Column: Taming the Tantrum Flyers

Have you ever been on a flight, watching people as they board in hopes that a nice person gets the seat next to you? Or maybe you notice that dreaded family in which the kids are already screaming before they get into their seats, and you start praying that the noisily unhappy family isn’t sitting near you.

All of us have experienced this and you have surely heard clients complain about such incidents. I have never seen a parent take lightly any recommendation to control their kids during a flight. “Little Johnny is just a boy and all boys act this way, so mind your own business” is what I have observed when that tact is taken.

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Being the father of four daughters, I’m afraid we have, on occasion, been that annoying family that you all wished was sitting in the cargo bay. I must say, I have learned and have figured out that iPads loaded with games and movies are great silencer during a flight.

But what is an airline to do?

The answer is not simply to hope that parents come prepared, but rather create an atmosphere that will make flying fun for younger travelers between takeoff and landing.

Lufthansa’s Smart Approach

I recently attended a Lufthansa launch event for their much-improved kids program with my two younger daughters (pictured above). The first smart approach is that the programs center around different age groups. I have been there when my 11-year-old daughters were given coloring books more appropriate for a four-year-old. That automatically sends them into screaming mode. But not on Lufthansa—they get it right, from a kid-friendly check-in to websites, amenity kits and menus, all developed in conjunction with children and teenagers from ages two to 17.

The best feature of all is that miles and awards do not expire for the little ones as they accumulate them while growing up. All of this is packaged under the JetFriends Club to make flying with children painless. You can register your clients at www.jetfriends.com and let the fun—and more civilized flights—begin.

Thank you, Lufthansa.

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