You board the plane, a toddler at your side, a baby in your arms and enough gear to last a lifetime. The flight is twelve hours. You step off the plane rested, refreshed and looking forward to your holiday. Hang on. Rested and refreshed? Yes. Welcome to the world of in-flight nannies.
Three hundred of Etihad Airways’ staff will be donning orange aprons and brushing up their face painting and origami skills as dedicated Flying Nannies. As well as being fully equipped to entertain children on long-haul flights, the staff training for the nannies has included guidance on child psychology and sociology.
In a move away from the standard colouring book and pencils, the Flying Nannies provide craft packs that include straws, stickers and cardboard and then, most importantly, guide the children with their in-flight creations. The Flying Nannies also have a few magic tricks up their sleeves (literally), can make sock puppets and have some imaginative uses for the standard-issue paper cup. Older children can look forward to galley tours and specifically designed quizzes and word games.
There are plans to expand the program to include five hundred Flying Nannies, with the service as standard on all flights by the end of the year. It’s certainly an encouraging move for families who like to travel, particularly when some airlines are doing the opposite and creating ‘child-free’ zones.
What do you think, would you be more likely to take kids on a long-haul flight knowing this service was available?