Best Airlines for Family Travel

kids-airplanes-heathrow

Photo courtesy of Heathrow Airport

If you’re planning a family vacation, you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to make things easier for you and your kids. Especially when it comes to booking your airline tickets. Which are the best airlines for family travel? Which airlines will make the experience the most pleasant and hassle-free? Which will give priority to families and provide entertainment for the kids?

I asked five frequent travelers this: In your opinion, which are the best airlines for family travel? Why? Here’s what they had to say:

By far our best family flying experiences have been on Southwest. Affordable fares, decent leg room for my 6’7″ husband, two free checked bags, family priority pre-boarding for those flying with children aged six and younger, they will allow you to bring your car seat on board for your lap infant if a flight is not full (gate check it otherwise), and–above all–very friendly and helpful flight crews. Since we always bring all of our kids’ in-flight food and entertainment anyway, the lack of on-board amenities is not an issue for us. Corinne McDermott, Have Baby Will Travel

Even though we’re loyal to United for upgrade reasons, we’ve been the most impressed recently with Lufthansa. They’ve given our kids backpacks with activities toys and they bring around a kid-oriented snack tray. Our last flight with them, heading to Africa, two of our kids weren’t doing well – bad reactions to last-minute vaccinations. The flight attendants proactively brought the kids cool rags, which they then replaced every 20 minutes, and they came around even more frequently just to see if there was anything else they could do. Excellent, excellent service. Eric Stoen, Travel Babbo

As a West Coast girl, my go-to airline for domestic travel is Alaska Airlines. From the Alaska Beyond in-flight entertainment, to Disney coloring books and kid-friendly snack packs, our family always feels at home on our hometown airline. With a family of four, the price of airfare can add up quick, so we also have Alaska Airlines credit cards and get a companion fare ticket and we use those with award miles to save on longer flights to Hawaii and Costa Rica. Anne Taylor Hartzell, Hip Travel Mama

Best airline for family travel? Either Southwest or Delta. Both because they have great flight attendants. I prefer to have a seat assignment but it’s nice that Southwest allows families to board with Group B, regardless of when they checked in. Also, to make air travel with kids saner, stick to flights between normal business hours (9am-6pm) when kids are happiest; earlier or later and you’re asking for crabby kids that will melt down. Kendra Berke Thornton, Royal Travel

We’ve traveled on several airlines, but I think it all comes down to loyalty. The airline that’ll show you the best family travel experience is the one you’ve got the most status with, because that’s where you get complimentary perks like early boarding (and snagging the best overhead bin space) and securing the best seats (including the ones with better leg room at no cost).  I’m 1K with United, and recently earned One Million Miler status with them, and being able to check up to three bags for free (something I’d only do if my wife and kids are coming along) is a big bonus. Gabe Saglie, Travelzoo

What are your favorite airlines for family travel? Leave a comment below!

Natalie DiScala

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About the Author

Natalie DiScala
Natalie DiScala is a travel writer and digital content creator. She and Johnny Jet have traveled to over 65 countries (and counting!) together. When she's not traveling, her passions are books and baking!

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