Etihad Offers In-Flight Nannies

Etihad Airways offers in-flight child-care specialists.

Etihad Airways offers in-flight child-care specialists.


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Families heading to the United Arab Emirates will get a new perk when they fly Etihad Airways: The UAE’s flag-carrier has launched a dedicated in-flight child-care assistance program for families, led by the introduction of a new Flying Nanny onboard long-haul flights.

While nannies will not be available for each child, they will be available to provide a “helping hand” to families and unaccompanied minors. During July and August, 300 Etihad Airways cabin crew members completed enhanced training for the role. An additional 60 were trained in September and 500 Flying Nannies will be working across Etihad Airways flights by the end of 2013.

What makes this training special? The course includes in-depth training from Norland College concentrating on child psychology and sociology, enabling the Flying Nannies to identify different types of behavior and developmental stages that children go through and how to appreciate the perspective and needs of traveling families. In addition, the course also covers many different creative ways the Flying Nanny can entertain and engage with children during flights. 

Some of those “creative ways” will come from a special kit filled with straws, stickers, cardboard and other items that the nanny can use to teach simple arts and crafts (think creating greeting cards). Nannies can also help kids make sock puppets from the slippers included in guests’ travel packs and stickers from the kit. And for something extra-cool, the nannies will be able to teach kids simple magic tricks that we’re sure will impress mom and dad. 

Other services will include helping serve children’s meals early in the flight and offering activities and challenges to help entertain and occupy younger guests. The Flying Nanny will use service items such as paper cups that can be made into hats, and the Japanese art of origami to fold paper into sculptures. Notably, all activities are designed so the Flying Nanny can leave the children on their own to finish their projects.

For older children, the Flying Nanny can hand out quizzes and challenges to keep them occupied as well as taking them on tours of the galley during quieter moments of the flight.

Toward the end of the flight, the Flying Nanny will help parents by replenishing milk bottles, and offering items such as water, fruit and other snacks (especially useful if the family is rushing to catch another flight).

The Flying Nanny will help mom and dad, too, advising families transiting at Abu Dhabi about the various baby-changing and child facilities at the airport, as well as pointing them toward a children’s play area at Gate 32 in Terminal 3, and to the premium lounges.

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