EasyJet open a library in the skies

The words “budget airline” and “flying with kids” are phrases that strike fear into the heart of most parents.

But if you are travelling with EasyJet this summer, your child will be invited to borrow a book from its ‘Flybraries’, an initiative with the National Literacy Trust to promote reading.

The airline’s fleet of around 300 planes will be stocked with 17,500 copies of children’s books, in seven different languages.

Classics like The Secret Garden, The Jungle Book and Alice in Wonderland will be available alongside more modern titles such as Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith.

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It follows a study by EasyJet and the National Literacy Trust which found that 38 per cent of six to 12 years olds have fewer than ten books at home, with the average British child only reading 11 books for pleasure a year. More worryingly, almost one in ten children aged eight to 18 do not own a book at all.

Parents polled also rated reading as eighth in a list of activities their child took most pleasure in – behind watching TV, playing on a smartphone or tablet, and playing video games.

This is the second year EasyJet has offering young passengers free books to read. Last year ten titles were on offer, chosen by bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson, although only half of the fleet carried them onboard.

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Tina Milton, Director of Cabin Crew at EasyJet, said: “This summer we will fly approximately five million families across Europe on their summer holidays and our in-flight lending library is stocked with over 17,500 books ready for children to pick up, read and then leave behind for the next passenger.

“Reading is so important for fuelling a child’s development, vocabulary and imagination and a flight provides the perfect opportunity for them to get stuck into a book. We are passionate about creating family-friendly initiatives that make flying with us fun and easier for parents.”

The only snag I can see with this scheme is persuading a hooked young reader to leave their half finished book behind – and wait potentially another two weeks to find out the ending on the return leg!

However, passengers will be able to download free samples of the stories once they land, as well as enter the airline’s annual writing competition at flybrariesbookclub.com

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5 thoughts on “EasyJet open a library in the skies

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  1. Doesn’t it make more sense to expect passengers bring their own literature or stop by the local library before boarding?

    Why invest the weight/fuel on books that are generally going to be flying back and forth rarely perused.

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    1. That’s an interesting point. My take would be that passengers tend to fly as light as possible (especially because budget airlines have very restrictive hand luggage allowances and high fees for heavy bags) so might avoid taking a good old fashioned book in their bag in favour of a lighter mobile phone packed with games for the kids.

      Also, children aren’t always responsible for what is packed in their own bag or may choose toys over books, so this is offering an alternative choice which may spark a love of literature.

      They say there are 17,500 books between 300 aircraft which is about 60 per plane. A paperback kids book probably weighs no more than 1lb so that’s only a couple of suitcases worth per plane. I’d certainly rather my child flick through Alice In Wonderland than the inflight mag. I know I would!

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  2. I have worked for over 30 years helping to create library environments of all kinds nationally and internationally. This is the most innovative but “right in front of us all the time” addition to what is often a confining and perhaps unpleasant flying experience!

    Any books for us old folks?

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    1. That’s a great point! A book could be a lovely distraction if a child is fearful. It could also help a fearful parent to keep their child occupied. I definitely think books for the grown ups to borrow should be next!

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