We recently traveled return on Emirates airlines from SA to Europe (including stopovers at Dubai) with twin 4-year olds.
We chose Emirates airlines as they fly directly out of Durban, and they have excellent perks for little travelers.
Here are some of my favorite things about Emirates when traveling with toddlers:
1. Kid Friendly Meals
Children’s meals are served first, so parents can usually aid their little ones with their meals before their own arrive.
The kids meals are lovely! The girls had Mac and cheese, roast chicken and mash and spaghetti bolognaise (all served with a side of veggies). They were served chocolate cake with sprinkles for dessert and waffles and chocolate sauce for breakfast. They had crackers and cheese, individually packaged cereals, and chocolate bars and strawberry milkshakes. The girls were well fed on our flights, and although they didn’t eat everything, I did not have to worry about them going hungry.
2. Kids Toys and Activities
Emirates is extremely kid-friendly. Little travelers get a blanket and collectible plush animal. Older children get an activity pack in a sling bag that includes puzzles and coloring.
On some flights the girls got little backpacks with an activity book that included stickers and color pencils.
They really enjoyed their blankets and plush toys. They still use them even today.
3. Kids Entertainment
There’s an endless supply of entertainment available for children on the Emirates play on demand ICE entertainment system. From puzzles to video games, coloring to cartoons, the screen provides unlimited entertainment for children. There’s a beautiful collection of family movies, including Disney classics, and a long list of children’s popular series and songs. Long haul flights are definitely not the time to be limiting screen time.
4. Cool rewards program
The Emirates Skywards Skysurfer program rewards its young travelers in much the way typical airline loyalty programs do. But there are additional perks for kids, such as guaranteed window seats and points that can be redeemed for toys and gadgets on the Emirates online shop.
5. Families come first
Emirates is one of the few airlines that still allow passengers traveling with young kids to board first. It is such a relief to get out of those long lines, get seated, set them up with their entertainment and catch our breath while the rest of the plane boards. On long haul flights the boarding process can take up to an hour. Imagine standing in a line with a crabby toddler for that long?!
For some the stopover in Dubai might be off putting, but I really enjoyed the break in a otherwise long trip. I appreciated being able to get off the plane, walk around and use regular-sized bathrooms! I think it also created a good opportunity for the girls to overcome any “cabin fever” that may have started to set in.
I highly recommend Emirates for family-Friendly travel, and I’ll be hard pressed to choose otherwise when we travel again.