Are Florida’s Airports Really Not Kid-Friendly?

A new study ranks LAX, LaGuardia tops for kids while ranking Florida’s airports at the bottom
Girl in an airport
A new study grades the nation’s airports on how kid-friendly they are. Pixabay

What makes an airport kid-friendly? According to Upgraded Points, a provider of travel info and resources, it’s amenities like family restrooms, play areas, average wait times and more. And a new study by Upgraded Points says Florida’s airports are among the worst.

First, the good news. Here are the Top 10 Most Kid-Friendly Airports in the U.S., according to the new study:

  1. Los Angeles International
  2. LaGuardia Airport (New York)
  3. Logan International (Boston)
  4. San Diego International
  5. San Francisco International
  6. John F. Kennedy Airport (New York)
  7. (tie) Newark Liberty International
  8. (tie) John Wayne Airport (Orange County, Calif.)
  9. Harry Reid International (Las Vegas)
  10. Minneapolis-St. Paul International

Florida’s airports dominate the list of the least kid-friendly airports: Southwest Florida International (Fort Myers) is 45th; Orlando International is 41st; Tampa International is 39th; and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International is 31st.

The rankings seem odd considering most of Florida’s airports are designed with leisure travelers in mind.

“Tampa International Airport routinely scores extremely well on passenger surveys, which are conducted among travelers who actually use our facilities to fulfill their travel plans, and we work diligently to address any issues that may arise,” said Josh Gillin, senior manager of communications at Tampa International. “We are proud to serve our guests with clean facilities, several outdoor spaces and plenty of family-friendly food and restroom options. And one of our Main Terminal’s newest additions, our 21-foot-tall sculpture of Phoebe the flamingo, is definitely a kid-pleaser all on her own.”

Related: Hurricane Season Has Tampa Airport Buzzing

Gillin also points out that the Upgraded Points report seems incomplete in some areas. “It has left TPA’s number of charging stations blank when the airport actually has more than 7,000 charging stations,” he said. “It’s also difficult to imply we don’t have enough nursing rooms ‘per mile’” when there are nursing rooms in each airside and our Main Terminal.”

Los Angeles International’s top ranking was due in part to offering three lounges with family rooms and a kids’ play area. California has three airports in the top 10.

“Traveling with children can be an exciting adventure for the whole family, but it also presents unique challenges,” says Alex Miller, Founder of Upgraded Points. “A trip to the airport can be dampened by issues like finding a family restroom or not having WiFi for your kid’s devices.”

The study scored the 45 busiest U.S. airports across 15 ranking factors deemed most vital to smooth family travel. More than 800 parents were surveyed as well to learn about their experiences when traveling with kids, like which airport amenities matter most to them when it comes to family travel. Insights gathered from these responses were used to determine the factor weights in the ranking.

Here are some other findings from the study:

  • 49% of parents describe traveling with their kids as an overwhelming experience, highlighting the need for airports to prioritize family-friendly facilities and services.
  • Access to fast WiFi and charging stations are the most important airport amenities for parents traveling with children, with 78% sharing this sentiment.
  • 34% of parents have slightly reduced their travel frequency since becoming parents, and 25% travel much less. Despite this, nine in 10 parents consider their children to be “good” flyers.

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