Let’s face it: the only thing worse than flying economy on long-haul flights is flying with children – whether you’re a parent or a single passenger. The seat-kicking, the crying, and if there’s a particularly monstrous little tike onboard, the food-throwing, is enough to push you over the edge and reconsider flying altogether. I’ve had instances on flights with kids onboard where opening the emergency exit and leaving it all up to fate have seemed like an attractive option.
Etihad Airways has fortunately intervened by introducing their ‘Flying Nanny’ service on all long-haul flights. The service aims at helping entertain youngsters to ensure parents (and passengers) get their much deserved peace and quiet onboard long-haul flights. The free service is said to begin at boarding gates and continue until families have safely disembarked from the plane. These orange-clad saviors, who are all cabin crew members, have completed “in-depth training at Bath’s Norland College, an institution which has been training childcare professionals since 1892”, according to The Daily Mail.
Making sure passengers have as relaxing an experience as possible, the nannies are available to look after unaccompanied minors, prepare bassinets for babies, refill bottles, seat youngsters, and keep children entertained with activities such as crafts, face-painting and magic tricks.
The flying nannies also offer services for older children, such as simple quizzes, challenges, and games, to keep them occupied during quieter moments of the flight. Etihad Airways’ Vice President of Guest Service, Audrey Tiedt said, “The Flying Nanny will liaise with parents and use their experience and knowledge to make the travel experience easier.”
The service also won the airline the ‘Best Up In The Air Experience’ award at the Future Travel Experience Global event. Let’s just hope that other airlines follow suit, because the last thing anyone wants is 300 irritated and sleep-deprived people crammed into a metal tube.