Best Family Friendly Airlines

Updated February 2020

The quick reference table below shows the Best Family Friendly Airlines – in terms of the extra facilities and amenities they provide over other airlines.  (To find out the full details of what your airline provides on board for kids, click on this link.)

I often get asked, ‘what is the best airline for babies?‘ Or ‘what are the best kid friendly airlines?‘ and the answer very much depend on what age your child is, and what is most important to you at the time. Therefore, these results cover the additional extras that airlines provide for kids of all ages. This includes more than a generous infant baggage allowance and a colouring book

Which are the Best Airlines to Fly for families? baby on a plane with toys and acitivities

Is there such a thing as a family friendly airline?

Airlines are becoming increasingly aware of how important family friendly airlines are to parents. Often, it can be the deciding factor, especially if flying long-haul.

Obviously, every family has different priorities which make the flight experience better for them, and these priorities often depend on the age of their child travelling. But in general, everyone likes a helpful airline; with resources onboard to entertain children, some sleep options and decent baggage allowances. If they allow child airplane seat extenders then even better!

Many of these airlines offer 10kg for infants checked in allowance on top of the free stroller/car seat allowance but others go even further and allow 23kg or more!

Furthermore, good meals options, extra comforts and kids’ activity packs and toys all provide welcome relief for some of the stresses parents have about flying with young children.  

Some airlines go the extra mile and provide extra in-flight entertainment, including soap making, cookie making, balloon art and magic tricks! So yes, I do think there are several contenders for the best family friendly airline.

For detailed information on exactly what individual airlines provide on board, including entertainment, activity pack contents, sky nannies, kids’ lounges, cookie making and SO much more – read this post  on Baby & Child Amenities Available On -Board Your Flight

With this in mind, here are the best of those; my top family-friendly airlines for various ages including details on the best airline to fly internationally with baby.

(Note that with regard to the meals, all these airlines provide child and baby meals on request,  but I’ve included those that go the extra mile and include toddler meals too. Also note that Air New Zealand provide a sky couch for an extra fee which is great for families who want to prioritise sleep.

Air New Zealand Sky couch B777 -photo courtesy of Air NZ
Air New Zealand Sky couch bed B777 -photo courtesy of Air NZ

You may have noticed that no US based airlines feature on the chart, but I would like to mention Jet Blue. They offer unlimited free snacks and drinks and kid TV channels too. They also allow a diaper bag as carry on.

Best Family Friendly Airlines Compared

Top Family Friendly Airlines Compared by Carrie Bradley

Qantas state there is no carry-on allowance for infants but food and nappies etc required during the flight may be carried in addition to adults cabin allowance

Extra services e.g magic shows, soap making, chalk art, cookie making only from outbound Korea flights. Services vary depending on date and destination. Baby, toddler, child food only from Incheon

** Hello Kitty operated flights only. Routes include Taipei to Paris, Houston, Singapore, Tokyo, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Bali

Does your favourite family friendly airline make this list? What makes it family friendly? Please do comment below.

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  1. This is wonderful! Sure makes me wish U.S.-based airlines offered some of this! Any idea if any of the airlines in America have perks for families? I haven't seen many, but as a Pilot Wife and mom, I would love to know which are going to make my trip the most pleasant. Thanks!

  2. Hi Katy, I'm afraid the US based airlines don't offer any of this. Bassinets are free though and American Airlines do offer a good sized one on the B777 and some B767. However, Jet Blue do also offer a great range of TV programmes and some kid snacks for free for the flight.

  3. Hi Carrie, I'm looking at booking a flight from London to Darwin (daughters daddy is Aussie I'm English) with my baby who will be 5 months at the time. Our options are either an over night flight 21.45 take off with Malaysia airline or a morning 9am flight with Singapore airlines… Which would you recommend?? This will be my first flight over with her and on my own too so I'm pretty nervous! Thanks ��

  4. Hi Charlotte,

    Snap, my hubbie is Aussie too. We can't avoid those ultra long haul 🙂
    I recently took the Malaysian airlines flight MH001 as it was a night flight and it worked really well with both my baby and then 3 year old. This time we stopped in KL for 2 days before flying onward to Melbourne with Emirates. ( We have done non stop too though with BA/Qantas.)

    I bathed and put her to bed as normal and let her sleep til the taxi arrived and then went straight to the airport. The little nap meant a) could do last minute things without a small person needing me, and b) gave her enough energy to get through being awake through check in and boarding. She slept all the way through to KL. Are you breaking up journey? I would recommend it if you can. Even if you just stay at airport hotel for a day- it will help you have some much needed rest, freshen up etc for the next sector – and give you some energy for the next sector. Always a bonus and great if flying solo.

    Singapore airlines are also great though and also good with the littlest passengers.

    • Hi Carrie,
      I will be travelling on my own with my 6 month old baby from Sydney to Paris. Would you recommend the BA flight to London or is it better to break it with a layover? If better with a layover, how long would you recommend? Do you also know if there are better airports with lounges that are baby friendly?
      I apologise for all the questions! It will be my first time travelling with my son and I find it a bit daunting!
      Thanks ?

      • Hello,

        You definitely have options airline wise because pretty much all of them well accommodate a 6 month old in a bassinet – so I would choose one that a) Has a bassinet available ( before you book online, give an airline a call an ask for a specific date, flight number if a bassinet position is currently available. You can even check on seat guru and ask if a specific seat number is available. That way you can book online with the knowledge that it is highly unlikely that that seat has gone since you have been on the phone to them ( but be aware there is that small risk) I think Qatar let you know before you book.
        b) BA are good but also look into Qatar, Etihad and Emirates etc who i think are particularly family friendly – especially if you are flying solo. I found Virgin good for flying solo too.
        c) choose flight times that suits you guys best. If flying solo with a 6 month- I think it may be better to go all the way through, rather than break the journey up- just to save the hassle of going though customs/transit etc.

  5. Hi Carrie! I will be traveling from Italy (preferrably Venice, but I could do Milan if needed) to Houston Texas in the states. I was about ready to book with Delta since that seemed to be one of the fastest and cheapest flights.. however upon further reading it appears that even if I were to only book one ticket and keep my 6 month old on my lap, I would still be charged for 2 seats with no discount. From what i’m reading Delta does not allow lap infants to fly for free or even discounted while traveling overseas. What airline would you recommend that has discounts for a lap infant? My $700 ticket is quickly turning into a $1400 ticket 🙁

    • Hi Vanessa. That doesn’t sound quite right. Here’s is the information direct from their site: the last sentence is particularly relevant for you. Hope this helps!

      Lap Infants: You may travel with one infant on your lap without purchasing a ticket, as long as the infant is under the age of two, you are at least 18 years old, you are the infant’s parent or legal guardian and you are traveling within the U.S.* If you are traveling with a newborn (less than 7 days old), you must provide a physician’s note. Call Reservations with additional questions on infant travel.
      Infant Ticket Requirements: A ticket is required for children two and older, or if you: 1) are traveling with more than one infant (and already have one on your lap); 2) are traveling between countries; or, 3) wish to earn miles.

      Children Traveling Alone: Delta’s Unaccompanied Minor Program is required for all children 5-14 years old and optional for children 15-17 years old who are traveling alone. The fee is $150 each way in addition to the ticketed adult fare. Review our “Children Traveling Alone” FAQs and call 1-800-325-8847 with questions.
      *If traveling internationally with a lap infant, the cost is usually 10% of the adult fare, plus international taxes and surcharges.

  6. Hi! My husband and I are adopting from South Africa. We live in California. We will be coming home from Johannesburg with our 2 year old son. Do you have any recommendations on flights? I am nervous about this flight most!!

    • Congratulations! What a special and exciting time for you all! I would definitely mention to the the staff when you check in on the outbound flight to collect him, as well as the flight you bring me him on. Also mention to the crew too.
      With regards to the actual flight- my post on toys and entertainment, seats etc may help you too!

  7. Hello. I think you have left out the most important criteria for family friend airline, which is of course does airline arrange seats so that a parent and a child can sit next to each other. On my own experience Qatar Airways don´t do that, they but you to sit next row than your 4 years child.

  8. Virgin Atlantic is not a family friendly airline – we did everything by the book and booked a bulkhead cot for our baby only to be told 24 hours before the flight that we don’t have one even though we were the first to put a request in. They couldn’t even guarantee for our return flights…stressed and upset is an understatement

  9. Hi there is a BBC article linking to this site. Having travelled with Singapore airlines earlier this year, there are some inaccuracies in the data (or misunderstanding from me), or the article is just probably due an update. In terms of Singapore – we were offered child headsets on 3 of 4 planes (we weren’t on the first and didn’t know to ask). Whether it counts as extra entertainment or not – but we were given a weird Disney plush toy and a range of colouring in, trip diary type notebooks on various flights. No sky nanny that I am aware of. However, Changi airport has free strollers for use in the airport air side by all travellers, which were really useful for stopovers. Hope that helps.

    • Hi Chris, thank you – yes you are completely right about the child headsets and a Singapore post is on its way. They also provide post weaning meals too, another first I believe! I do need to update about the strollers and headsets and will do this in the next few days, so thank you for highlighting that- as I do like to keep this site as up to date and current as possible. I only just found about the BBC, but a very pleasant surprise! Thanks again for letting me know!

      • Thanks for the response. Not a regular traveller, so hadn’t realised post weaning meals were not the norm for airlines – but I can add that they were very good quality. Staff were really great with children (4 year old and 9 months) too.

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