To save you time, we have checked out the facilities in the 10 countries that Aussies most frequently visit and you can use the links to the airport sites for more information.
- 5 stars – very family friendly with lots of quality facilities for children
- 4 stars – family friendly with a number of facilities for families
- 3 stars – okay, but does not cater well for family needs
- 2 stars – expect very little in the way of family facilities
- 1 star – avoid using this airport
Singapore – * * * * * Lena a mother of three, says going through Singapore Airport is always a good experience. The only bad things are the distances you need to walk and the breastfeeding chairs which are long, hard benches. Swimming Pool For S$13.65 (AUD$10.50) you can use the Ambassador Transit Hotel’s Balinese-themed pool, jacuzzi and shower facilities. The price also includes a towel and a free non-alcoholic drink from the bar. Access the pool in Terminal 1, near the Transit Hotel at Transit Mall East on Level 3. The pool is open from 7am to 11pm each day. Parents’ Rooms Terminal 2 Free Singapore Tour If you have a spare 5 hours, the Singapore Visitors Centre offers free 2 hour tours of Singapore. See the Changi website for full details and conditions. Nature Trail The airport has a number of themed gardens that children might enjoy. Terminal 1 Terminal 2 Children’s Playgrounds Xbox Games are located near Tastes of Changi at Transit Mall Central on Level 3. Pharmacies Terminal 1 Terminal 2 Movie Theatres – Free of Charge Terminal 2 – near the Sunflower Garden at Transit Mall South, Level 3 Website: www.changiairport.com
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Lena a mother of three, says going through Singapore Airport is always a good experience. The only bad things are the distances you need to walk and the breastfeeding chairs which are long, hard benches.
For S$13.65 (AUD$10.50) you can use the Ambassador Transit Hotel’s Balinese-themed pool, jacuzzi and shower facilities. The price also includes a towel and a free non-alcoholic drink from the bar. Access the pool in Terminal 1, near the Transit Hotel at Transit Mall East on Level 3. The pool is open from 7am to 11pm each day.
Free Singapore Tour
If you have a spare 5 hours, the Singapore Visitors Centre offers free 2 hour tours of Singapore. See the Changi website for full details and conditions.
The airport has a number of themed gardens that children might enjoy.
Xbox Games are located near Tastes of Changi at Transit Mall Central on Level 3.
Movie Theatres – Free of Charge
Terminal 2 – near the Sunflower Garden at Transit Mall South, Level 3
2. Hong Kong
Hong Kong – [Hong Kong International Airport – HKG] * * * * *
There are 28 well-equipped nursery rooms located throughout both Terminal 1 & 2. Most are next to toilets.
If you have a long stop-over in Hong Kong and want to leave the airport, try a tour specifically designed for transit passengers. For around AUD$30-40 for adults and children, transit passengers can have 3 – 5 hour city tours. Have a look at City Tour and Hong Kong Transit Tour
Airport Hotel Day-Use
If you need to get away to a quiet area, the Regal Airport Hotel is connected to the airport by an enclosed, air-conditioned link bridge and offers day-use of their rooms. HK$600 (AUD$90) allows you four hours of use during the hours between 8am and 9pm. Each extra hour costs HK$100 (AUD$15). The hotel has an indoor and outdoor pool.
In Terminal 1 Departures Hall, Level 6 you’ll find the Kid’s Land play area between Gates 23 and 25. There are also Children’s TV Lounges and Games near Gates 1, 15, 41 and 60.
In Terminal 2 you’ll find an entertainment centre with a 4D Extreme Screen Cinema, Asia Hollywood, Aviation Discovery Centre and a sports simulation area called i-Sports. There are also many dining and shopping opportunities.
Fiji – [Nadi International Airport – NAN]
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Trish, a Mum who has taken her family to Fiji twice says that if you arrive at a busy time, there is usually a guitar playing troupe of musicians which keep children amused.
If you have a long wait, one possibility is to book a day room at the nearby Raffles Gateway hotel. Day rooms are available between 6am and 6pm. It costs AUD$80-90 per room for a maximum of 6 hours. There are free transfers to and from the airport. Let the children tire themselves out in the hotel’s pool and maybe they’ll sleep for the whole plane trip home.
Website: Click here
London Heathrow – [London Heathrow Airport – LHR]
She continues, “Delays are frequent and can play havoc with feeding times for babies and children. The queues at every stage are enormous and no accommodation is made for kids. The only exception is if you are travelling as a family and one of you is an EC passport holder, even if the others are not, you are able to all whiz through the EC passport line. My advice generally for Heathrow is – AVOID IT LIKE THE PLAGUE and try to enter via another airport.”
Food & Supplies
Most restaurants and bars provide high chairs and children’s menus. You can buy nappies, formula and baby wipes at Boots, a chain on chemists.
Watching the Planes
The Tin Goose and Cafe Nero at Terminal 1 have good views of the runways for junior planespotters. Terminal 4 has a rooftop, glazed observatory with panoramic views of the runways and airfield.
Jetterz Kids Club Lounge – Terminal 3
If you’re feeling flush with leftover holiday funds and you have the time, you could try the fully supervised Jetterz Kids’ Club Lounge at Terminal 3 which is open from 8am to 7pm. Children between 5 and 14 years of age have access to TV, a DVD player, reading material, computer games plus toys and games. £15 ($35 AUD) will buy you two hours with £10 per hour after that.
KLM Holideck lounge – Terminal 4
For around £40 ($95AUD) you can book 2 adults plus 2 children into the KLM Holideck Lounge in Terminal 4. This lounge consists of three floors with the Main Deck suitable for families with small children. There are free refreshments, newspapers, magazines and interactive toys for pre-school children. PS2 and PSP games are also available. The lounge is open everyday from 6:30am to 11:00pm and is next to Gate 15/16. It’s a good idea to book ahead and you can book online.
5. New Zealand
Auckland – [Auckland International Airport – AKL] * * * *
Nursery rooms with cots and changing tables are available:
Airspace entertainment centre
Activities include Lego activity centre, Crayola colouring-in corner, Funstation, flight simulator, Sega Rally and other activities. These are located on the first floor of the international terminal beside McDonald’s.
You’ll also find a range of games and rides in the ground floor arrivals area of the international terminal. Open 24 hours, 7days.
Located on the top floor of the international terminal, this area has free play equipment suitable for young children.
Watching The Planes
Watching planes land and take-off can be entertaining for children. Head for the observation area on the top floor of the international terminal for great views of the airfield.
If delicate tummies get upset when travelling and you need to clean up, there are free showers on the ground floor of the arrivals area of the international terminal after immigration. Keys and towel hire are available from the Airways Florist. There are also free showers available for transit passengers.
There is a good range of food available, but the shops do tend to close in quiet times.
Los Angeles – [Los Angeles International Airport – LAX] *
If you have a lengthy transit or wait for departure, you might like to visit the free aviation museum called the Flight Path Learning Center of Southern California which is not far from the airport. Alternatively, instead of waiting for hours at the airport, you could book a room at one of the many hotelsthat are within a few kilometres of the airport. Some of these offer reasonable half-day rates and free airport shuttles.
Look out for various exhibitions throughout the terminals from the San Francisco Airport Museums program. Recent themes have been Warner Bros. animation, fossils and the history of audio. Check the Museum’s site for current exhibitions.
You can hire portable DVD players and children’s movies to use at the airport, during a flight or for your whole holiday from InMotion Entertainment in Terminal 3 at Boarding Area F or pre-security in the International Terminal Main Hall.
The airport’s people mover system, the elevated AirTrain is free of charge and can provide children with good views of the airport. A trip on AirTrain’s Red Line takes nine minutes and the Blue Line takes 19 minutes.
Nurseries & Rest Rooms
Nurseries with change tables are located in Terminals 1 and 3. Family restrooms are located pre-security on the Departures level of Terminal 1 and on the Mezzanine Level of Terminal 3.
Bangkok – [Suvarnbhumi International Airport – BKK]
Keith, the Father of a two year old travels regularly through Bangkok and says they try to spend the minimum of time at the airport.
Beijing – [Beijing Capital International Airport – PEK]
The third floor shopping area has Chinese themed shops where you can see a traditional Chinese tea ceremony.
A new airport will be opening in 2008.
Jakarta – [Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta International Airport – CGK]
Kuala Lumpur – [Kuala Lumpur Airport – KUL]
A pharmacy opens from 6am to midnight each day on Level 5 of the Departure Hall.
Main Terminal Building – 2 locations, near The International Departure
Contact Pier (International) – near entrance Gate B2-B10
Contact Pier (Domestic) – Near entrance gate A2-A11 and next to Golden Lounge – Near entrance gate B1-B11 and next to Butler’s outlet
Satellite Building – Wing C11-C17
Watching the Planes
There is a viewing gallery at the end of the Main Terminal Building.
LH kids Lounge LUFTHANSA has opened its biggest Business Class Lounge at Frankfurt Airport, located in Departures Area B, and measuring close to 1,400m2. It features LH’s first ever ‘JetFriends’ area – a dedicated zone targeted towards children