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Global Head of Travel Content Sourcing, Amadeus IT Group
This is what they looked like one hour before take-off!
My parents insist that I was 3 years old, I’m not sure if this can be true as today most airlines require children to be 5 years old, so maybe I was 5. What I know for sure is that I don’t remember the first time I flew so I was definitely young.
I flew from Copenhagen to Esbjerg, a city of the west coast of Denmark, to visit my grandparents. It was a journey I made twice a year and I can safely say that ever since then, I love flying. It is a moment of peace, where you can’t do much else than read a good book, listen to music and let your thoughts wonder. Whilst I know for sure that I am flying enthusiast, I don’t know if everyone feels the same way.
Fast forward a few years and I am now a Danish mother living in Madrid and I thought it was about time to allow my kids to have the same experiences that I did from a young age. So last summer, I took the plunge and sent my two boys on their first Madrid-Copenhagen flight. They went back to Denmark to see the family, cousins, grandparents, great-grandparents and to use their Danish. Nikolai was 8 and Alexander was 6. You can tell from the photo that they weren’t nervous.
It was heart-warming to see how nice and considerate people are when children are flying. Despite airport personnel and air hostesses helping the boys a lady taking the same flight offered to help them if they needed anything during their journey. Once the boys were on the plane, they had an even more grown up experience, they were seated separately on different rows, away from each other.
They took it well but a family sitting close by realized that the two boys were together and managed to ensure the boys were next to each other. Again, I was humbled to know that there are such kind people willing to help children. Their next grown experience came as they had to pay for their own food - it wasn’t possible to order a meal for them before the trip.
Despite these little mishaps the boys loved the experience! They felt proud of having had the chance to be independent and to look after themselves. Although I can’t help but think how much more seamless the journey would have been for the boys, and the passengers around them, if they had the chance to truly personalize their trip prior to boarding.
It begs the question ‘How much more personalised can a child's trip be made in the future?’ Imagine thinking beyond seating and meals and other ancillary services and giving them a real experience in the style that they choose. Before September 11th it was possible for children to have a visit to the cockpit, which has all changed now. Imagine if we could personalise travel for children prior to boarding in other more imaginative and creative ways.
It makes you think, what airlines can do today to make a child say, ‘I want to fly with this airline, Mum!’ After all our children today will be the travellers of the future tomorrow.
Editor's note: We asked Amadeus employees to share their travel experiences and thoughts on personalised, connected and sustainable travel. You can check out all their responses in the Summer blogs tag page.