Why should airports do anything for the goons who bring small children on a plane ride? We parents are asking for trouble just by setting foot in the airport, and now we also want play areas. First we expect preferential treatment like early boarding, and now THIS.
To be clear, I'm not complaining that airports don't always have fantastic play areas and kid friendly zones. It's true that, by choosing to fly with tots, I'm signing up for a certain amount of misery. However, given the choice, sometimes I'd be willing to pay another $10 on my ticket if it means I'll be routed through a fun place where my kids can get their wiggles out, rather than a yucky, smoke-filled airport with no seating and dirty floors. It's hard to find enough information to make these decisions, however, so I started a blog to help my fellow travelers. Please let me know what you think!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Beijing Capital International Airport (3 stars)

I have to say, Beijing's airport was a pleasant surprise.  While it is far from being the child-friendly haven that, say, Tokyo and Seoul have created, nevertheless Beijing's facilities for kids were better than I expected.  There is a nursing room (near gate 25) and there are also a few play areas, although I can't say whether they are available in every terminal.  I last visited this airport in November, 2009, and welcome any further input from readers who have been there!

Here, then, the complete review:

Are there one or more play areas?  There are more than one, although I can't know for sure how many.

Is there one in every terminal, after passport control? unknown

Is the play area conveniently located?  It can be a bit of a hike to the play areas, but not overly terrible.  The layout of the gates is more confusing than anything else; sometimes things are not as far away as they seem, due to some shortcut hallways.

Is there information about the play areas available online?  there are some maps on the website, but they are only in Chinese.

Are maps clearly labeled to make finding the play areas easy?  yes

Are there one or more nursing areas?  yes, near gate 25.

Description:   The play areas here were climbing/ playground style, though there was also a television that was constantly running tom and jerry.  Personally, I'm not a fan of televisions in the play area, because my kids can watch tv on the flight and I'd rather that they run around, but that's really a minor issue.  For some families the tv might be a boon during their time in transit.

Overall, we experienced 2 different play areas.  A few photos of the first one here...

And, on our way back out of the country, the second play area that we found:  Not too shabby!

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