The issue of travelling with children in first class is a tricky one. First and business class passengers have often spent money on seats to avoid being sat near children. Hearing the sighs of other passengers as you take your seat with a toddler isn’t a great start to your family adventure and choosing the correct airline becomes paramount.
Debates can get heated around the idea of young children being allowed in the premium classes. Malaysia Airlines have proclaimed ˜kid-free zones” in its swankiest of cabins. Thai Airways have an adults-only upper deck and Air Asia have a ‘kid free’ section towards the front of their planes. There is definitely a culture amongst some airlines who frown upon the idea of children being anywhere near the elite cabins.
Airlines that encourage younger travellers
On the flip side, more and more carriers are strategically marketing themselves towards children travelling in first class. Traditionally, premium class cabins were designed for solo travellers and businesspeople that don’t lend themselves to family travel. And whilst sitting beyond the reach of your children in your own pod might sound like heaven, the reality is somewhat different.
Our top 5 family friendly airlines for business & first class
Several planes have been fitted with Qatar’s revolutionary Q-Suite business class seats. Groups of seats can be configured by moving adjustable walls and screens to become a private suite for a family of four travelling together. This level of privacy is currently unrivalled by other airlines and is the main reason we have given Qatar the number one spot. Onboard, babies have their own TV channel and receive an essentials kit complete with nappies, wipes, bottle, cuddly toy. If you’re transferring through Doha, make sure you check out Qatar Airway’s Business Lounge. Private family areas, complete with nursery and a games room for teens make it an ideal place to keep the entire family occupied
A quallified Flying Nanny onboard whose sole responsibility is to entertain young flyers will ensure you enjoy some respite from the demands of your children. Flying Nannies carry a bag of tricks that Mary Poppins would be proud of: face paints, finger puppets, origami, arts & crafts to name a few. Etihad also have front and rear facing seats, with some clustered closer together for families who value their privacy. On board, a ˜dine-on-demand” service allows mealtimes to work with your family’s schedule.
Named the top airline by Skytrax, even babies can expect a VIP treatment on board. The menu is split into four categories for younger family members and caters for babies, post-weening 1-2 year olds, toddlers and school age children. Travelling in first and business class with children is helped enormously by the divider that lowers into a double bed, creating your own mini-suite.
Emirates has more business class seats than any other airline and are a great choice for larger, multi-generation families who want to travel together. On-board activities have been described as a “birthday party in the sky”. Goodie bags, rainbow cake and stuffed animals mean you can kick start your family holiday in style. With complimentary buggies at Dubai Airport and video games in the lounge they are really pushing the family friendly element.
New kid-zones are planned for Gatwick & Heathrow and a permanent dedicated check-in for families means you can expect great customer service from the get-go. Whilst we appreciate BA business class is overdue an upgrade, the 2-3-2 figure and the 2-4-2 layouts that other passengers find too close lends itself well to families travelling together. Once on-board families can expect a delicious range of food and a ‘kids eat first’ policy.
Book seats early
A top-tip when travelling business class with your children is to book your flights as early as possible. One of our super-powers is knowing what seats lend themselves best to families travelling in first and business class. The earlier you book, the more choice we will have to secure the perfect seats for the start of your family adventure.
Choosing the right airline carrier for your family can make a real difference to your flying experience. Please get in touch if you’d like any further advice, we’d be more than happy to help