This summer, Heathrow Airport is expecting around 189,000 families to depart from the UK for the school holidays, twice as many in July and August than any other month of the year.
Its research into family travel has shown that 43% of parents feel stressed or nervous at the idea of travelling with their children. 64% of parents said they would welcome an ‘extra’ hand when travelling through the airport. To help these families have a smoother journey, Heathrow has appointed dedicated Airporters aboard the shuttle buses in the Long Stay car parks to give parents a helping hand to and from the terminals for the summer holidays.
To ensure the Heathrow Airporters are at peak performance for the summer holiday season, each and every one is being trained to help families navigate the airport journey with at least three children, luggage and pushchairs. Each of the porters is also being put through their paces to support families with expert advice on airport travel, answer questions about changing room and high chair locations whilst also helping with their luggage.
Barbara Lee, a newly trained Heathrow Airporter in Terminal 3 Long Stay car park said: “I found the training a real challenge and it helped me understand why travelling with kids, luggage, and a lot of questions can feel overwhelming at times. I am looking forward to welcoming families to Heathrow and helping them to get their holiday underway as soon as possible.”
Paul Buckley, Heathrow’s Head of Travel Services commented:
“We want our Heathrow Airporters to better understand families and how tricky it can be navigating the airport with excited children. We hope the Heathrow Airporters will bring an extra smile to children’s faces and relief to busy parents.”
Heathrow says its new initiative will also inform families about the facilities available to them at each stage during their journey, including play areas in all terminals, the wider family lanes through security and baby changing facilities.
To help families travelling through the airport with young children, Heathrow has
family parking bays in all its Long Stay and Short Stay car parks which are closer to the terminal entrances and buses and wider to help families navigate their way with lots of baggage and young children. It also has children’s play areas in Terminals 3, 4 and 5, a family lounge in Terminal 3 with play areas for ages 0-2 and 3-9, and a discreet area for nursing mothers.
Family lanes which are wider and staffed by specially-trained “Passenger Ambassadors” help make travelling through security with children a little bit easier and the airport’s restaurants offer Kids Eat Free deals throughout the summer.
Heathrow’s new Airporters will be located on shuttle buses in all long stay car parks from July 13 until September 4, 2013.