Lastminute.com have researched and ranked popular airlines to reveal which are the most family-friendly.

  • Etihad Airways came out on top overall scoring well in both short-haul and long-haul route rankings
  • Air Canada, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways were top-scorers across the board and battled it out for the top spot in all three rankings– long-haul, short/ mid-haul and the overalls.

The online travel agent researched the amenities and extra offerings available for families onboard 36 airlines for both long and short/ mid-haul flights, to reveal which are the most family-friendly.

The top 10 overall airlines for families

The criteria used included priority boarding, baggage allowances, onboard entertainment options, seat comfort, food, average delays and onboard WiFi. This was then weighted overall to create an overall family-friendly score.

Combining each airline’s short/ mid and long-haul scores reveals the following top 10:

  1. Etihad Airlines
  2. Air Canada
  3. Qatar Airlines
  4. United Airlines
  5. Aer Lingus
  6. TAP Air Portugal
  7. American Airlines
  8. British Airways
  9. Oman Air
  10. Turkish Airlines

Etihad Airlines, Air Canada and Qatar Airlines battled it out in the top three for both the long and short/ mid-haul rankings. These airlines offered the most family-friendly amenities including in-flight TV, child-friendly food and comfy seating.

The number one airline Etihad Airlines was also one of just two short/ mid-haul airlines to offer onboard WiFi. They also came out on top for seat comfort providing the most legroom and the widest seats– perfect for travelling with a baby-in-tow.

What is most important when travelling as a family?

Part of the research saw the travel brand take to social media to ask family travellers directly what makes the biggest difference on a flight.

This revealed reliability to be the most important aspect to family travel taking 46% of Facebook votes and 59% of Twitter votes. Comfort came in a close second gaining 33% and 41% of votes for both channels respectively.

But when this vote was taken to Instagram, comfort won with 63% of voters.

Family travel blogger @MrsShilts voted reliability as the most important factor “I’d say reliability (and flexibility) as with kids you need to know you’re going to get where you need to be at a reasonable time.”

The airlines with the shortest delays

Picking a reliable airline means that you’re less likely to be hit with a delay. Research shows the airlines with the shortest delays to be Alitalia (2 minutes), Aer Lingus (3 minutes) or easyJet (5 minutes) if your flight is long-haul or the former two alongside easyJet (average 5 minutes) for a short-mid haul flight.

The average delay across all airlines came in at just 12 minutes. While this delay is minimal, there were a total of 18 airlines found to have an average delay longer than this– with the longest found to be 95 minutes long.

Reigo Eljas, Country Director for UK at lastminute.com says “When travelling with your family, there is that extra bit of research we recommend you do before booking – can I take my foldable pushchair and/or car seat onboard for free? Will the airline keep my child entertained with kids TV, films and games? These are commonly asked questions by many parents when planning their holiday flights.”

“We decided to carry out this research to shed some light on airlines that are providing the best service and entertainment for families with children, so you can feel comfortable in making your family holiday plans in 2020.”

If you’re thinking about taking your family on holiday this year, check out the full list of the most family-friendly flights on lastminute.com to make sure you’re booking with an accommodating airline.

Best Airlines for families


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