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Family-friendly airports make a huge difference when travelling with kids. Whether you are a frequent flyer or not, you will likely find yourself in a lot of different airports, and some of them are definitely built with families in mind. Meanwhile, others leave a lot to be desired as far as facilities and keeping kids occupied between flights.
We asked many fellow travel blogger experts what their favourite airportsfor kids are around the world and why they rate them.
Flying with kids is always easier when you’ve got the facilities and services to pass the time in comfort.
There are some incredible tech advancements gracing international airports around the world, however that does not always mean they cater to kids.
What Makes a Great Family Friendly Airport
It is many of the smaller things that make airports great for families.
Things like easily finding the facilities you need. Simple check in and baggage claim processes and priority lines.
One airport I don’t love visiting with kids (or without them) is LAX. It is complete chaos at the best of times, however, the thing to do well is prioritising families, which is appreciated after a long haul flight from Australia.
Travelling With Babies & Toddlers
Depending on the ages of your children and whether you are flying with babies or older kids, the type of facilities on offer are definitely important.
At a minimum, all airports should have facilities for mothers and babies, including changing tables and private areas for breastfeeding. Having heating facilities for warming bottles and food is also a huge plus, and something every airport should offer!
Family restrooms are helpful too because there is nothing worse than trying to squeeze a stroller into the toilet cubicle. These should be located throughout the airport for convenience for mums and dads with bubs.
Travelling with Older Kids
For older kids, play areas and entertainment are the things that are going to give mum and dad a break from child wrangling for a few minutes.
Children get restless during the layover or early check-in times before flights. And the last thing you want before a super long flight is to expect them to sit still for an hour or two instead of working off some of their energy.
Most kids are content if they have a playground to entertain them. This will pretty much take up all the wait time when having long stopovers and airport downtime. Yet it’s disappointing how many airports do not offer these facilities. It’s literally the worst!
Okay, not the worst but it’s not helpful at all! Or if they do offer it, in some cases it is only in the main terminal and not convenient for all family travellers.
For tweens and teens, usually, so long as there is free wifi for the duration, they are pretty content.
Again, this isn’t the case at many airports and it can be surprising which ones do and don’t offer this simple comfort to passengers passing through the airport.
TRAVEL BLOGGERS FAVOURITE FAMILY FRIENDLY AIRPORTS
Find 18 of the best airports for kids around the world, with all the reasons why these families loved what the airport had to offer.
Seoul Incheon Airport
Seoul Incheon Airport is South Korea’s largest airport and is one of the busiest airports in the world. We recently took some flights to and from Incheon with our 1 year old and were amazed by how family friendly the airport is!
The 24-hour nursery rooms are one of the best facilities for those travelling with infants and we used them frequently during our time in Incheon.
The nursery rooms are located throughout the airport and they offer baby changing and rest areas as well as hot and cold water and a machine to warm bottles.
Incheon is a bustling and busy airport and it’s nice to have somewhere quiet to retreat to with a young traveller!
Older children can burn some energy in the airport’s Kids Zones which are designed for 3 to 8-year-olds and have soft play areas.
For longer layovers, the airport has a capsule hotel as well as airport shower rooms which are complementary to transiting passengers.
There are a lot worse places to be stranded with children than Dubai International Airport. A kids’ zone inspired by the Arabian desert offers plenty of soft play and slides.
The first stand alone Nutella café in an airport can provide a sugar rush on Concourse B, and you can pick up personalised jars as gifts. There’s ultra-fast wi-fi throughout and a Hard Rock café that teens will enjoy.
You can take a stroll through the zen gardens or relax on free recliner seats. To chill out further there’s a health club with a swimming pool, or an on-site hotel if you have a few hours in transit and want to sleep.
And if you feel like some trip planning then an interactive tourism installation can create a tailor-made two-day itinerary for this visit or next. Fancy an overnight adventure in the desert? Sorted.
Contributed by Kristie from Family Adventure Project
Kuala Lumpur Airport, Malaysia
Airports can be daunting with kids, especially with young kids, during long layover hours. Some kids find airports extremely confining after long travel and being filled with large crowds.
Some airports, however, try to make this experience more comfortable and offer many child-friendly amenities within the airport to keep kids busy and happy.
During our Malaysia trip, we were flying through the night and somehow our son didn’t sleep through the flight and was obviously very grumpy when we landed.
After clearing immigration at Kuala Lumpur airport with a small tantrum show by the baby, we were pleasantly surprised to find a small carnival play zone in the shopping area of the airport. It proved to be a lifesaver.
After spending an hour there, our son was tired enough to doze off to sleep and we had a peaceful rest of the day.
What’s it like flying with Malaysia Airlines? Read our review.
We like to fly from London Gatwick Airport because it’s close to where we live and it does a good job for families.
We often drive to the airport and find the valet parking is perfect for families.
You just drop the car when you arrive, it’s a short walk into departures and the car is ready for you when you return. It’s a bit more expensive than getting the bus, but we find the reduced stress levels totally worth it!
Once you’re into departures, there are special family lanes in security. These dedicated lanes give extra time and help to get through security.
Once you’re through security, there are some good kid-friendly restaurant options (we like Jamie’s Italian and Wagamamas) and many offer kids menus and highchairs.
You can warm baby bottles in Pret a Manger in the north and south terminals. If you’re travelling with a baby, it’s worth knowing there are baby changing facilities in the check-in area, on the way to the gates, in the transfer area and after passport control.
Kids zones in both the north and south terminals are also a great feature. The soft play section at Gatwick South Terminal close to Costa Coffee is a particular favourite with our kids.
London Heathrow Airport is massive, but they know how to cater to children. They offer family-friendly washrooms and have a great kids play area.
It is not just a little structure to play in, it is a full climbing structure and they even offer socks! While parents must stay to keep an eye on their little ones, they also have staff present.
A few things to note about Heathrow: If you are transiting through Heathrow, you will likely have to change terminals. That means that you will need to board a bus with your children.
When you arrive to your departure terminal you will also have to clear security AGAIN, and they are very strict about the 100ml allowances. Do not save any wine from your previous flight. Note that they do allow more than 100ml for babies needs.
They have a dedicated wheelchair line that they generally put families in as well. The line does move slow as strollers need to be checked and families are known for having a lot of carry-on luggage!
Do not feel rushed, take your time, and you will get to your new gate (hopefully with time to play in a play area before your next flight!)
Voted as the best airport in the world many times, Changi Airport has plenty of facilities that will keep you entertained. With over 50 baby-friendly restaurants, you’ll never run out of dining options.
There are tons of amazing art installations spread across the airports. Check out the Kinetic Rain at Terminal 1 and Petalclouds, the centrepiece of Terminal 4 that opened in 2018. You can’t miss out on the immersive 70-meter-long digital wall installation at Terminal 4.
For a plane enthusiast, take a walk to the viewing gallery at Terminal 1, it’s the perfect spot for plane spotting. If you prefer nature, take SkyTrain to Terminal 2 and visit the nature gardens.
Enjoy the beautiful koi pond, sunflowers, and butterflies, among others. My favourite is the butterfly garden which houses over 1,000 butterflies.
What excites kids more than a slide? A giant slide, maybe. You definitely can’t miss The Slide @ T3. It’s the world’s tallest slide in an airport, spanning 4 stories at 12-meters high.
Don’t forget to check out the “Art Rubbing Station” where you could create your own imprints from rubbing surfaces of icons inspired by local Singapore culture and Changi airport. It’s a good and fun activity for the kids.
Fancy watching the latest blockbuster movie? Head down to the 24/7 movie theatre. Yes, a movie theatre at the airport!
Dublin Airport is one of the easiest airports we’ve travelled into with kids. Large baby change rooms that fit the whole family and all your bags make a nappy change must less stressful.
There’s also an epic play structure at McDonald’s in Terminal 1 departures. It includes soft play for the littlies and lots of climbing so the kids will be able to expend some energy either before or after your flight (and their coffee is actually pretty good!). It’s open 24/7.
If you’re flying to the US, Dublin airport does pre-clearance which makes landing in the USA a much smoother process.
Our most recent flight from Dublin to New York saw us off the plane and waiting for a cab within 40 minutes. Bypassing customs clearance on arrival is a huge perk when travelling with tired kids.
If you’re flying into Dublin with kids, they conveniently have a baby gear rental service (called the Stork Exchange) in the airport! So you can rent strollers, car seats and travel systems before you pick up your hire car.
The Perth International departure lounge is great if you have kids. It is at the far end of the terminal and easy to spot due to the cute mural. It has a playground complete with a slide and a ride-on plane the younger kids will appreciate.
There is an interactive screen that will light up when it is touched. There are also two touch screens with computer games to keep the older kids amused.
The playground is located right next a baby-friendly toilet with all the facilities you require for both nappy and feed time, including a chair and microwave.
There is a water fountain to fill up water bottles close by to help you save money. It is located next to family-friendly eating establishments so parents can eat whilst the kids can blow off some steam before a flight.
Flying can be hard work! When you add little ones into the mix, it can become nothing short of nerve-wracking. So having family-friendly facilities can make all the difference to having a nice family trip.
The international terminal in Perth, Australia is excellent and is one of the best family-friendly airports in the world.
Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, USA
I, together with my family, live an hour close to Baltimore, MD. We fly from Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), and I think it’s one of the best family-friendly airports.
It has The Observation Gallery, which displays new aviation exhibits, and an art show for everyone to see.
A children’s play area located in that gallery has parts of a real plane that kids can explore. If you’re flying, you might be interested in seeing what planes have. BWI is the best place for that.
If you are into fitness and/or want to tire out your little kids, you can visit the Roam Fitness gym or take a walk on the cardio area trail.
Plan your visit with these fun things to do in Baltimore.
Newcastle International Airport, England
Newcastle International Airport serves the north-east of England and southern Scotland and lies under seven miles north-west of Newcastle’s city centre. That’s about 30 minutes ride on a Metro or a 20-minute drive on a clear run.
A short-stay car park stands in front of the terminal, which means it’s no hassle to drop family members by the airport’s doors.
The terminal building is compact, modern, and has good signage — helping ensure the airport easy to get around. Assistance is offered to those who need it. It will make sense to call the airport 48 hours in advance of your flight to discuss requirements.
If you need to grab snacks before going through security the Greggs fast food outlet is an inexpensive option. In addition to pastries and cakes, it sells a decent array of sandwiches.
There’s a sizable bar, a café and food outlets airside too.
There are two baby change areas on either side of security and there is a Boots store airside that sells the likes of nappies, sun cream, and medicines.
The Aspire Lounge has a play area while Namco Games offers opportunities to while away time before the flight playing arcade games.
The Mumbai CSIA is one of the best airports for kids in the world. The facilities provided, the ambience and the cleanliness inside the airport make the whole experience of departures and arrivals a memorable experience.
The JayaHe GVK New Museum inside the Mumbai CSIA (Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport) is a treasure trove of more than 5000 exhibits that showcase the rich culture, art and heritage of both ancient and contemporary India.
It is supposedly the largest airport museum in the world. The museum effortlessly forms a component of the Mumbai airport. It showcases the rich heritage, vibrancy, diversity and traditions of India through its exhibits.
It narrates the story of India to its visitors through art and colours. The museum also beautifully essays how Indians live and experience multiple eras at once through this country’s diversity and legacy.
Passengers, especially children, are sure to be enthralled by this public canvas of colours on their way to the departure gates, baggage claim area and exit gates.
What I loved about the JayaHe Museum is that it instantly uplifts the sombreness that is invariably associated with airports.
As travellers, we often spend many hours at the airport waiting for our flights or transiting from one place to another. It becomes all the more difficult with children in tow.
It would be wonderful if every airport had a mini-museum like this- showcasing local traditions, folklore, art and architecture on a public canvas reachable to all. This way, both children and adults are engaged especially during long layover times.
Travelling through Zurich airport with little ones is pure joy. Thanks to Switzerland’s famous efficiency, getting through the airport is quick and easy.
There are rarely long waiting queues which anyone travelling with young children will fully appreciate. If you do get stuck in a queue, the airport staff are super attentive and will direct you to an express lane for quick passport processing.
For families in transit, Zurich airport has two dedicated Family Services areas.
These are large, bright playrooms free to use for anyone travelling with children. The playrooms offer a happy respite for parents while providing plenty of play opportunities for small and bigger kids.
For babies, there’s a quiet sleeping and breastfeeding area, baby products and a kitchenette with a microwave.
For the bigger kids, there’s a craft corner, computer games, football table and plenty of toys to keep everyone occupied for a few hours. Parents will need to stay with their kids, but the awesome facilities ensure that even parents get to relax for a while.
Being stuck in an airport for hours is awful, especially if you have toddlers on tow. But thanks to family-friendly airports, kids can have fun at dedicated play areas and entertainment zones rather than being crabby all the time.
After an amazing family vacation at Hong Kong, we were held up at the HK International Airport for more than six hours due to flight delays. Luckily, there were enough and more kid’s play areas and TV lounges to keep them occupied.
We could spot big TV screens showing cartoons at many places inside the terminal. In fact the play-areas had some toys and games for children to use while waiting to board their flights.
The children’s space was not at all crowded, we could sit comfortably watching the kids play.
The airport facilities were top-notch for easing the long layovers. There were changing rooms, nursing rooms and plenty of baby strollers with storage space available for free usage.
Another unforgettable experience we had at Hong Kong International Airport as a family was enjoying our favourite Starbucks coffee. There is also a good choice of comfort food from famous fast-food chains.
Contributed by Nitha from The Trailing Mom
Beijing Airport, China
While flying to India with my toddler via Air China, I spent over 15 hours at the Beijing Airport.
While we spent over half our time in Beijing exploring the city’s popular attractions including the Great Wall of China, we also spent 6 hours within the airport.
Do you have a favourite family-friendly airport? Leave a comment below. We would love to hear which one! And share this post to Pinterest via the image below! Be sure to follow us on Facebook or YouTube for more travel tips like these!