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Best Airlines for Family Travel

Search and Book Flights with Family Friendly Airlines

We recognise the significance of choosing an airline that is best for your family's needs when travelling. That's why we have included a list of airlines with several factors including the cost of infant travel, baby baggage allowance, equipment provided by the airline and inflight entertainment to ensure your booking with the right airline.

A family going through airport security together

Why choose a family friendly airline?

By offering lie-flat seating in economy, special infant seats, engaging play areas, and organic kid-friendly meals, these airlines prioritize making air travel smoother and less stressful for families. Travelling with children can often be a nerve-wracking experience. However, certain airlines alleviate this stress by extending special comforts and conveniences to families. For families seeking a seamless in-flight journey, we've compiled a list of airlines that provide brilliant services and amenities for travellers with children.

family at the airport

Airlines that go above and beyond to accommodate families

1. British Airways

British Airways provides an infant fare for infants travelling on a lap and a child's fare for kids occupying their seats. However, the airline's website lacks specific details regarding the discount offered. British Airways offer special infant seats with five-point harnesses for babies up to 12.5 kg (27.5 lbs) and 11 kg (24.25 lbs), respectively. This accommodates most babies up to the 24-month mark, so parents can travel relatively comfortably without having to purchase an extra seat.

The staff are super friendly and depending on if you are flying long-haul or the class you are sitting in then they may give our complimentary alcohol to the parents on board. For example, In World Traveller you can enjoy a starter, main and dessert, with a choice of hot, cold and alcoholic drinks.

Children's meals can be arranged in advance, and tinned baby food is accessible on extended flights. Remarkably, the British Airways Executive Club Household Account enables individuals and children within the same household to combine their rewards points, which can be redeemed later for upgrades.

family departing plane

2. American Airlines

As the largest airline in the USA based on scheduled passengers, it’s good to know that flying American with kids is relatively easy. American Airlines allows lap infants to fly at no charge. Children two years and older must have their own seats and are ticketed at the adult fare. Since it’s a terrible thought to be separated from your kids while flying, American Airlines makes sure that your kids won’t be alone, even if you don’t pay to select seats.

The system will automatically allocate seats together the day before departure, and if the whole family can’t sit together, they guarantee each kid will be seated next to at least one adult. Just ensure you’re all on the same reservation! This ensures that passengers under 15 years old are seated next to at least one adult from their travelling party. Bassinets are provided on a first-come, first-served basis on select aircraft, excluding the first or business-class cabins.

family travelling

3. Virgin Atlantic

For those with fussy eaters Virgin Atlantic has a solution. Their menu includes a variety of familiar dishes that are sure to tickle their tastebuds. It's designed for children who are aged from 2 to 12 years old and have their own seat. Kids meals aren't always vegetarian, so if they're veggie they should go for the adult vegetarian option rather than a kids meal. If you don't order one before you fly it's ok, they'll be able to choose from the delicious options available onboard.

They have a range of soft drinks, including juices, fizzy drinks, and hot drinks. Or for the adults choose your favourite tipple from our alcoholic drinks, from red, white and rose wine to spirits like Bombay Sapphire and Jack Daniels bourbon. 

They provide an inflight entertainment system onboard your flight. Here you'll find a designated Kids section to keep your kids entertained with movies, TV, audio and games suitable for kids. If there is content that isn't suitable for your little travellers, they've included a parental block as part of the inflight entertainment system. For help with setting this up, just speak to a member of the cabin crew on board. 

A toddler keeping entertained on a flight

4. Delta

Being renowned as the most comfortable and dependable airline in the US, Delta stands out as another excellent option for families on the go. Delta offers a comprehensive entertainment system to keep children entertained, and implements a lap seat policy for children aged 2 and under, with discounts available for kids requiring their seats depending on the destination.

Delta have spacious and comfortable seats which is great for when the kids want to sit on your lap or kick their feet up and watch the screen. It also ensures parents have space and better access to the bags above.

Additionally, Delta provides snacks and meals perfect for children, ensuring an enjoyable journey for the whole family. The carrier’s website states that it “strives to seat family members together upon request.”

The economy cabin of an Emirates a380

5. Emirates

Emirates permits infants under two years old to travel either on an adult passenger's lap or in a bassinet at a discounted fare. Children aged two to 11 years old must have their seats but are eligible for a discounted fare, the details of which are not specified on the airline's website. The airline provides complimentary strollers for use at the airport, conveniently located near their check-in desks at Dubai International Airport. Families also enjoy priority boarding, and passengers are allowed to bring both a pushchair and a carrycot for free.

Onboard amenities for babies include milk formula and bottles, as well as Ella’s Kitchen organic baby food. For kids, there are special meal options to accommodate dietary restrictions. The airline also has kids' specific in-flight entertainment options. Lots of toys in the form of Lewis the Lion, Peek U Panda, Ernie the Penguin and Savannah the Elephant are also on board to keep your little ones company, and the airline provides travel-themed activity kits in collaboration with Lonely Planet.

Emirates also has the option to shower on board which would be perfect for parents wanting to relax whilst on the plane. They also have a bar and a peaceful spa on board their A380 planes.

family baggage

6. Southwest

As a low-cost carrier, Southwest Airlines is another great option for family travel. Along with extensive domestic route options, Southwest offers service to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada for reasonable prices. You get what you need with Southwest, like in-flight entertainment, free stroller and car seat check-in, lap seats for children under 2, and a generous pre-boarding option for families. The carrier allows for two free checked bags up to 50 lbs each.

For travellers who can score a Southwest Companion Pass by accruing enough points, the cost of travel can significantly decrease because the second passenger is free of charge. Southwest has kid-friendly snacks available on flights over 175 miles, which include options kids will enjoy. Longer flights, like those from Hawaii to the mainland, offer even more snack selection. Passengers are also encouraged to use child restraints when their child has their ticket.

Kids at the airport

7. Air Canada

Air Canada earns its spot on the list by not only offering reduced fares and onboard amenities but also by providing dedicated family check-in areas at selected airports. Lap infants under the age of two years fly free on domestic flights, and only the ticket taxes apply for flights between Canada and the United States. However, you cannot bring a carrycot or stroller for free. On international flights, infant tickets are priced at 10% of the adult fare.

Children over two years old are ticketed at the adult fare for domestic flights or flights between Canada and the United States. Children aged between two and 12 years fly at a reduced child's fare on international flights excluding those within the United States. Bassinets are available and assigned by advance request on a first-come, first-served basis on certain aircraft. Air Canada does not charge a fee for seating adults and children under 14 years of age together. Children also receive a special luggage tag and activity books for the journey.

family sitting on plane

8. Qantas

Qantas is on the list for its innovative services catering to children. Within Australia, the Australian carrier allows lap infants to fly free, while on international routes they are ticketed at 10% of the adult fare. Bassinets are available on specific aircraft and can be requested at check-in. Selected lounges in Australia feature zones equipped with kids' furniture and meals, offering an immersive experience.

Children can also engage in dress-up with mini cabin crew outfits. Qantas' "Joey Club" themed characters are featured on kids' kits, which include an aircraft window-shaped etch-a-sketch and an activity booklet.

onboard Alaska Airlines aircraft

9. Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines meets all the criteria to secure a top spot on our list of the best airlines for children. All food options are available for purchase and can be pre-ordered to ensure availability. Children will be thrilled with the Kid's Choice Picnic Pack, featuring favourites such as turkey, white cheddar puffs, applesauce, and a granola bar. Additionally, the gummy bears are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Children under 13 are guaranteed to be seated with one adult, and it’s no problem to check in your stroller. Families with kids under the age of 2 can take advantage of pre-boarding, and you can all board together using the highest boarding group, even if everyone isn’t seated in the same section.

Alaska Airlines provides a satisfactory in-flight entertainment system; however, the catch is that passengers must bring their own devices. Their streaming service offers over 800 options for TV shows and movies, ensuring both kids and parents stay entertained throughout the flight.

jetblue plane departing

10. JetBlue

JetBlue, renowned for its spacious seats and ranking high on our list of the most comfortable airlines in America, presents another excellent (and budget-friendly) choice for family travel. Similar to Southwest, JetBlue primarily concentrates on domestic journeys but also offers routes to Latin America, the Caribbean, and Europe.

The airline will do its best to seat families together as long as they are all on the same booking. The system will now automatically seat children 13 and under with an accompanying adult as soon as you book, provided there is availability.

JetBlue offers in-flight entertainment tailored to children's preferences, featuring numerous cartoons and even live TV on all flights. There are no additional fees for checking in a stroller or car seat, and passengers can utilize a booster seat or car seat if their child has their seat. If you plan to use a child restraint during your flight, be sure to select a window seat, as these restraints cannot be used between two occupied seats.

Ready to book flights and travel with your family?

Taking your family on holiday gives you a lot to think about- Visit our page on 'Family Flights' for information and tips on being organised!

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What are the best airlines for families in the US?

Based on our findings, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines emerge as the top choices for families. Both airlines provide family seating, in-flight entertainment, child-friendly meals or snacks, pre-boarding options, and complimentary stroller or car seat check-in. Travelling with kids becomes effortless when you choose either of these airlines.

What are the best discount airlines for families in the US?

Southwest Airlines and JetBlue Airways stand out as the most family-friendly low-cost carriers in the US. They provide many of the perks offered by international giants such as American Airlines and Delta while striving to maintain affordability. Additionally, Frontier Airlines deserves an honourable mention.

As the most economical airline in the US for 2023, it offers great value for budget-conscious families. Frontier also provides additional advantages, including promotions where kids fly free and the ability to pool points within families.

Which airlines charge families to sit together?

Allegiant Airlines: Allegiant says "While we will do our best to accommodate families, the availability of seats together cannot be guaranteed."

JetBlue Airline: JetBlue does not allow seat selection for its standard Blue Basic fares, but you can pay between $5 and $40 extra to select seats, according to The Points Guy. There's no guarantee that kids will sit with their parents.

Spirit Airlines: This discount air carrier says nothing about family seating in its contract of carriage, and unlike most other airlines, it doesn't have a dedicated webpage about travelling with children. Picking seats beforehand incurs a fee that starts at $5 and which most travel sites peg at $12 to $40.

What are the best family travel destinations?

Organising a family vacation can feel overwhelming, particularly when seeking a destination that is in everyone's interest and keeps them entertained. This list of best international family vacations includes something for everyone. For information on the best family travel destinations visit our blog.