‘Flying Families’: Kids are getting their own airline lounges

Many airports offer playgrounds for kids to keep them entertained while waiting for their flight. For example, Singapore Changi features several children’s playgrounds and even a 4-storey slide, while Schiphol Airport has a ‘Kids Forest’. Airports have also teamed up with brands to offer ‘brand spaces’ for kids and babies. At Amsterdam Schiphol, baby food brand Nutricia runs a ‘Nutricia Babycare Lounge’, while at Paris’ Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports kids can play at the ‘Gulli area’, a playground povided by Gulli, a French children’s TV channel. Jetblue’s T5 terminal at New York JFK features a ‘Fisher Price Play Space’.

Air France
Besides these public facilities, airlines have recently began opening their own dedicated lounges for kids. Air France just launched its first lounge for unaccompanied minors at Paris-Orly airport, which the airline mainly uses for domestic and regional flights. Nearly 380,000 unaccompanied minors travel on Air France every year, and approximately 70% of them travels within France and to the French Overseas Departments. Under the watchful eye of Air France staff, children can play, rest, read or watch DVDs in the new 40 sqm lounge. Air France has also opened a summer-only 200 sqm lounge At Paris-Charles de Gaulle during the school vacation period for kids traveling alone. Airlines such as KLM (‘Junior Jet Lounge’), Lufthansa (‘Kinderlounge’) and BA (‘KidZone’), Emirates and Etihad have also been operating similar unaccompanied minors lounges for several years.

Lufthansa
Lufthansa has also just opened its first-ever ‘Jet Friends’ kids lounge at its newly refurbished Business Lounge in Frankfurt for families traveling with children. The Jet Friends lounge has a kids’ corner and playpen for younger children and drawing tables (in association with Faber-Castell), bean bags, a PC with Internet access and game consoles for older children. The lounge also sports a children’s cinema with comfortable leather benches.

Etihad
At its Abu Dhabi Business Class lounge, Etihad in June 2009 introduced a ‘family room’. Etihad nannies meet and greet families traveling with children at the lounge entrance before taking the kids to the family room, where they can play with toys, read books and watch television all under supervision of the nannies that have professional training in childcare and first aid.

Gulf Air
On a similar note ‘Sky Nannies’ are available onboard Gulf Air long-haul routes. The Sky Nanny offers help with boarding and disembarkation and keeps a watchful eye on children should parents doze off or just want to get engrossed in a book or a movie. A Sky Nanny is also present in Gulf Air’s lounge at Bahrein Airport.

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