Our Globetrotters are reviewing 30 of the world’s leading international airlines for their family-friendliness. Our reviews cover the airline’s policies and service offerings that the average family will deal with when flying standard economy class. For more details on the Globetrotters reviews and ratings referenced, please see the lead article.
It’s not surprising to see Skytrax 5-Star Airline ANA (All Nippon Airways) ranked up in the top 10. Japan’s biggest carrier and the worlds 9th largest (by revenue) has long had a quality reputation, but how do they handle family passengers?
Base: Tokyo, Japan
Alliances: Star Alliance
Skytrax Rating 2016: 5
JACDEC Safety Rating 2017: 11
ANA’s Pregnancy Policy
Expectant mothers with less than 28 days before their expected delivery date must complete a consent form, indicating that there are no complications with the pregnancy, no health problems preventing them from flying and stating the due date. This must be issued within 7 days of the flight. If your due date is within 14 days you can only fly when accompanied by a physician.
Expectant mothers can collect an original “maternity marker” tag to help identify them to staff. If you are travelling alone you can be assisted from the check-in counter to the boarding gate, as well as being taken on arrival from the plane to passenger pick-up area – you must apply for this service beforehand by telephone.
Pre-assigned seating can also be requested but you may not be seated in an emergency row if you are in your final 28 days.
Babies less than 8 days old are not permitted to fly.
Infants (under 2 years)
Children up to 2 years old may sit on adults’ laps, with an infant fee at 10% of the adult fare.
If you wish to use a child’s safety seat instead, you must pay a child’s fare for an extra seat, at 75% of an adult fare. Up to two infants are permitted per adult but one must have their own seat with a child’s safety seat.
An adult passenger travelling with one or more children under 3 years old may apply for a supported service from check-in to the boarding gate – this must be requested 72 hours beforehand.
A free stroller service is available at most Japanese international airports, but these cannot be reserved and they do advise only a limited number are available.
Powdered milk is available on board, as are disposable nappies, but they only carry limited quantities, they recommend that you bring your own. A baby meal can be ordered at least 24 hours prior to departure. Children’s comfort packs and soft toys are also available during the flight.
ANA Baby Bassinets
Bassinet seats are available upon request but are excluded on certain aircraft types, check availability beforehand. Dimensions are 85cm x 45cm x 33cm with a maximum weight of 10kg.
Passengers travelling with an infant cannot be seated in a row with another infant due to limited numbers of infant oxygen masks per row. Additionally, infants in car seats cannot be placed in emergency rows.
If you are lucky enough to be in First Class, I’m afraid infants requiring their own seat are not permitted and in certain aircraft they cannot be placed with you in Business Class due to seating configurations. (See more on flying Business Class with infants)
Children (2-11 years)
Standard children’s fares are charged at 75% of adults.
ANA Original Goods are available for children on-board, these include a twinkle smartphone (pictured), an airplane balloon or a cardboard aircraft coin bank. There is limited stock on each flight.
Children’s meals must be ordered at least 24 hours in advance, or 96 hours in advance for allergy requests. I must say I’m excited to see them! The ANA website outlines that these meals have been developed by chefs who are parents themselves in the “decoben” style – decorative bento for food education and enjoyment – I want one!
Their main international hub, Narita International Airport in Tokyo has several colourful children’s soft play rooms and kids parks for transit and pre-boarding passengers. Nurseries are also located on each floor for nappy changing, nursing mothers and hot water facilities.
“ANA Easy Travel” is a service for kids aged between 5 to 11 years travelling without an accompanying adult. This is only available on ANA operated flights not code share and must be reserved by telephone in advance; it cannot be done over the internet. Children will be given a badge to wear throughout and an adult fare applies.
Passengers 12 to 16 years old are permitted to fly unaccompanied but Easy Travel can be requested.
Any child 4 years or under must be travelling with a passenger 12 years or over in the same class. Easy Travel is not available to children under 5 years old.
For children and adult tickets in economy class, 1 piece of 23kgs and with linear dimensions of 158cm is permitted. Another piece is permitted per infant with ‘baggage rules that apply to the accompanying adult’ – I take this to mean another 23kg piece but its not clearly stated.
A fully collapsible stroller, carrying basket and car seat for infant/child passenger will be accepted free of charge. Strollers are not permitted on to the aircraft.
Frequent Flyer Programs
Passengers occupying their own seat can join the ANA Mileage Club. Children’s miles accrue at the same rates as adults. A Family Account Service allows members that reside outside of Japan to combine miles to book reward flights. ANA Card Family Miles are available for residents in Japan who are ANA Card holders (credit card).
The Globetrotters View of ANA
I must say this is the first airline review where I actually got kind of excited reading about it! They really do seem to take the needs of their expectant mothers and young infants into regard, on paper at least. We have not flown ANA but do recall Narita Airport as being pretty vast!
The inclusion of strollers is an added bonus but I know supplies are never reliable at any airport offering this service.
If I had to write a request list of services I’d like to see from an airline, I think ANA has pretty much nailed the brief; they actually make it sound enticing to bring your child on board. And for expectant mothers, they seem to have the most generous timing for how late in your pregnancy you can fly.
Japan is an amazing country full of colour and vibrancy and exciting activities for kids, I will certainly be keeping ANA high on my wish list of airlines to try. As always the ability to combine family frequent flyer points is another great added bonus.
Family-Friendly Things to do in Tokyo & Beyond
There is a lot of fun to be had in Tokyo – for the big and little kids of your family!!! Check out this bumper guide of 50 unusual things you must try in Tokyo. We also love this great guide to Japanese Theme Parks and this super detailed guide on how to get around in Tokyo with kids.
Disclaimer: The information provided on this page should be used as a guide only. It has been gathered from public sources and correct at the time of going to print (May 2015). Please consult the airline’s own website before booking any family travel with this airline. This review is not an endorsement of All Nippon Airways services and I am in no way affiliated with the airline.
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Have you flown pregnant or with infants/children on ANA? Do you have a review or advice to share with travelling families?
Don’t forget to check out our advice on Flying While Pregnant and Travelling with a Newborn
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Pictures © ANA