Thompson Airways

UK leisure carrier Thomson lets kids ‘check-in’ their teddy bear

By Raymond Kollau,

UK leisure carrier Thomson Airways, which carries over five million passengers a year to more than 80 holiday destinations across the globe, last month launched a novel front-desk process that allows young holidaymakers to ‘check in’ their teddy bear before they get onto the plane. Teddies can be registered prior to flying and receive a special boarding pass, which can be exchanged for a VIB – ‘Very Important Buddy’ – tag at the gate.

The idea is to help ensure that children take extra care and do not misplace their favourite companions amid the flurry and noise of a busy airport. Gatwick Airport’s lost-property department receives up to 30 lost stuffed animals every month and each loss leads to shed tears. As the Daily Mail nicely puts it: “It can be one of the most upsetting issues affecting a junior traveller – that moment of carelessness or distraction that sees a teddy bear left lying on an airport seat, or lost by a baggage carousel, spinning around in sorry silence amid the last remaining suitcases.”

For Thomson the main objective of the ‘teddy bear check-in’ is for children to pay closer attention to their toys when flying. Says Carl Gissing, Director Customer Service at the airline: “As a family-friendly tour operator, we like to make a fuss of children travelling on our holidays, both in resort and on their flight,” . “We know that kids will love checking their toys in and taking home the VIB tag as a souvenir.”
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