Flying Nannies

We’ve all been there in some shape or form: You’re on an airplane with your young child, you still have a few hours to go, and he is having a meltdown, refusing to touch any of the toys and books you brought for him. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have someone else entertain him for a while?

On one airline, you can. Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, recently announced that it is now offering “Flying Nannies” to passengers on long-haul flights.

“The Flying Nanny will liaise with parents and use their experience and knowledge to make the travel experience easier,” said Aubrey Tiedt, Etihad Airways’ Vice President of Guest Services. “This includes helping serve children’s meals early in the flight and offering activities and challenges to help entertain and occupy younger guests.”

Flying nannies

Photo Source: Etihad Airways

More than 350 women have already been hired as Flying Nannies. They’ve received training in child psychology and sociology at Norland College and learned unique and creative ways to engage and entertain kids on long flights. By the end of 2013, the airline will have a total of 500 Flying Nannies.

The nannies, clad in orange aprons, will start by introducing kids to the collectible plush Etihad animals that will accompany them on the flight. Nannies will then be able to reach into their bags of tricks to entertain kids throughout the flight. They’ll have arts-and-crafts kits containing straws, stickers, and cardboard cutouts. They’ll teach kids how to fold origami. They’ll also have sock puppets, magic tricks, paper cups for kids to turn into hats, and quizzes and challenges for older kids. All of the activities are designed so that the children can play on their own for a bit while the Flying Nannies assist other kids. Nannies will even give kids a tour of the gallery during the flight.

Towards the end of the flight, nannies will give kids milk, water, and snacks. They’ll educate families about the various child facilities and changing rooms at the airport, as well as children’s play areas.

“Flying with a young family can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced travelers,” says Tiedt. “The Flying Nanny role demonstrates our understanding of our guests’ needs and our commitment to making the journey as relaxing and comfortable as possible.”

I love the idea of the Flying Nannies and think it’s a great way to keep kids entertained on long flights. What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know!

About Jennifer Marino Walters

Jennifer Marino Walters is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in All You, Fit Pregnancy, Parenting, and several other magazines and websites. She’s the mom of adorable twin boys and the wife of a U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel. Though she and her family recently moved from the mountains of Colorado to the beaches of Southern California, Jennifer—a New York City native—is a city girl at heart. She writes about her adventures raising twins while navigating the military lifestyle on her blog, www.doubledutytwins.com

Comments

  1. Lauren V says:

    Awesome Idea! It would benefit all of the passengers, not just those with kids. It might not be necessary on the shorter flights, but I would never consider taking my hyperactive 2-year-old on an international flight! My only concern would be having someone moving around in the aisle would make a tight space even worse for the other flight attendants and passengers.

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