APEX Insight: Airlines will need to reconsider the solitary seating and refined cuisine that cater to adult passengers to win over parents who travel with their little ones in tow.
Despite laments for the days when families ostensibly boarded aircraft as the royal court did their chariot, recent government legislation indicates that parents and their young remain top of mind in the air travel industry. Over the past year alone, the Federal Aviation Agency approved a bill requiring airlines to seat families with children together without additional fees, and President Obama signed the Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening (BABES) Act into law, instructing the Transportation Security Administration to better accommodate parents traveling with breast milk, infant food and other feeding equipment. The regulations have been heralded as major victories for traveling families and as an assurance of the turning tides.
Families may not account for the most lucrative consumer group in the air travel industry, but they are perhaps one of the most reliable: “The average yield for families is lower than that for business travelers. However, as a large customer segment, families are also interesting for volume reasons,” a Lufthansa spokesperson explains. “Families mostly book further in advance, which is important for an airline in terms of its base load factor.” And with an estimated 60 million millennials expected to become parents in the next decade, traveling families are set to be one of the largest growth segments in the industry.
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