Katy Holland: Family holidays of the future could start at the airport
Are we there yet? Airports catering for kids
Sunday 03 April 2011
The Easter holidays are upon us and airports up and down the land will be bursting at the seams with parents trying to control and entertain their sprogs. Chaos, queues and delays: let the battle to get away commence.
It's good to know that the planned new "super lounge" at Heathrow's Terminal 3 will take some of the sting out of catering for kids when it opens in August. It promises a mini-cinema, games rooms, a family room, a bistro-style menu, and, best of all, a bit of space for the adults. The idea is that your time at the airport will become a "highlight" of your journey. So, it means shelling out £25 per adult, £12.50 for a child, a bit of a killer, but the cost could be outweighed by the inclusion of food, drinks and entertainment. But is it really too much to ask for free kids' facilities in airports? Why should we have to fork out just to stop them from tearing the place apart?
Many European airports seem to do it so much better than us. Take Munich, which has so many free things for youngsters to do that it's hard to drag 'em away. The Kinderland area has climbing towers and computer games, a cinema as well as soft-play areas.
I've scoured the country for similar offerings here, and while it's slim pickings, there are a few hopeful signs that things may be changing for the better.
First there's the rather brilliant new innovative science exhibition at Cardiff Airport, which offers hands-on exhibits so that kids can give their brains a work-out while they wait for their flight.
Then there's the new funky children's play area at Manchester Airport, which was created last year. You'll find padded window seats with runway views, computer games, as well as art materials. If it proves successful this summer, play areas will be opened in Manchester's other two terminals.
At Bristol Airport, meanwhile, there are special plans afoot to keep kids happy, with face painting, activities and entertainment organised during the school holidays, as well as activity packs handed out during airline delays.
Does this mean things are moving in the right direction at last? Watch this space. Meanwhile, I'd love to hear your opinions and experiences.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
- 2 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 3 Raif Badawi, the Saudi Arabian blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes, may now face death penalty
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...
£19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in South Kensington, this prestigi...
£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...
£25000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Partner is required to ...