Family Travel Association Newsletter

FTA Helps Congress Push for Families Flying Together Act

Week of February 1, 2016

This is the newsletter of the Family Travel Association, a new coalition of leading family travel experts, media and companies coming together to create an industry voice that will transform the way families travel — charting a path for future generations of travelers.


Family Travel Association News

Congress Pushes Legislation to Help Families Fly

Next week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will be marking up changes to the FAA Reauthorization Bill, which, among other things, funds the Federal Aviation Administration. At that markup session, during which recommendations to the law are presented, various special interests will push to include their amendments.

Among them are Congressmen Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Rodney Davis (R-IL), who want to ensure that families who fly together sit together. Specifically, they have proposed legislation that requires commercial airlines to notify adults traveling with small children when they may not be able to sit together… before they purchase their tickets.

family flying together

According to consumer travel advocate, Christopher Elliott, there has been some coordination between passenger advocates and legislators. The plan is for Congressional representatives to slip this act into the final bill. The language directs the Department of Transportation to establish a policy keeping families that purchase flight tickets together seated together.

Upon learning about this proposed amendment, the FTA contacted Illinois Representative Rodney Davis to lend its support. Rep. Davis told FTA’s president, Rainer Jenss, that the motivation to include the so-called “Families Flying Together Act” in the bill originally came from a staffer, who was told when she checked in to a flight with her children that they would not be sitting together. When asked if he thought the airline industry might push back or lobby against this proposed regulation, Rep. Davis replied that his conversations with airline representatives were not contentious. In fact, most conceded that customer service is a priority, especially when it comes to families, as perhaps demonstrated by United’s decision earlier this week to allow families with small children to board first (the last major airline in the United States to do so).

If you support the “Families Flying Together Act” (H.R. 3334), please reach out to your local Congressional representative and explain why you believe it is important.

FTA Spotlight Turns Its Attention to a New Topic: Education

In the next step of our FTA Spotlight: Re/Defining Family campaign (download overview), we are searching for great resources about How to Use Travel as a Learning Tool.

FTA Spotlight

Whether you choose to vacation abroad or closer to home, the inescapable reality is that we live in an increasingly global world. And yet too many schools – especially in the public school system – are failing our kids by believing that more learning occurs in a classroom than in the world beyond it. Any adult who gives a child the gift of travel, however, bestows the gift that keeps on giving. We owe our children their global tomorrows by raising well-traveled and world-ready students.

Do you have strong feelings about this? We want to hear from you!

Family Travel Association Membership

The Family Travel Association membership base continues to expand, drawing in new associations, media outlets, destinations, tour operators, corporate entities, cruise lines, lodgings and travel specialists.

Who Are Our Newest Members?

ARP Travel Group (East Africa)
ARP Travel Group (East Africa)
"We joined the Family Travel Association to further highlight the benefits of bringing children to Africa. The continent and specifically East Africa offer an enjoyable and educational experience that will long live in the memories of children. With the launch of our Rafiki Explorer Club that focuses on learning through fun and practice, we feel East Africa is ideal as a family destination and in partnership with the FTA we can further highlight the benefits of bringing children to the destination."
– Taqi Moledina, CEO, ARP Travel Group
Cox & Kings
Cox & Kings
"As the world’s longest-running travel company, Cox & Kings has been designing, organizing and leading exceptional journeys since we operated our first expedition to India in 1758. Families traveling with Cox & Kings experience the difference between ‘seeing’ and ‘doing.’ We deliver hands-on travel experiences that will deepen a family’s understanding of what they see and where they are. We see FTA’s mission to inspire families to travel more perfectly aligned with our company heritage and are proud to join this amazing organization in changing lives through travel."
– Scott Wiseman, President, Cox & Kings
Serengeti Explorer Camp
Serengeti Explorer Camp
"We joined the Family Travel Association as the camp caters to all types of children, from 6 years upwards. The camp offers a variety of children’s activities that ensure learning through fun and practice. With a children’s club at the camp managed by a trained team, children enjoy feeling the dirt of Africa while exploring the footprints, birds, plants and many other sights and sounds around the camp. Family rooms accommodate two adults and two children, so the camp is a well-positioned to welcome families. The Family Travel Association caters to this market segment and we are very excited to be a part of this new opportunity!"
– Taqi Moledina, CEO, Serengeti Explorer Camp
Serengeti Explorer Camp
Tauck Bridges
"Tauck Bridges is delighted to join the FTA family! As the first guided family travel operator, Tauck Bridges has seen tremendous growth since our 2003 launch. We share the FTA belief that the need for multi-generational travel will only increase as family time together becomes increasingly precious in our busy and wired world. The FTA offers a fantastic group of suppliers, industry leaders and family travel experts who will help us learn, share, network and collectively work to understand how we can further encourage more parents to travel with their children."
– Jennifer Tombaugh, President, Tauck Bridges

Family Travel Association Member News

FTA Spotlight: The Changing Faces of Family Travel

This week we shared three original articles written in response to our call for contributions to our first FTA Spotlight topic: The Change Faces of Family Travel. They look at the unique travel dynamics of families that don’t conform to the traditional mold (see below the picture):

Traveling as a Single Parent: Not Always a Smooth Ride
* Traveling as a Single Parent: Not Always a Smooth Ride by Lissa Poirot, Editor-in-Chief of Family Vacation Critic
* Creating Special Connections: Travel as One Parent and One Child by Eric Cohen, Co-founder of Macaroni Kid
* Why Asian-American Families Don’t Travel Abroad More, But Should by Cliff Hsia of Live Family Travel

57 Life-Changing Travel Tips from the Best Family Travel Bloggers

It's not always easy traveling with kids. You've got your routine, a budget and maybe a little voice in your head that says “you’ll have to wait until the last kid moves out of the house to really start traveling?” So Vacatia asked some of the best family travel bloggers to see how they make vacations a priority.

Adaptive Winter Sports Programs for Special-Needs Families

From Timid in Australia to Solo in Korea: How Traveling Affects Children

From Timid in Australia to Solo in Korea: How Traveling Affects Children

Stephanie and Marissa were 10 and 11 when Journeys International alum Patti Lynn’s good friend took a sabbatical in Australia. With an offer to visit that was too good to refuse, Patti and her husband packed up the girls and fulfilled a dream of visiting Australia. The unexpected consequence? That trip planted the seed for many fearless adventures to come.

The World Is Your Classroom in Antarctica

Once thought of as merely the providence of professional explorers, Antarctica is currently in the midst of a surge in popularity for adventurous travelers. The luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent has therefore added a new family departure on its 17-day Antarctica sailing trip. The idea is that kids will return with an increased awareness of the natural world and the concept of sustainability. New for 2016, A&K’s dedicated Young Explorers program features two distinct groups for younger and older children – Young Explorers and Senior Explorers – to ensure the most engaging and age-appropriate activities for all ages onboard.

Abercrombie & Kent Antarctica sailing trip

Top 10 African Safari Lodges Suitable for Kids

For an experience that changes your kids’ perspective on the world in the best possible way, there’s nowhere like Africa. Holidays with Kids, with the help of a panel of experts, has selected the best 10 African Safari Lodges, each noteworthy for unique reasons. Among them, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve was named ‘Best Value Lodge.’

Top 10 African Safari Lodges Suitable for Kids

Royal Caribbean International Adds More Family Fun and Cabins to Harmony of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International’s new Harmony of the Seas will already boast an impressive lineup of previously announced family-friendly features. Now, it is set to add more, including the popular DreamWorks Experience, new Adventure Ocean children’s programs and special stateroom accommodations to the forthcoming largest cruise ship in the world when it launches in May 2016.

Royal Caribbean International Adds More Family Fun and Cabins to Harmony of the Seas

Travel & Adventure Show Puts Family Travel on the Main Stage with Colleen Kelly

Already at the recent Travel & Adventure Show in Chicago and upcoming shows in Philadelphia (March 19-20) as well as other locations, family travel has made it to the main stage. Colleen Kelly, the host, co-creator and executive producer of the National Public Television Series called Family Travel with Colleen Kelly will be on hand to beat the family-travel drum.

Travel & Adventure Show
Colleen Kelly

Family Travel Industry News

The Rise of Traveling Families and World-Schooling

Driven by a desire to spend a greater amount of time with their children, escape the pressures of work and discover new cultures and lifestyles, more families than ever are taking ‘edventures’ – long-term trips where children learn on the road. The Guardian talked to nomadic parents about the pros and cons of dropping out to travel the world.

The Rise of Traveling Families and World-Schooling

12 Family Road Trip Ideas

With the end of winter in sight, families may be thinking about their next family vacation. For those considering a family road trip, there are so many options across the US and Canada. Here are 12 family road trip ideas from a variety of family travel bloggers.

12 Family Road Trip Ideas
Family Getaways

Other Industry Stories Through Travel Age West

As part of a collaboration with Travel Age West, we are sharing selected items of interest from their family travel news desk.

Royal Caribbean Amps Up Its Autism Friendly Program
The cruise line will begin gold-level autism certification training fleetwide in 2016.

Intrepid's Africa Safaris Are Great for Kids, Too
Intrepid Travel’s family itineraries in Africa combine adventure and unforgettable cultural experiences.

Save With These Leap Year Family Travel Deals
Start the leap year right by taking advantage of these family-oriented deals and discounts.
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