Etihad Airways has come up with an idea to help relieve some of the stress parents face when flying long haul with small children by setting up a Flying Nanny service.
These Mary Poppins of the skies bustle up and down the aisles, ensuring the youngest passengers are kept comfortable and entertained during their flight. The service starts at the boarding gate and doesn’t stop until the plane has landed and passengers have safely disembarked.
Staff, clad in orange aprons, perform a range of activities for families, including preparing bassinets for babies, refilling bottles, escorting children to their seats and keeping them entertained with a host of tactics, such as face-painting and magic tricks.
According to the airline, each Flying Nanny has undertaken an in-depth and intensive training course at Bath's Norland College, which is an institution that has been training childcare professionals since 1892.
The service comes at no extra cost and may delight all passengers, not just parents, as loud and excited children can quickly become an irritant for those looking for a quiet and relaxing flight.
Aubrey Tiedt, Etihad Airways' vice-president of guest services, said: “Flying with a young family can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced travellers, and the Flying Nanny role demonstrates our understanding of our guests' needs and our commitment to making the journey as relaxing and comfortable as possible.”
“The Flying Nanny will liaise with parents and use their experience and knowledge to make the travel experience easier. This includes helping serve children's meals early in the flight and offering activities and challenges to help entertain and occupy younger guests.”
According to the airline, the staff are on-hand to help with older children as well as the very young, as they can dole out quizzes and challenges to help keep them occupied until the plane lands. The nannies can also take the kids on yours of the galley during quieter moments of the flight.
The service helped Etihad Airways win the ‘Best Up in the Air Experience’ award at the recent Future Travel Experience Global event.