I grew up in the 80s. Back then, flying in an airplane was a BIG DEAL. The only electronic portable device was a Sony Walkman, and you were expected to don your “Sunday best”, sit still and behave. Flying was considered a privilege and the excitement of sitting at a window seat was all the entertainment you needed. Well, that and that mix tape you had playing in your Sony Walkman. It was a big deal, because families seldom traveled together by air.
But today’s youngsters have as many frequent flyer miles as their parents and the buzz of getting a set of plastic “wings” from the ticket counter doesn’t carry the same weight as it did 30 years ago. In fact, an estimated 30% of families are traveling with kids, according to The U.S. Travel Association.
Air travel has taken off (pun intended) as a more economical way to get to your vacation destination and some airports are making accommodations to keep kids and adults sane while traveling by air.
Here is a list of the Top 10 Best Airports for Kids according to a Travelnerd study:
1. San Franciso SFO: This airport boasts 14 nurseries, 3 kid play areas and an aquarium. Yes, I said aquarium.
2. Portland PDX: 11 nurseries and 2 kids play areas make this a great place to wait out your departure.
3. San Jose SJC: 6 nurseries and free Wi-Fi. They had me at free Wi-Fi.
4. Dallas/Fort Worth DFW: An outdoor sculpture garden and five play areas will get the sillies out of your kiddies in no time.
5. Boston Logan BOS: 3 nurseries, lots of rocking chairs and 2 kid play areas make this a great place to have a layover.
6. Nashville BNA: This city is not playing around with 3 kid play areas, a Redbox rental machine and 2 nurseries.
7. Phoenix Sky Harbor PHX: 4 kid play areas and an art museum. Yes, I said art museum. And it’s open 24 hours a day.
8. Detroit Metropolitan DTW: Who says you need to go to a rock concert to see a light show? Not the folks at this airport. DTW offers 3 kid play areas and a lighted tunnel that connects Concourse A to Concourses B/C.
9. Minneapolis-St. Paul MSP: A designated area for nursing mothers, 2 play areas and a large statue of Snoopy pay homage to Minnesota native, Charles Schulz.
10. Seattle-Tacoma SEA: This airport has 1 kid play area and a designated nursery.
With accommodations like these, half the fun will be getting there.