and get an activity kit for the flight. You can also print out themed activity sheets available to download off their website for on-board colouring-in fun. The entertainment selection, specifically designed for younger kids, is broad. And if you’re stopping over in an airport, keep your eyes peeled for Matilda in Joey Club zones in Qantas lounges. Want to inspire your kids to really love flying? You can purchase a mini outfit of their choice for three- to eight-year-olds, including Qantas captain or cabin crew uniforms – for girls and boys – at the Qantas Shop. See qantas.com.
AIR NEW ZEALAND
While the airline provides the Jet Cadets Kids Pack and a large array of entertainment on screen, what really sets Air New Zealand apart is their Economy Skycouch. Three seats can turn into a bed, which means ample room for kids to spread out and use as a play area. After they’re all worn out, (hopefully) they can get some shut-eye! They also offer a menu for fussy eaters, and you can pre-book a bassinet. To book, visit airnewzealand.com.
Etihad is renowned for being child friendly and stress free for parents, with their flying nannies program. The assistance nannies are all trained by the world-renowned Norland College in the UK. Up their sleeves, they have an extensive range of fun items they use to interact with children, including origami, games, face-painting and magic tricks. They also take kids on a tour to see how meals are prepared. Etihad offers activity bags full of fun projects and a dedicated Just 4 Kids section. Visit etihad.com
Little future pilots need to get their hands on British Airways’ Skyflyers activity packs, which have a flying theme to keep little ones entertained during their flight. Want to send them off to sleep? There’s a range of innovative options from the airline’s educational series iMinds Jr, such as soothing bedtime stories and exclusive music mixes that help children fall asleep on long-haul flights. Young flyers can also personalise their belongings with their own Skyflyers baggage tags, available to download before the flight. See britishairways.com.