Family Travel Association Newsletter

Congressional Push for Families Flying Together Act Has Mixed Results

Week of February 15, 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

We Didn’t Get All the Way (Yet!) to Helping Families Fly Together

Last week saw only partial success after the push to support family-friendly language as part of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s marking up of the FAA Reauthorization Bill (H.R. 4441).

We threw our weight behind Congressmen Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Rodney Davis (R-IL), who were attempting to amend the Reauthorization Bill in ways that would help families who fly together sit together. Specifically, they proposed legislation based on language from their the so-called “Families Flying Together Act of 2015” (H.R. 3334).

family flying together

One proposed amendment (section 4 of H.R. 3334) required that families with children are notified, before tickets are booked, when they are assigned seats that are not together on the selected flight. This was included in the base text of the FAA bill, H.R. 4441, in Section 501. (Other interesting pro-consumer provisions were also included in the bill — see the AIRR ACT packet)

However, and very unfortunately, a second amendment to include the remaining portion of H.R. 3334 in the FAA reauthorization bill — in particular language “directing each air carrier to… establish a policy to ensure, to the extent practicable, that a family that purchases tickets for a flight with that air carrier is seated together during that flight” — unfortunately failed in a 28-31 vote. (Here’s the roll call.)

The next step is for the full House to consider the bill, which will allow for additional amendments. The failure of the Committee to approve the language means it is unlikely to move on the floor of the House should it be proposed there again. Another attempt could be made to get the language included in the Senate FAA bill, but there’s apparently little certainty about when they will move such legislation.

FTA Spotlight Is Now Fittingly Focused on Flying with Children

In the next step of our FTA Spotlight: Re/Defining Family campaign (download overview) we are searching for great resources about Easing the Anxiety of Flying with Children.

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 Industry Newsletter Archive

Just in case you’ve missed any previous issues of this newsletter, check out our newly minted complete newsletter archive. We sure have come a long way together over the course of 30 editions!

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 Is Our Newest Member?

"Fathom is a different kind of cruise that combines the love of travel with the desire to make a difference in the world. As the pioneer in a new category of travel, Fathom provides a great opportunity for families to connect, grow and learn together. This happens through cultural exchange that give families memories they will never forget, and ultimately make the world a better place. We are particularly happy about the partnership with the Family Travel Association and the opportunity to help families teach social responsibility while having a great time. This really is the greatest gift we can offer as parents."
– Ron Fenska, Vice President of Sales, Fathom

Family Travel Association Member News

Waiving Fees for the Youngest Travelers Is Good Business

In a move to solidify its commitment to encouraging families to experience active travel together, is now waiving booking fees for travelers ages 17 or younger. "Family travel is important to us," said Jim Johnson, President of, a company with a couple of young moms on staff who love to bike and travel with their youngsters. "We want families to know that bike touring is accessible, a wonderful way to bond with their children, and a great way to expand kids' view of the world."

family-friendly bike tours

Zika Virus – What Travelers Should Know

The Zika virus is on the minds of all traveling families. It is transmitted to humans primarily through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. Fortunately, severe effects requiring hospitalization are uncommon and case fatality is low. But, says MedjetAssist VP/COO John Gobbels, as there is no vaccine for it and treatment is palliative, it is best to try and avoid it. In fact, SYTA Executive Director Carylann Assante advises it is best to plan ahead for all the shots you need.

Adaptive Winter Sports Programs for Special-Needs Families

5 Family Travel Trends for 2016

5 Family Travel Trends for 2016

"Vacations can increasingly happen at any time, with any size group, for any number of days, with any amount of notice," travel expert says. So how are today's families planning to maximize their vacation time this year? Check out the top five family travel trends for 2016 as listed by Caroline Shin, travel expert and CEO of Vacatia. 

Some of the Best Family-Friendly Museums Around the World

Museums aren’t what they used to be. Gone are the adult-only institutions of the past. Enter the places where mom and dad don’t have to say “Keep your hands to yourself!” because the whole place is designed for little ones to explore. They are playing, they are learning and everybody is having fun. Here’s a collection assembled by the team.

Some of the Best Family-Friendly Museums Around the World

ARP Travel Group Enriches Family Experience Through Rafiki Explorer Club

Top 10 African Safari Lodges Suitable for Kids
East Africa’s leading travel wholesaler has developed travel products that make booking family holidays simple for agents dealing with clients in search of great family experiences. Every detail is considered, from family-friendly accommodation and shorter driving times to custom-tailored activity packages and family-oriented driver-guides. Families traveling to Serengeti National Park can stay at Serengeti Explorer Camp and take part in the new Rafiki Explorer Club program (for kids ages 6 to 15) of dynamic interactivity with stargazing, archery, African cooking lessons and more.

Wild Walk at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake

Recently opened in Tupper Lake, NY, the Wild Walk allows visitors to travel across the Adirondack treetops. High above, 40-feet above ground to be exact, visitors can enjoy a quarter-mile trip over bridges and platforms, four-story twig tree house and human-sized spider’s web. It’s enough to provide powerful distraction and education to the members of any family.

Wild Walk at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake

Family Travel Industry News

Five Ski Resorts Perfect for Families

Skiing as a family ranks high on the dream vacation list, but how to turn your fearful kid into a fearless downhill ninja is as important as where you go. This article does the sorting for you and assembles a list of the destinations that bring together all of the best ingredients.

Five Ski Resorts Perfect for Families
Seven Lessons You Learn After Traveling with Kids

Seven Lessons You Learn After Traveling with Kids

There are lots of benefits to traveling with children, whether it's a long journey or a short vacation. Each trip this writer completed had its snafus but was mostly positive. Here are seven lessons she learned from traveling with her kids for more than five years.

15 Things to Do with Your Family Vacation Photos

15 Things to Do with Your Family Vacation Photos

Most of the time, family vacation photos end up stuck in iPhone or up on Instagram, never to see the light of day as a photo print, much less a photo album or a photo mouse pad. Take a look at this list of 15 things to do with your family vacation photos. From business cards and postage stamps to holiday photo cards and digital photo albums, there are lots of great ways to put your photos to good use.

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.

What It's Like to Fly with Kids
From packing to flight seating to children flying solo, experts weigh in on the pros and cons of air travel as a family.

Shanghai Disney Will Welcome Guests in June
Intrepid Travel’s family itineraries in Africa combine adventure and unforgettable cultural experiences.

New Family Adventures From Amtrak Vacations
New tours will take families everywhere from Glacier National Park to the Grand Canyon.
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