Last month, our family experienced flying Emirates for the first time. We usually fly our local carrier – Philippine Airlines or any Asian carrier but for our latest trip, we wanted to try a new airline.
It was a choice between Etihad and Emirates – which honestly was a difficult choice to make since the cost, reviews and flying times were almost the same. I was really tempted to fly Etihad – with their flying nannies on board (has anyone experienced this? how was it?) but given the long layover, we chose Emirates. For Emirates, layover will be at the Dubai airport which had better reviews and kid-friendly facilities versus Etihad’s Abu Dhabi airport.
Here’s a review of our experience with Emirates
Amenities, Toys and Activities for different Ages
By far, Emirates have provided the kids the best gifts and giveaways. Mia was given an Lonely Planet Kid’s pack and activity book, coloring materials and a small carry-buddy (a blankie-stuffed animal). Mika was given a carry-buddy, a baby pack and a magic slate for her to doodle on. I loved the Lonely Planet kid’s pack! If you’re flying via Emirates, don’t forget to ask for these cool packs.
Emirates can serve kids a special children’s meal but make sure you indicate it on your booking. For children below 2, they provide infant meal – unfortunately the infant’s meal that they provide is only the bottled processed-type, like Gerber. Unlike the regular meals, there are no choices for kids – so make sure to note in the booking or when calling up the customer hotline if your child has preferences or allergies. I think they can improve on the snacks and beverages available for kids – I know kids only make up a small number compared to adults in a flight but it helps if there are some snacks like cookies, kid’s juices on board.
Children’s In-flight Entertainment
Inflight entertainment is quite good too – they have a vast selection of movies and shows for children. They even have a Disney collection which my girls loved. Games also are available, the remote can be used as a game controller like in any other airline. We found that Emirates’ inflight entertainment is the best so far.
It was also only in Emirates where we were given souvenirs for the flight. The flight attendants took Instax photos of our kids and offered that the girls wear the hat that the FAs were wearing. They printed out the photo and wrote a sweet note for our kids. Will post the photo soon.
Frequent Flyer Club for Kids – Skywards Skysurfers
I think only Emirates have a special frequent-flyer program for kids. I know other airlines allow kids above 2 to join their loyalty programs but only Emirates have a club specifically for kids. They give special privileges to members and provide special treatment to kids. Learn more about the Skywards Skysurfers here
Since we were traveling with an “infant” (children 2 yo below), we were given a baby kit that contains bib, baby spoon, sanitary bag (for disposal of diapers), changing table mat, lotion, baby wipes. We didn’t use these because we brought our own stuff but it might’ve been useful to other families running out of supplies. It would’ve been nice though if there were baby-toddler toys on board like books, soft blocks, etc. The plane too has baby bassinet – this is limited though and only for very young kids. If your child is more than 1 year old or a certain weight, they won’t provide this for your child.
There are comfort rooms with diaper-changing stations so don’t worry about needing to change your child’s soiled diapers. It was spacious too, as far as I remember, compared with other comfort rooms that we have experienced.
Our flight was fun and definitely memorable – even if our connecting flight to our destination was delayed by at least four hours due to technical issues with the plane. The kids were comfortable and they had fun on board. We’d definitely consider Emirates again in our next travels.
To learn more about Flying Emirates with Children here.