It’s easier for designers to build passenger experiences for adults. It’s the core design language that makes up a brand and airline passenger experience. After all, we can all relate to how the design created will affect us. However, designers often forget children, which still make up a noticeable percentage of airline travellers.
There are simple demonstrations of this across the passenger experience. From the economy class IFE monitor where we’re all familiar with the ability to tilt it up in case the seat in front reclines, but they never tilt down for children, whose eye line is much lower than an adult. If you’ve ever sunk your head down, you’ll see the glare on the screen, this is what kids must face when travelling. Or perhaps the check in process, which can be time consuming and frustrating for kids, as the conversation happens over a kiosk much higher than them.
Thankfully airlines are starting to address these small issues, and while Turkish Airlines recently opened a new family check in area, so has Etihad. In fact, Etihad have taken their approach to catering for their ‘Little VIP’s’ one step further by introducing a range of child-friendly amenities during the flight too.
Etihad has just partnered with the award-winning theme park, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, to launch a one-of-a-kind family friendly experience on board its fleet. Dubbed ‘Little VIP’, the campaign brings iconic Animation characters like Scooby-Doo, Sylvester and Tweety to life across the children’s activity packs given to guests travelling on longer flights with Etihad.
The airline’s new children’s packs are designed in three age ranges. For infants up to 2 years old, parents will be given a sustainable soft fleece blanket (made with recycled plastic bottles) decorated with the faces of Tweety, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Sylvester for them to take home.
Young flyers aged 3 to 8 years, will be given a drawstring bag featuring an activity book, crayons, memory card game and passport holder.
Tweens and teens aged 9 to 13 will be delighted with a Scooby-Doo themed backpack featuring the Museum of Mysteries board game designed to promote Yas Island’s indoor theme park, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi.
But it’s not just about bringing branded products onboard, it’s also about enhancing the training and service around them to improve the experience for children and the parents travelling with them. From cabin and ground crew training to a dedicated family zone check-in zone, including small steps by the check-in desks so kids can be a part of the process.
Onboard, young travellers will be given their meals first for convenience, and diners will experience Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi themed dining sets in bright colours. The menu has been enhanced based on consultation and feedback from family travellers and as a result requested traditional children’s favourites such as fusilli pasta with meatballs, waffles and pancakes have been added to the menu.
As part of the extensive brand partnership, Etihad is also offering a wide selection of family-friendly Warner Bros. movies and TV shows including Space Jam, Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes, Bugs Bunny and the Flintstones. A selection of TV shows for older kids from the DC Universe includes Batman, Justice League and Teen Titans.
Terry Daly, Executive Director Guest Experience, Brand and Marketing, Etihad Airways, said: “This year, we will bring product innovation to the forefront, and this is the first of many exciting developments to look forward to. We’re thrilled to be kicking this off with a focus on our ‘Little VIPs’ and their families. We understand and appreciate that it’s not always easy travelling with little ones, however, this collaboration with Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi is designed to make the travel experience an exciting one for children and an easier one for their parents. With the help of Scooby-Doo and the Looney Tunes, we promise that even the tiniest travellers will love every minute of their journey with Etihad Airways.”