Thursday, July 23, 2009

Travel Tips: Favorite Airlines for Traveling With Toddlers

Favorite Airline for Kids

I grew up traveling. When your dad works for an airlines, that is just what you do. The world (or at least the part of it that is on the airlines route map) became our class room. Every vacation had at least one educational trip to it. I never wondered what airlines I would was always Ozark, then TWA (after Ozark was bought out), and finally American.

As an adult, I still love traveling. When I started buying my own tickets, I still always looked for American deals. Perhaps it was loyalty, or maybe it was because I had acquired so many American frequent flyer miles, but I really did like American Airlines.

As I have morphed into this new phase of my life, I have learned traveling with a toddler can be challenging. The service you get from the Airline makes a huge difference in how enjoyable flying is for not only you, but also the people around you.

Since Baby Boy was born, we have flown on 4 major airlines: American (using up those flyer miles), Delta/Northwest, United, and Southwest.

  • American put me in a seat next to another woman traveling with a lap child. This could have been dangerous, if one baby had become fussy, and the other decided to chime in. Our flight was not direct, and we had a long delay at the Dallas International Airport. I had to pay for my checked bag. The flight crew was friendly, and accommodated my requests for juice and water before take off. One flight attendant even offered to hold Baby Boy while I got situated.
  • Delta and Northwest charged for each bag I checked. I had 3 bags and we paid for each one ($125). Their luggage fees are similar to American's. The flight crew was not as friendly as the American crew; however, they were still friendly (and generous with handing out snacks). We were offered a few options for snacks (cookies and nuts). And the flight crew came around asking if we wanted more. I stocked up on the cookies for when Baby Boy got hungry.
  • United also charged for each bag we checked. The flight was on time. The flight crew was the least friendly of all of the airlines. They were actually a little snobby (IMHO). To tell us to turn off electronics, one of them tried to make a joke about his son's birthday, and said people that left their electronics on would be donating to his birthday present. He was trying to be funny, but really was not funny. We didn't get any snacks (our flight left at 5 pm).United is my least favorite airline for traveling with kids.
  • Southwest is, by far, my favorite airline to fly when traveling with Baby Boy. We don't have pay for luggage. They voluntarily tell us to take our car seat through security in case there is an extra seat available. The flight crew proactively asked us if we needed anything for Baby Boy before takeoff. They let us know which bathroom had a changing table. AND...they were funny! People that work at Southwest enjoy their jobs, and it shows. We have flown Southwest twice, and it is always the airline of choice for us.

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