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Emirates Airline Travel Survey on Family Travel

April 11, 2018

With Spring Break around the corner, Emirates Airline, TripAdvisor’s 2017 Travelers’ Choice Award winner for Best Airline in the world, today unveiled new survey data showing what parents and travelers think about kids flying, including how long into a flight kids get antsy, what is most helpful keeping kids entertained on a flight and which travelers are more likely to agree to sit next to kids for a long flight.

 Furthermore, with parents planning long flights for Spring Break and summer vacations, Emirates Cabin Crew experts have compiled their top tips to make travel easy for parents flying with kids of all ages.

 Emirates U.S. Travel Survey: Family Travel Findings

 Are We There Yet?

It’s no secret kids can get antsy during flights. Emirates found that while kids get better at flying as they get older, many kids across all ages are already antsy within the first two hours of a long-haul flight:

  • Under 2 Years Old: 70% of travelers say kids under 2 get antsy in the first two hours of the flight
  • 3-5 Years Old: 57% of travelers say kids 3-5 years old get antsy in the first 2 hours of a flight
  • 6-10 Years Old: 32% say of travelers say kids 6-10 years old get antsy in the first 2 hours of a flight, with another 50% saying this older group gets antsy between 2-4 hours into a flight

Additionally, while kids across the U.S. reportedly get restless in the early parts of their flights, kids from Boston tend to be the antsiest flyers in the U.S., with 38% of respondents reporting kids under 2 and 24% of kids 6-10 years old are antsy as soon as the plane takes off.

What’s Next, What’s Next?

Keeping kids busy on the ground can be tricky, let alone on a plane. The number one way to keep kids occupied during a long flight? People say devices are the best at keeping kids occupied across all age groups. The most helpful methods across age groups include:

  • Under 5 Years Old: 57% of respondents say devices to watch movies, TV shows or videos are by far the most helpful, followed by devices to play games (17%) and activity books and toys (16%)
  • 6-10 Years Old: 96% of respondents say devices to watch movies, TV shows or videos and devices for games tie for being the most helpful in keeping kids content, but are followed closely by having snacks kids enjoy on hand (88%)

However, parental worry about keeping kids entertained through a flight isn’t created equal – Emirates survey found that flyers in Orlando, Houston, Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles are the most concerned about this issue when flying.

Is this Seat Available?

It’s no secret that many people try to avoid sitting near kids to ensure peace and quiet during their flight. Emirates found that the average traveler’s willingness to sit next to kids depends on how long the trip is. It turns out that 61% of fliers would say no to sitting next to kids on a flight over 10 hours, and of that, men are actually more likely to agree to it (57%) than women are (64%).

While the West Coast is known for friendliness and the South for hospitality, residents in San Francisco and Fort Lauderdale are actually the least willing to sit next to kids on long-haul flights.


Emirates Cabin Crew Tops Tips for Traveling with Children this Vacation Season

  •  For parents flying with babies, try to choose a flight that is as close as possible to their bedtime. This can help them sleep for a large part of the flight. Also, make sure you have sweets or a bottle of milk for babies/toddlers to suck on during take-off or descent, as they may have difficulty equalizing their ear pressure and feel uncomfortable.
  • For small children, keep one new toy aside to give them mid-flight to ensure they don’t grow bored of the ones they already have. This will provide a fun, distracting surprise, and will keep them occupied longer than one of their old toys.
  • For kids of all ages, find ways to break up activities during the flight. Don’t depend solely on games or videos – pack a small puzzle, colouring book or interactive toy in addition to devices or in-flight entertainment systems, and use time between shows or movies to try something different.
  • When kids are awake, take brief strolls when they are already in good moods. This will help them stretch and break up the time between activities in their seats, and help prevent a restless-child meltdown.
  • When going through an airport, bookend your kids with one parent upfront and one taking the rear (if possible) to ensure you don’t lose any little stragglers along the way, and keep them moving quickly through checkpoints.


The U.S. International Travelers survey was conducted by Clarus Research and surveyed a total of 4400 adults with a passport, planning to take an international trip in the comping year or have taken an international trip in the past few years, and travel at least once every two to three years and are between the ages of 18 and 64. The survey was conducted between the dates of November 26, 2017 and November 30, 2017.

 Emirates and the U.S.

Emirates has carried more than 17.6 million passengers on U.S. flights since launching services to New York in 2004. The airline currently serves 12 U.S. gateways – Newark (EWR) via Athens, Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando (MCO), Chicago (ORD), Boston (BOS), San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Seattle (SEA), Dallas (DFW), Houston (IAH), Washington (IAD) and New York (JFK), including a trans-Atlantic route between JFK and Milan Malpensa (MXP) and freighter services to Atlanta and Columbus.

Emirates’ partnerships in the US bring about combined benefits for passengers, US partner carriers and US communities. Emirates signed partnership agreements with JetBlue Airways, WestJet and Alaska Airlines feeding hundreds of passengers daily onto their domestic networks. Emirates also has interline agreements with Virgin America, Porter Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Sun Country.

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