How much do your junior travelers fly? My junior flyers who are ages three and five have been flying more than 15 flights. Family travel with kids could be a great potential source of ancillary revenue to airlines, with a touch of creativity that can help the airline advance in this potential market.
Airlines of today are exploring ancillary revenue opportunities.
“Airline ancillary revenue will reach $109.5 billion worldwide in 2019, compared to $92.9 billion in 2018.”CarTrawler and IdeaWorksCompany
Junior flyers benefitting airline revenue
Airlines are looking for ways to launch additional services and products for customers to improve the profit rates and generate more loyal customers.
A loyalty program focusing on junior flyers, which aims to enrich the travel experiences of family travel with kids should be the next trend.
Millennial flyers with children in tow
The U.S. Millennial Travel report (2018) showed 44 percent of Millennial travelers take their vacations with the junior travelers in tow. Family travel with junior travelers is the trend.
If the airline understands these family needs and behaviors, it can build personal ties between the brand and the family with junior travelers.
Parents are looking for ways to create a special travel experience for their junior flyers. However, airlines are not putting much effort into the junior flyers’ market. The junior flyers’ needs are downgraded, not emphasized, or eliminated because of airline cost control.
Solutions for flying with a child
A right toy can help keep children busy and keep the parent sane. It is disruptive to those passengers sitting next to a grumpy noisy child. If there is a way to prevent a temper tantrum, it will be a win-win-win situation for the parents, passengers, and airline.
There’s a growing movement among airlines, such as Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia, Scoot Airlines, and IndiGo, to introduce child-free seating.
On the other side, this also indicates the growing amount of family travel with junior flyers tagged along.
Catering to the needs of junior flyers while fattening airline revenue
Inflight Duty-Free sessions
The inflight duty-free session is always boring; there is not that many appropriate products on board for junior flyers. If there was a mini toy shop, game shop or bookstore on board, parents would be willing to pay for sure, just to get some quiet and peaceful moments.
Take Turkish low-cost carrier – Pegasus Airline as an example, the Marvel theme safety demo in the year 2015 drove the sales of the Marvel products onboard.
Inflight Entertainment (IFE)
Catering to the needs of children on board could be a winning strategy for airlines. This is also an opportunity to cultivate future loyal customers. But, the IFE onboard for junior travelers is not always attractive. The airline operator does not understand the dreaded feeling of discovering the iPad battery is low and no charging cable is in the pocket.
Another advice of the airline operator is, some airlines do not provide child-specific headphones. Junior flyers’ ear canals are too small to fit in adult ear-in-ear headphones.
Therefore I purchased special headphones for my junior flyers to protect their ears. The airlines should consider putting the child-specific headphones on their on board duty-free list.
I could not afford a business class seat for my junior flyers to give them a good night’s sleep on board.
It would be nice to try Qatar Qsuite, if it was affordable. Air New Zealand Skycouch would also be a nice choice in economy class.
Other Airlines may consider promoting the footrest leg pillow that fits in the legroom area in front of the economy class seat.
My kids can now lay down flat on a regular, economy seat on airplanes with the help of a footrest leg pillow that I acquired. But bringing the inflatable pillow took extra hand luggage room.
Airlines should consider providing a footrest leg pillow as a renting option or sell it as an inflight duty-free product.
Comfort options at online check-in
When faced with diverse passengers’ requirements and preferences, airlines, especially Low-Cost Carriers can consider putting additional comfort-options during online check-in.
Parents can then choose the items they require and pay additional charges.
Options could include baby formula, nappies (one size fits all), baby foods, baby bottles, and even renting a PlayStation. Such options could ease the parent’s packing nightmare, as well.
A vision of airline-initiated parent-solutions for flying with children
Children’s inflight playroom
I can envision a kid’s playroom on board. Maybe in the future, if the cargo area is opened for passengers, a paid junior flyer’s playroom could be an on board option. I would definitely be willing to prepare my credit card for that.
Junior flyer’s role-play sessions
My other vision includes a junior flyer’s role play session on board, which would be similar to the Thomson InFlight Safety Film’s “Alice The Chief Steward.” It is so lovely to see the cute kids wearing cabin crew (flight attendants) or flight crew (pilots) uniforms made for children.
They could do PAs’, pushing the trolley and learning live safety demo on board.
This is a COOL gimmick, right? That must bring a lot of LIKES on IG and retweet on Twitter accounts, with the sight of cute junior flyers wearing airline uniforms.
There is truly something wonderful about flying and traveling with kids. Airline operators could consider investing in this part to build happiness and satisfaction with the families. These passengers would return to a guarantee that each and every trip is packed full of positive lifelong memories.
1) CarTrawler and IdeaWorksCompany (2019), “Airline Ancillary Revenue Projected to Leap to $109.5 Billion Worldwide in 2019”
2) Newsdesk(2018), “Stats: 44% of millennials Travel With Junior Travelers.”
3) Marisa Garcia(2015), “ Family First: Pegasus Airlines Reports Improved Revenues with ChildFriendly Service”
4) Mark Matousek (2018), “There’s a growing movement to force kids to sit in a separate section on airplanes”
Featured Image: Unsplash.
Publisher’s note: What do you think about Airline Journalist Alisa Chan’s ideas and suggestions for solutions to flying with children? Do you think airlines can create additional revenue off these junior flyers? Are these suggestions a win-win situation for the airline and passengers with children alike? Let us know what you think! You can send your comments here for possible inclusion if we update this article in the future.