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Little kids flying on Alaska Airlines 737 returning from Kauai at TravelswithBaby.com

Flying next to us is like a 5-hour party. Got snacks?

I hadn’t flown Alaska Airlines in quite some time, so I was pleasantly surprised by what I found on our recent flight to Kauai (and no, they did not sponsor our travel or this post).

With so many rants about airlines, toddlers and their parents in the blogosphere (often earned, but rarely helpful), I thought it was worth pointing out what Alaska is doing right by travelers with toddlers and young children. Maybe some of the other airlines will take note – but I’m sure those of you parents reading this will. And feel free to share your own recent experiences in comments below.

  1. Alaska Airlines, as I discovered in that cold sweat that comes every time you discover your family has been split between two or possibly three rows on the aircraft (with your three-year-old next to strangers), reserves two “family rows” in most flights to help ensure families with young kids stay seated together in case of last-minute seat shuffles. A simple phone call to reconfirm my flight was all it took – they were able to group us back together again, saving my sanity and surely that of the folks who might have been seated next to parentless children on the 5-hour flight.
  2.  Alaska’s fleet, to my knowledge, is not equipped with in-seat TVs. However, most Alaska Airlines flights over 3.5 hours offer “dig-e” digital in-flight entertainment players with over 75 movies and children’s programming built in. The cost for these is $8 or $10 per flight, depending on flight length (the flight to Kauai it was $10). Each dig-e player takes 2 headsets, so one is all it takes for 2 kids.
  3. Food for purchase includes a surprisingly healthy (and pleasing to my extremely picky eater) Kids’ Choice snack basket for $6 on all flights over 1 hour. Pirate’s Booty, turkey snack stick, squeeze apple cinnamon applesauce pouch, organic strawberry yogurt & honey graham, fruit chews and… Wikki Stix!
  4. Alaska Airlines still offers family preboarding—even before the rock star frequent flyerati, encouraging those who will lug their car seats or need to set up their CARES harnesses to get on board and get set up before the rest of the passengers fall into place. Who benefits most from this? Well, I don’t think you’ll hear any complaints from the aisle seat passenger who got whapped in the head by a passing car seat on his last flight.
  5. Sure, these days most parents are happy just to be seated together with their children during domestic flights. The rest here is gravy. So how did they really hit a home run with this flying family? A round of free mai tais for the grown-ups and warm cookies for all before landing. “Aloha!”

Thanks, Alaska Airlines, for keeping kids (and their parents) in your sites. Keep up the good work!

Friendly Trip Planning Tip: When you have a choice, choose wisely! Remember the airlines comparison chart in  Travels with Baby to help find the most baby-friendly, toddler-friendly, and family-friendly airlines when choosing between carriers for your next big trip.

How about you?

Have you flown Alaska Airlines with your kids? What’s your favorite airline to fly with your baby, toddler or little kids?

Related posts:

Ask Shelly: Will Southwest Airlines let me use the Baby B’Air vest in flight?

Watch out for age, height, weight restrictions when planning to use an airplane bassinet

One very good reason to fly British Airways with your lap-held toddler

Should more airlines ban babies from first class?

Five ways to get your toddler to your (American Airlines) flight without the giant jogging stroller

Photo Fave: Kids, don’t touch those shoes

Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli
Author of the award-winning Travels with Baby and Take-Along Travels with Baby

 Curious about this content? See my editorial content disclosure.

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5 Responses to IMHO: Five things Alaska Airlines is doing right by family travelers

  1. Christin says:

    I saw this post and had to comment because I totally agree! Living on the West Coast, we tend to fly Alaska a lot. They have usually been really accommodating with us and our kid(s). They even handed out crayons and a Hawaiian themed coloring packet on our flight to Kauai in February, which kept my toddler busy for a while.

  2. gina romero says:

    I agree that Alaska Airlines is the most family-friently airline. We had a HORRIBLE experience on a United Airlines flight at Christmas. They kicked my family off the plane because I requested an air sickness bag. I vowed never to fly with anyone but Alaska Airlines after that experience.

    • Shelly Rivoli says:

      Whoah! I am so sorry to hear that! I think it’s also amazing how differently flight attendants, even on the same plane, may approach family travelers depending on their own experiences–or lack thereof. That alone can certainly make things escalate when they might not otherwise. A little “sensitivity training” would go a long way with toddler travelers and autistic children, methinks! ;-)

  3. I’ve always liked Alaska Airlines, they are just genuinely doing a good job and offering great services, I have had no problems with them so far.

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