How family friendly facilities can make airport waits a hell of a lot easier
A guest post by Emily Taylor
I’ve probably been in transportation terminals rife with the cries of restless kids more times than I can count. Not that I don’t have a soft spot for children, because I do; but that doesn’t make the constant barrages of their whines and wails any less annoying.
Which is why it’s great to learn that many major airports the world over are now integrating child-friendly facilities to their overall services. In the US, Chicago’s O’Hare International has a reputation for being one of the busiest airports in the country. With that many flyers coming in and out of its terminals, things could no doubt get too loud – or even downright frightening – for kids. Thankfully, the airport has a special play area designed to keep them preoccupied as they wait for their flights. O’Hare has a playground called Kids on the Fly that features interactive exhibits showcasing many facets of how airplanes work given in a fun and informative manner. I remember how I was easily marveled by these kinds of easy-to-digest information when I was younger; and I have no doubt kids nowadays get a kick out of them just as much as I used to.
Heading over to the UK, London’s flagship Heathrow Airport is undergoing a lot of major renovations, most notably an expansion of Terminal 2 – soon to be called the Queen’s Terminal upon completion – as detailed in a report by airport parking service site Parking4less. Along with the expected larger floor space to accommodate more people, Terminal 2 will also open a John Lewis outlet – allegedly the smallest yet of the department store chain brand. As per John Lewis’ usual wares, this outlet will include items for kids and toddlers. Just as well, the nearby Terminal 3 also houses the Jetterz Kids Club Lounge, which should keep the children preoccupied with books, toys, and video games.
Asia’s airports have also gotten in on the act, with Hong Kong International’s play area being one of the best in the world. The SkyPlaza at Terminal 2 has a section called the Aviation Discovery Center which has various fun activities for kids and adults alike, including motion rides, games that teach about the finer points of aviation, and even flight simulators. SkyPlaza also has the 4D Extreme Screen Cinema, a 300-seater movie theatre which features the largest 3D projection screen in the whole continent. Finally, the entertainment facility is also home to iSports, an area for sports enthusiasts whose simulators for basketball, football, skiing, and more should be more than enough to accommodate the young ones’ seemingly never-ending supply of energy.
For me, a complete flight experience is one that includes services designed to entertain people even as they wait in between flights. This is especially necessary for families who may have a hard time keeping their kids well-behaved for too long. Given that, to have these services cater not just to adults but to children as well is definitely something that every airport should consider.
Emily Taylor was inspired to be a backpacker by her dad’s amusing travel stories from India. At present, she’s having the time of her life experiencing Oriental cultures. She spends most of her time abroad checking out airports, having rural roadtrips and trying an unusual amount of street food, all while avoiding mosquito bites. Once her glory days as a travel nut is over or when her dollars run out (whichever comes first), she plans to build her own family. But she’d honestly love to keep right on traveling – even with little kids in tow.