Any parent knows that travelling with children can be quite daunting and at times quite stressful. Gone are the days of heading off to the airport, having a celebratory pre-holiday glass of champagne in the airport bar, a brief mooch around Duty Free before treating yourself to a new fragrance and then a flight of watching the latest film release or getting lost in a glossy magazine. Instead you have to plan your trip to the airport and your flight with military procession and then from my experience spend the entire flight walking your one year old up and down the aisles in what can only be described as the ‘worlds most annoying game for parents, passengers and cabin crew.’
But we endure this ordeal as a means to an end- to get to our destination and to make memories and have adventures. And travelling with kids can actually be quite a fun experience. Honest. Here at Space in your Case we have decided to give a little run down of our experience of travelling with some of the major airlines in the hope that it will help you prepare for your next trip away.
First up is KLM.
I went to KLM on a short haul flight in November 2014 on a short haul flight from Norwich airport to Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. Albeit a very quick flight, it is still worth nothing the facilities and other points I found positive and negative about KLM.
On the Ground.
Check in at Norwich airport was quick and efficient, I think in part due to us being one of the only flights due out at that time, it is a tiny airport. We were travelling with quite a bulky buggy and a buggy board and we were able to take it right up to the gate, only collapsing it as we went through the final gate. Staff were really helpful and showed us where to put it so that we would be able to get it at the gate on our arrival in Amsterdam. Space permitting they also allow you to take it on board, but as we were travelling on one of their small City Hopper planes this wasn’t an option for us which we weren’t worried about anyway. On arrival at Schipol airport as promised our buggy was there waiting for us.
In the Air.
Even though it was a short flight, our children aged three and one were given an activity pack with some crayons and paper which we thought was a lovely touch and it certainly did keep them entertained on the flight. The stewardess who was assigned to our section was really efficient and explained that due to certain requirements in regards to the oxygen masks children were only allowed on the left hand side of the plane, therefore it meant my youngest who is classed as an infant (under two and therefore doesn’t get her own seat) was sitting with me when she normally sits with my husband. She spent extra time showing me how to fit her seatbelt as I hadn’t done it before. She was very sweet and kind with the girls.
Even though the flight was only 35 minutes we got a snack and a carton of water which was incredibly good we thought. Being KLM, a Dutch airline, the snack on the way there was a good sized Stroopwafel. I joked that my children loved them and it was a nice surprise with the stewardess coming back and saying as the flight wasn’t full she had a few spare- she gave us 4 extra packets which we put in our bag for snacks over the course of our stay. Little touches like that as a parent really make an experience for me. On the way back the snack was crackers, again something which they enjoyed. It is also worth noting that they gave my one year old a snack and drink, even though technically as an infant ticket holder she wasn’t entitled to one.
There was no in flight entertainment, which you would expect being such a short flight but the activity packs were a nice touch and was just enough to keep them entertained. Overall we thought the flight was very efficient and even though I would have thought previously of the City Hopper service being mostly catered to business, it actually was very child friendly. The seats were comfy and the staff all friendly and professional. We had the same stewardess on the flight home three days later and we thought she was particularly good with our children.
We were really impressed with the KLM service, having never flown them before we thought it was efficient and professional- and especially in regards to children. The little extras such as the snacks and the activity packs were nice touches, so I can only imagine that they offer that and more on their longer haul flights. We thought the staff were friendly and relaxed, going the extra mile to chat and interact with our daughters, and as a parent we appreciate things like that. On the flight home I originally was on a standby ticket (meaning that there was the possibility that the flight was overbooked so I wasn’t initially assigned a seat- this is quite normal with airlines) but in the end there was space but we weren’t seated together. We waited until the rest of the flight had boarded and then one of the stewardesses asked two lone passengers whether they would be kind enough to move so we could sit as a family- they did and so it was nice that we were able to all sit together- again we thought this was great customer service and another little way of going beyond the extra mile.
Image courtesy of the KLM website.