Flying long-haul as a family can be a challenge, but these airlines are doing all they can to help, writes Jane Jurgens.
1 Air New Zealand
Our national carrier has done a lot to accommodate children in recent years. The Economy Skycouch feature turns a row of three seats into a bed, allowing an adult and a child, or two children, to lie down side by side. The Skycouch has a "Cuddle Belt" to keep everyone safe while sleeping, and the airline earlier this year launched an infant harness and belt, allowing very young children to remain lying down throughout the flight (previously they had to be seated on a guardian's lap when the seat belt sign was on). And when they're travelling unaccompanied, Air New Zealand provides an "Airband" for kids to wear — kind of like a digital tracking device, which updates parents throughout their child's journey.
Young flyers get special attention on Emirates flights, with tasty meals, plenty of entertainment and a great goody bag of toys. The airline teamed up with Lonely Planet Kids to create its kids' packs. which are designed to inspire older children to explore more of the world. Within a retro-styled travel bag or lunch cooler, they'll find educational books, an eye mask, creative craft projects and a travel journal to record their memorable moments. Emirates also offers a range of cute "Fly With Me Animals", cuddly toys that can be used as a bag or attached to a stroller. Cabin crew take polaroid photos of your kids that they get to keep as a souvenir — you can pose as a family, or get a shot taken with the crew.
3 British Airways
If your kids tend to get a little "hangry" when in-flight meals are being served, British Airways is the airline for you. Its "Feed Kids First" policy means little travellers will be served earlier, so you can enjoy your own meal in peace. The meals are all nutritionally balanced, so you don't need to worry about what they eat on board. The airline also provides "Skyflyer" activity packs aimed at different age groups — and it's packed in a swimming bag that they can use later.