We can attest to plenty of flights with kids. From May 2012 - May 2013 we took 19 flights with our kids. Love this list from Annabelle and having only done 3 of these airports, I cannot wait to try the rest.
To most people, traveling the world is a romantic choice that signifies freedom, wanderlust, and an adventurous spirit. However, when you add small children into that “traveling the world” equation, a sense of romance can easily careen into one of chaos, exhaustion, and stress.
While traveling with little ones may seem like a personal hell to the individual who’s never done it, when you’re well-prepared — and everyone’s well-rested — it can actually be fun, especially if you choose to fly through one of these kid-friendly airports.
Detroit finds itself in the news aplenty, and not always for the best of reasons, but when it comes to the city’s international airport, good news abounds — especially for travelers with small children. With multiple play areas — one of which features a soft-sculpted playground, a Henry Ford store, and a Motown store, there is plenty to see and do over the course of a few hours. When it comes to finding healthy food and snacks, the gourmet peanut butter and jelly sandwich shop will make sure everyone is happy and well-fed before you all get back on a plane.
Singapore Changi (SIN)
Also one of the most beautiful airports in the world, Singapore’s international airport is actually a joy for parents and children to travel through. Smaller children can enjoy any of the three playgrounds, while older kids can spend their time in the MTV-sponsored TV and movie theater that also features a 3-story slide, in addition to Xboxes, Play Stations, and more. Head to the Family Zone for quiet areas for feeding or changing diapers, and if you exhaust all these options and still need more to keep your wee ones occupied, head to one of the five beautiful gardens scattered throughout the airport, where you can all feed fish at the koi pond.
Amsterdam Schiphol (AMS)
It can be difficult for any traveler to find a quiet, calm space in a busy airport, but for parents with young children, doing so can sometimes seem like a matter of life and death. Whether you need a serene space to feed your baby, or you need a soothing environment in order to calm down an erratic toddler, Amsterdam Schipohl has conveniently placed a Babycare Lounge between Lounge 2 and Lounge 3. With seven bed cabins that have cribs and comfortable seating, this rare haven of solitude can work wonders for the weary parent and child in a sea of itineraries, people, and delays.
While it doesn’t offer much in the way of variety, Seattle’s international airport still provides small children with more than enough to keep them happy and distracted on a layover. A 1,400-square-foot playground sits between the A and B concourses, and it’s padded and colorful and guaranteed to help them spin out some energy before getting back on a plane.
Minneapolis’ airport boasts two different play areas with airplanes, control towers, slides, and seats for grown-ups that include outlets for phone and tablet charging. There’s also a photo opportunity for Snoopy fans — a statue located just inside Terminal 1, and if you happen to leave any essentials at home, there’s a vending machine called Diaper Bag Basics that can give you everything from a sippy cup to a pack of wipes.
Hong Kong (HKG)
While it may not be your favorite way to pass the time with your children, the Children’s TV Lounges in Hong Kong’s international airport provide the kind of mindless entertainment that can give you all a much-needed break. These kid-centered mini lounges are colorful and comfortable, and in addition to a continuous cartoon stream, there are also games and play places in them.
Additionally, the airport offers a “Dream Come True Education Park, where kids can dress up in costumes for a time-passing game of make-believe. There’s also an IMAX theater, which can easily hold the attention of everyone in your traveling party, regardless of age.
Head to the Visitor’s Center if you and your family ever find yourselves on a layover in Munich’s international airport. From touch screens that educate children on how an airport works to televisions that play popular German children’s television shows, you can unwind and relax, while your little ones’ minds are stimulated. You can also head outside to the Visitor’s Park where you and your children can play a round of mini golf. Or, if you’d rather they exhaust themselves for the next leg of the trip, there’s a toy airplane and a trampoline for plenty of physical exertion.
Airplane travel with small children can be a headache, but depending on where you’re traveling through and from, that headache can get some relief. From Singapore to Detroit, book your flight through one of these kid-friendly airports, and enjoy the trip a whole lot more.
Annabelle Williams is a mom of 4 and flying has never been fun. Recently she made it a mission to make it fun and is now an advocate for airport layovers, fun airports and general family vacations.