2023’s most family-friendly airports and airlines revealed
Traveling with children is stressful, from carrying extra luggage with pushchairs and bassinets to flight delays and unexpected changes of plan. Children can get bored and restless, and with the stresses of handling multiple boarding passes and passports, it can get downright overwhelming for parents. To avoid these hurdles on your travels, we wanted to investigate which international and US airports were the most suited to families.
The best way to ensure your journey is smooth and stress-free is to make sure you are flying with a reliable airline. We looked into on-time departure times and cancelation rates for 50 of the biggest airports worldwide. Checking cancelation rates is often the last thing on a parent’s mind, but choosing to fly from an airport with the most delays could completely ruin your vacation.
There are several other factors to consider when traveling, such as navigating the best airports for food to keep the kids happy, and planning how early you should get to the airport. You may need to consider the extra time if you’d like to leave the airport during a layover. Coincidentally, we also analyzed the number of airport amenities and restaurants, so that both children and adults are entertained.
The wonders of technology can thankfully distract your children while being delayed at the airport, that’s why using an airport with free and unlimited WiFi is something to think about. As such, we looked at each airline to discover which offered the best WiFi availability.
Our research was not just restricted to airports. We also investigated some of the biggest airlines in the world on their family-friendly factors, such as free kids’ entertainment, onboard child meals, and pre-boarding for families.
The Most Family-Friendly Airports in the World
Flying internationally can be rather daunting, but domestic flights can be just as exhausting as flying overseas. By opting for a reliable airport you can ease some of the pressures and the airport jitters.
- Mexico City Juarez International Airport
Mexico City, Mexico
Family-Friendly Score: 9.87 out of 10
Mexico City International Airport is the main international airport serving Greater Mexico City and is one of the busiest in the country, featuring on-site hotels and a vast array of shops and restaurants. This busy airport scored first place in the ranking for the best airports with a score of 9.87 out of 10.
Mexico City International Airport scored most notably for its low cancellation rates (1.30%) as well as its extensive list of things to do of which there were 74, including shops, an onsite gym, and even sleeping pods for weary mothers. The airport offers free unlimited WiFi connection and 100 dining options for travelers.
- John F. Kennedy International Airport
New York, United States
Family-Friendly Score: 9.87 out of 10
In joint first place is New York’s JFK Airport with a score of 9.87 out of 10. The airport was named in memory of the 35th President of the United States, and on average, the airport sees 1,200 departures every day.
JFK airport was constructed to reduce the volume of traffic in LaGuardia, which had higher cancellation rates than JFK. The airport had low cancelation rates of just 1.60% on its flights and boasts 108 amenities including a spa and children’s play area. Passengers can also take advantage of the airport’s free and unlimited WiFi.
- O’Hare International Airport
Illinois, United States
Family-Friendly Score: 9.74 out of 10
The O’Hare International Airport is the main airport serving Chicago and Illinois, and scored third place in the running for the most family-friendly airports. O’Hare has nine runways, the most of any international airport in the world.
The Illinois airport had the highest number of on-time departures out of all airports in the top three, with 79.5% leaving on schedule. O’Hare benefits from a variety of dining options with 68 eateries, as well as 52 other things to do including an art gallery, where you can find sculptures, murals, paintings, and more. There is also a yoga room to help stretch your legs during a long-term layover.
- Philadelphia International Airport
Pennsylvania, United States
Family-Friendly Score: 9.61 out of 10
Philadelphia International Airport, the primary airport serving the state, placed fourth in the ranking, scoring 9.61 out of 10. The Pennsylvania airport witnessed 19.6 million passengers in 2021, making it the 21st busiest airport in the US.
The airport had the highest on-time departure record in the US, with 86.5% of its flights being on-schedule in 2022. There are 41 things to do at the airport and 64 eateries, including the popular quick-bites restaurant Tony Luke’s, which offers its famous Philly cheesesteak sandwiches.
- St Paul International Airport
Minnesota, United States
Family-Friendly Score: 9.47 out of 10
Minnesota’s St Paul International Airport is the fourth US airport on our list making the cut, with a score of 9.47 out of 10. The Saint Paul airport is a joint civil-military public airport located in Fort Snelling Minnesota.
The airport fell short due to its higher rates of canceled flights (4.40%) but made up for this with the high number of amenities available, with 56 things to do. The 47 dining options include bakeries that serve tasty pastries and cakes, as well as the Hi-Lo Diner, which serves classics like burgers and shakes.
The Most Family-Friendly Airlines in the World
We also wanted to look at the most family-friendly airlines and rated the 35 biggest global airlines on eight family-related factors. The only factor offered by all airlines was the amenity of taking on a pushchair for free, while all the other amenities are scattered between the airlines, with all our top 20 airlines offering a mix and match of family-friendly amenities. Over and above our rating guide, some airlines offer free or discounted tickets to kids.
Japan Airlines was the highest scoring airline for its family friendly amenities, and scored 15 out of 18 in the ranking, scoring eight out of ten for seat comfort, but did lose a point for added lap fees for infants.
The runners-up were Korean Air and Hainan Airlines, which both scored 14 out of 18 in the ranking. The airlines had an impressive seat comfort score of 8 out of 10 and offered free checked bag allowances. The airlines provided priority boarding to families, and offered kids’ meals, entertainment, and onboard bassinets. Both airlines, unfortunately, lost a point as they did not offer free seat selection and charged lap fees for infants.
We created a list of 77 of the biggest international airports in the world from GetToCentre.com. The airports were analyzed on their family-friendly qualities, looking at their on-time departure and cancellation percentages (taken from OAG.com), whether they offered free and unlimited Wi-Fi, and how many options families have of where to eat and what to do (taken from Tripadvisor or from the airport’s website where Tripadvisor data was not available). Airports and airlines in Turkey were excluded from the ranking owing to ongoing situations within the country. This data is accurate as of 20/03/23.
We also looked at 34 of the biggest global airlines to see which airlines were the most family-friendly, looking at several factors deemed to be family-friendly. All information was sourced from the individual websites of each airline, with the following exceptions:
Please note that the rankings are just based on the information that is available online. If there was no evidence that an airline offers a service then we have deemed that they don’t.
The seat comfort ratings were retrieved from Skytrax on 20/03/23.
The Amenities we used to compare airlines were Free seat selection
(Whether or not the airline allows passengers to select their own seat on the plane, free of charge); Free checked baggage (Whether or not the airline allows passengers to check in at least one piece of checked baggage free of charge); Pre-boarding for families
(Whether or not the airline allows families with children to board the plane before general boarding, but not necessarily before first and business class passengers); No ‘lap fees’
(Whether or not the airline charges a ‘lap fee’ or ‘infant fare’ for an infant to sit on a passenger’s lap for the flight); Kids meals (Whether or not the airline offers a specific children’s meal option); Free kids entertainment (Whether or not the airline offers free in-flight entertainment that has options specifically tailored for children); On-board bassinet/carrycot (Whether or not the airline offers onboard bassinets or carrycots for babies. Note that these usually have to be pre-booked and are often only available in limited numbers); Take pushchair for free (Whether or not the airline allows pushchairs/strollers to be taken on board as a free part of your checked baggage allowance).
The family-friendly rating was calculated by adding up each score out of 18 for each airline, where each yes is equal to 1 point. For example, a score of 18 would have a yes in all eight amenities and a 10/10 comfort score.
How do you travel through the airport with kids? ›
Children 12 and under can leave their shoes, light jackets and headwear on during screening. Children will not be separated from their parent/guardian. Remove infants and children from strollers and car seats and carry them in arms through the walk-through metal detector.Is there a kids area at Atlanta airport? ›
Like Orlando, Atlanta's airport lacks a play area but does give you some chances for fun. For example, walk with your young one to see all the different exhibits rather than riding the train to your terminal. This activity is great if you have time to spare and energy to burn in your little one.Does Austin airport have kids play area? ›
If possible, take your child to the airport on a day you're not flying to show them the airline ticket counter, and how security screening works. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has a family viewing area where you can watch planes take off. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy!Does Tampa airport have a kids area? ›
Tampa International Airport has a few unique kids' play areas. The airport also offers birthday parties for local children on Saturday morning at 10:30am, including scavenger hunts in the airport terminal! Birthday parties are only for kids 6 and older.Where is the best place to sit on a plane with kids? ›
Each airline will have its rules about who can sit where, but a bulkhead seat is generally considered an excellent option for families traveling with young children. The bulkhead is at the front of the cabin and sitting in those seats usually guarantees you some extra leg room.Can kids go through TSA line with parents? ›
Travel + Leisure reports that TSA will be expanding access to TSA PreCheck to 13 to 17 year olds who have parents that are enrolled in the program. In order for the teens to accompany their parents in the expedited line, they must all be on the same reservation and have the TSA PreCheck mark on their boarding pass.What to do while waiting in the airport for kids? ›
- Luggage Scavenger Hunt. Keep it old school with a stroll around the terminal. ...
- Airport Museum Adventure. There is plenty of art around airports just waiting to be viewed. ...
- Play Cards. ...
- Plane Spotting. ...
- Word Search. ...
- Children Friendly Area. ...
- Coloring In. ...
- Family Tournament.
Hotels – see “Airport Hotels” above. Lounges – see “Airport Lounges” above. Rest Zones – There are no dedicated sleeping areas, quiet areas or rest zones.Where are the sleeping pods in Atlanta airport? ›
We're located in Concourse B near Gate B16. Please call us at (404) 762-7660 or reserve your room online to sleep at the airport.Does Phoenix airport have a kid area? ›
The Play-viation Park children's play area in Terminal 3. If you have extra time and would like to explore Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on your own, check out more information at our Self-Guided Tours page.
Is there a place to sleep in Austin airport? ›
Can you sleep in Austin-Bergstrom International Airport ? A. There are no sleeping lounges inside AUS, but there are plenty of nearby hotel options.Does Nashville airport have a kids play area? ›
BNA has three children's play areas (one in each terminal), and features an additional children's play area with an aviation-themed public art installation in the Pedestrian Plaza at Terminal Garage 1.Is St Pete airport smaller than Tampa? ›
St Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport is located 10km north of St Petersburg and serves the Tampa Bay Area in Florida. The airport is the smaller airport serving the Tampa Bay area, after Tampa International Airport.Is Tampa airport smaller than Orlando? ›
#2 – Tampa Airport is Much Smaller than Orlando Airport
Tampa airport is much smaller, more relaxed, and easier to navigate than Orlando. Orlando airport is over 13,000 acres and everything can be more difficult including moving around the airport, retrieving your luggage, renting a car, and navigating customs.
Located in Terminal 2 just beyond security, the Family Lounge at O'Hare Airport offers a designated space for kids to play.What is the hardest age to fly with a child? ›
Experienced traveling families already know this, but in most cases the hardest time to travel with a child is from when they become squirmy and mobile by about 9 months old until they hit the age of reason bargaining/cartooning/snacking at about 18 months.What time is best to fly with kids? ›
As long as your kids get a good night's sleep, morning is a great time to fly, because they'll be less tired and in a better mood. There are some instances where you'll have to book a later flight. Still, keep in mind that there are pluses to evening flights.What is the best age for children to fly? ›
The best time to fly with kids
The best times, most agree, are between three and nine months, when kids aren't yet mobile, and any time after age two or three. The idea here is to bypass the toddler phase, and, more importantly, to avoid flying with young infants. The latter is especially risky says Dr.
Typically, minors under the age of 18 do not have to present identification for domestic U.S. travel. Airlines will accept identification from the responsible adult on behalf of the minor(s). For international travel, minors under the age of 18 must present the same travel documents as the adult.Do 70 year olds have to remove shoes at airport security? ›
You may leave on your shoes and light jacket during screening. If you alarm during security screening, you may be required to remove your shoes for further screening or undergo a pat-down. You can request to be seated during this portion of the screening.
Can you bring breast milk on plane without baby? ›
You do not have to be traveling with a baby to be able to carry milk and supplies. At the beginning of the screening process, inform the TSA officer that you are carrying expressed milk or related accessories, and separate them from other liquids, gels, and aerosols that are limited to 3.4 oz.What is the first thing you do when you get to the airport? ›
Check in. Once you enter the airport, the first thing you should do is check in (if you haven't done so already online). Many airlines allow you to check in online 24 hours before your flight.How do I prepare my child for flying? ›
- Read a story about going to the airport and flying on an airplane. ...
- Talk about the process and what will happen. ...
- Role -play being on the airplane. ...
- Have your toddler help choose a couple of favourite items to pack in their carry-on and to help with packing their bag.
- Drink Liquids While In-flight.
- Pay Attention to How You Feel.
- Get Up and Move Around.
- It Will Take "X" Movies/TV Shows to Get There.
- Sleep Makes the Flight Seem Shorter.
- Pack the Kids a Special Amenity Kit.
Starting an Airbnb business in Georgia does not require obtaining any state-level licenses and permits. The only thing that's needed is to register with the Georgia Department of Revenue in order to be able to pay sales and hotel-motel (lodging) taxes.What is a silent room in airport? ›
Dedicated areas for passengers to rest, read or take a nap
If you're looking for some peace and quiet before your flight starts boarding, just walk into one of our quiet rooms. These tranquil areas offer a calm and softly-lit ambiance accompanied by comfortable recliners for you to rest, read or take a nap.
NapCabs average price ranges from 10-15 EUR per hour. Go Sleep Pods average prices range from 10-15 USD per hour. Snooze Cube single cubes range from 18-20 EUR + VAT per hour while 24-28 EUR + VAT per hour for a double cube. YotelAir capsule hotel is the most expensive than most of the sleeping pods providers.Which airlines sleep pods? ›
Air New Zealand announced it would be offering in-flight sleep pods at a cost of around 400 to 600 New Zealand dollars per four-hour session. Travelers flying from Auckland to Chicago and New York will be able to sleep in the sky from September 2024, the carrier said.How much is a sleeping pod in Atlanta Airport? ›
You can book one of Minute Suite's sleeping spaces/pods at Atlanta Airport for a minimum of one hour which will cost you $48. For every additional 15-minutes for another 2 hours, you'll be required to pay $12 – that's $48 per hour. After 2 hours, you can pay $9.5 for every 15-min increase.Are kids free on planes? ›
Infants or children under 2 years of age can travel on the lap of an adult for free (within the United States) or at a reduced fare (for international travel).
Is Phoenix airport difficult? ›
Here's everything you need to know about getting there and away. Phoenix Sky Harbor is one of the USA's busiest airports, but it also aims to be one of the friendliest. Navigation is relatively easy, given that it only has two terminals (named terminal 3 and terminal 4).What is Phoenix airport known for? ›
It is Arizona's largest and busiest airport, and among the largest commercial airports in the United States; in 2021, PHX was the 8th-busiest airport in the United States and 11th-busiest in the world.Can you shower at Austin airport? ›
Shopping – Books, newspapers, cosmetics, electronics, souvenirs, and more are available for purchase from retail shops and kiosks located throughout the airport. Showers – Not available.Is it OK to sleep in an airport? ›
Generally, sleeping in the airport is safe as long as you take normal precautions that one should expect to do when sleeping in public places. While we have never received any reports of attacks against airport sleepers, there have been a few bum fondlings. A few ipods and laptops have also gone missing!Can you nap in an airport lounge? ›
Many of the best Priority Pass lounges in the world are open 24/7, which makes catching a cat nap (or more) very easy. Keep in mind that some lounges frown upon people sleeping there, and many also have time limits on how long you can stay, so factor this into consideration when planning out your night.Does Charlotte airport have a kids play area? ›
In Terminal 2 (main Terminal 2A departure lounge post security near Gate 16), Terminal 4 (departure lounge post security near Gates 1-6) and Terminal 5 (main Terminal 5A departure lounge post security near Gate A7), the Stay & Play areas have slides, soft play areas and separate baby and junior zones to entertain ...Does Birmingham airport have a kids play area? ›
Sky Zone – Pre Flight Play
Open at all times and aimed at all ages, there are games for the youngest of our passengers through to ages 13 and upwards. The Sky Zone area in the departure lounge is located by Gate 55. The area is free to use but please make sure you supervise your children at all times.
FAMILY TIP – Most of the Nashville honky tonks allow all ages before 6pm so it's fine to bring the kids to hear some music. After 6pm, most of them are 21 and over.What is the least busy airport in Florida? ›
Palm Beach International Airport ranks as one of nation's 'least busiest' airports.Is Tampa or St Pete more expensive? ›
Petersburg vs Tampa.
You'll pay less in utilities in Tampa compared to St. Pete, but transportation costs and housing are more affordable in St. Petersburg. Both cities have very competitive real estate markets.
What's the busiest airport in Florida? ›
Miami International Airport reported a record of 50.6 million travelers in 2022, making it the busiest airport in Florida.Which Tampa airport is better? ›
The 2022 J.D. Power study examined terminal facilities, baggage claim, food, beverage, retail, and other factors.What is the closest airport to Disney World? ›
What are the nearest airports to the Walt Disney World Resort? A: Your best option is to fly into Orlando International Airport (MCO) or Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB).How does Tampa airport rank in size? ›
TPA named #1 large airport in North America by J.D. Power.Is airport lounge free for kids? ›
Infants below 2 years old may enter free of charge; children aged between 2 and 11 enjoy a 30% off adult full rates.Does Midway Airport have a kids area? ›
The Family Lanes at the security checkpoint are designated for families traveling with small children that may need extra time to get through security. It allows families, individuals unfamiliar with air travel procedures, and travelers with special needs to go through security at their own pace.How does TSA PreCheck work when traveling with kids? ›
Children 12 and under may accompany an enrolled parent or guardian in the TSA PreCheck lanes without restriction. Children 13-17 may join enrolled adults in the dedicated lanes when traveling on the same reservation and if the TSA PreCheck indicator appears on the child's boarding pass.What is the airport etiquette for children? ›
- Find your seat quickly. ...
- Wheel your rollie-bag properly. ...
- Clean up trash. ...
- Say hello to flight attendants when you board. ...
- No kicking the seat in front of you. ...
- Try to board early. ...
- Prepare kids with a great eBook: Monsters Don't Ride on Airplanes.
Children. TSA does not require children under 18 to provide identification when traveling within the United States.How early should you get to the airport with kids? ›
Plus, you'll want to get to the gate early to take advantage of priority boarding with small children. This means families with young kids should plan to arrive at the airport up to three hours before domestic flights and up to four hours before international flights.
How do airlines know how old your child is? ›
Technically, most airlines require you to show proof of age for your lap infant. This can include a birth certificate, passport or sometimes hospital or immunization records. In reality, most airlines will not ask you for that information unless your baby looks like a toddler who could be past that second birthday.Do kids need to take off shoes at TSA? ›
Our aim here is to review all the screening procedures enforced by TSA for children. If your kid is 12 or under, he or she will be permitted to walk though the metal detector with the shoes on.How much is clear family plan? ›
What is the cost of a CLEAR membership? A CLEAR membership costs $189 annually, and you can add up to three family members for $60 each per year. Additionally, all family members under 18 years old can use the CLEAR lane without a membership when traveling with their parents.Do kids automatically get TSA PreCheck? ›
Family members ages 12 and under traveling with an eligible parent or guardian with a TSA PreCheck® indicator on their boarding pass can join them in the TSA PreCheck® lanes without applying.Can you bring food through TSA? ›
Solid food items (not liquids or gels) can be transported in either your carry-on or checked bags. Liquid or gel food items larger than 3.4 oz are not allowed in carry-on bags and should be placed in your checked bags if possible.Does an airline have to sit me with my child? ›
Families, children and infants
Young children and infants who are accompanied by adults should ideally be seated in the same seat row as the adult. Where this is not possible, children should be separated by no more than one seat row from accompanying adults.
- Take advantage of early boarding. ...
- Make friends with other parents on the flight. ...
- Be prepared for a special chat with the flight attendant. ...
- Bring activities. ...
- Bring snacks. ...
- Be ready for the walk of shame. ...
- Have a "sanity seat" ...
- Be prepared for them to complain about their ears.