Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 24, 2021
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Does your airline like kids?

An airline for families might be the only way travelling moms, dads and kids will get any, (read the following in an Aretha Franklin kind of way), “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” in the future. Gone is the red carpet rolled out for parents with tykes, particularly on American carriers flying domestic. Early boarding? No guarantee. Seats together? Not necessarily. Milk for your crying child? No way, José. Thankfully, foreign carriers are a little more courteous. Here’s a quick rundown on what families with kids flying internationally can expect.

Air Canada

To get the reduced “child fare” for kids two to 11, flights must be booked via telephone through AC Reservations. Kid meals are available on international flights only: chicken fingers, hamburgers, brownies and the ever-popular raisins. Order at least 18 hours in advance.

Air France

Discounts of up to 33 percent are offered on some long-haul flights for kids two to 11. Kids get meals on all flights two and a half hours or more (request at least 24 hours in advance) and “their meat or fish is pre-sliced.” Colouring books and crayons are often offered.

Air Transat

Say hello to family check-in counters at some Canadian gateways. On flights from Canada and Florida, kids two to 11 get an activity book at check-in, featuring the airline’s mascot, Airnest. On flights from Canada to the South and Europe to Canada, kids get a surprise bag filled with games. The airline’s Kids Club (free to register with past or future booking and flight info), gets Canuck kids a welcome kit and membership card (in the mail), headphones, priority bag retrieval, a surprise when travelling on their birthday and entry into their annual trip-for-four Walt Disney and Paris contests.

British Airways

Choosing your seats costs $40, but if you don’t, BA will allocate ones to you three days before your departure. If large families can’t be seated together, each child will be seated with one adult. On the plus side, Skyflyer activity packs (game book, playing cards) are available for kids 12 and under on flights over three hours long.

Cathay Pacific

Junior VIPs — or kids aged three to six — get a fun pack with activity books and games, and kids’ meals are served with colourful cutlery.


Families boarding or transferring in Frankfurt or Munich can hire a guide ($75 for a family of five) from their Family Service to help with check-in and navigating the airport. They’re available in more than 50 languages. Meals for kids under 12 must be ordered at least 24 hours before for all long-haul flights. Chef Sarah Wiener tries to keep things healthy substituting sugar, for instance, with alternatives like honey. If parents like what they see, they can ask for the recipe. Colouring books, crayons, cards and memory games are often offered.

West Jet

There are no discounts for children (or students, seniors or military personnel, for that matter) and their website makes no mention of kid meals or special services.

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


Showing 1 comments

  1. On December 18, 2011, Andrew Henderson said:
    Gone are the days when.......flying from Cape Town to Frankfurt with young children on Lufthansa in 1977. The 747 was half full.. We were asked by the flight attendant to let her know if we wanted a break .She was happy to entertain the children. They certainly provided a childrens' game pack and children' meals. British Airways provided a certificate to children crossing the Equator for the first time and membership in the Junior Jet Club!

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