Traveling is often a mixture of pleasure and pain. For families with young children, the experience can be quite trying. Several of the world’s airports have recognized the challenges of flying with children and have taken steps to make traveling through their facilities a much more enjoyable experience. Here are five airports that are particularly good destinations or layovers for both parents and kids.
O’Hare International Airport – Chicago, USA
Located in the heart of the American Midwest, flight delays due to inclement weather are commonplace at O’Hare. As any parent knows, the waiting time for a flight can tax a child’s patience even when everything is running on time. There are diverse ways to keep kids entertained at O’Hare when the wait becomes much longer than expected. The Chicago Children’s Museum has set up numerous interactive exhibits including “Children on the Fly.” It offers children the opportunity to learn about airport operations with a fantasy helicopter to refuel, cargo plane to load and unload, and a miniature air traffic control tower. There are also plenty of play areas where kids can zip down slides or play with LEGO bricks.
Heathrow International Airport – London, England
Getting to and from the Heathrow airport is made much easier by taking the train. Heathrow has direct train routes to and London that leave and arrive every 15 minutes. There are also bus and coach routes from areas outside London that go directly to the airport, saving families from the added stress of transferring their luggage and children multiple times before they can even check-in for their flights.
Once at the airport, waiting for your flight to board is made less stressful thanks to the numerous arcades and play areas for younger children. Families with very young children benefit from the many changing and feeding areas located throughout each terminal.
Kuala Lampur International Airport – Kuala Lampur, Malaysia
Kuala Lampur International is a relatively new airport that focused from the beginning on making travel more enjoyable for adults and kids alike. The airport is packed with casual restaurants and arcades. The Plaza Premium Lounge is an especially nice area to wait for a flight. Children under age 6 can enter free of charge while older kids pay a small fee that covers the entire day, should you be on an extended layover or flight delay. The lounge offers free Internet access, television, showers, nap areas and more.
Schiphol Airport – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Schiphol is one of the most relaxing airports you could ever hope to visit. The walls are adorned with original paintings by Dutch masters. The airport also features a library where you can read books in more than 25 different languages, watch films and TV shows, or listen to music. Most of these electronic amenities can be downloaded free, so you can finish what you were watching or listening to on your flight. The Kids Forest is an indoor playground with plenty of climbing equipment, slides and other ways for kids to release their energy. Mothers will love the Babycare Lounge where the cribs all have fresh linens and a comfortable changing and feeding area.
Orlando International – Orlando, USA
With Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando and Sea World, Orlando is one of the most popular destinations for families in the world. The airport is designed to keep kids comfortable and entertained. Plenty of open space, indoor trees, and aquariums adorn the concourses. The life-size sculptures of Disney characters scattered about will also keep their imaginations engaged. The seating areas are designed to make eating and relaxing much more pleasurable for families.
Many parents used to dread flying with children because of the lack of activities for the kids at check-in and during the flight. Family-friendly airports like these make it easier for you to start enjoying your vacation as soon as you get to the airport.
Photo by xpistwv. (Creative Commons)
What is your favorite (or least favorite) airport for families traveling with children? Tell us in the comments!
A Note from The Travel Mama: This post brought to you by Cheapflights.co.uk.