Katy Holland: Airport in gridlock, kids in revolt. There's only one option – and it'll cost you

Are We There Yet? Plenty of posh lounges are popping up, and many of them will take children – at a price.

Just when you thought flying with kids couldn't get any worse, it did.

The recent tightening of security (not to mention the weather) left many of us facing hours of delays while trying to appease fractious offspring over the New Year holiday, and the situation is not likely to let up. The Department for Transport has warned us to allow for extra delays if we're flying. So collapse those pushchairs, throw out that baby milk (unless it's under 50ml) and prepare for pat-down.

I predict more tantrums and foot-stamping (and that's just the parents). UK airports are not known for their child-friendliness, and there are no plans for improvement. Kids' zones and soft-play areas are few; in fact, BAA, which runs most of our airports, has recently removed free soft-play spaces, "for operational purposes".

This is all the more annoying considering that many airports in the rest of Europe seem to be going out of their way to keep younger visitors happy; fly from Zurich or Madrid Barajas, for example, and you won't be able to peel your kids away from the free fun and games they provide.

So what's a parent to do? BAA gives out crayons and colouring books free to kids at its desks. There are arcade slot machine games, too. But that's it. Hardly Disneyland, is it?

If you want something more substantial, you're just going to have to shell out. Plenty of posh lounges are popping up, and many of them will take children – at a price. For anything between £15 and £20 per person, you and your tots can sit in VIP comfort for up to three hours before departure. You'll find details of individual airport lounges and prices at holidayextras.com.

Among the most ubiquitous are pre-bookable Servisair lounges (executivelounges.com). Others include the newly refurbished 4Deck Lounge at Heathrow's Terminal 4, where the kids can eat biscuits, visit the Flight Deck Observatory, watch Sky TV or play games in special kids' areas (available through holiday extras.com, £18.50 for adults, £9 for children). There's Virgin's V-room at Gatwick, if you are travelling with Virgin Holidays (£17 per adult, £10 per child; virginholidays.co.uk/ extras), which has large areas dedicated to families, including soft play, PlayStations, table football and internet services, as well as cakes, pastries and fizzy drinks.

And how are you meant to handle your children once they're on the plane and sugared up to the eyeballs on free treats? Well, that's a whole new column.

k.holland@independent.co.uk

Life and Style
health
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
TVSPOILER ALERT: It's all coming together as series returns to form
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine