By the end of this year, Etihad Airways will have 500 Flying Nannies on board its long haul flights to provide a "helping hand" to families and unaccompanied minors.
Etihad Flying Nanny
Flying Nanny in Orange
Wearing eye-catching bright orange aprons, the specially trained Etihad's Flying Nannies will entertain and engage with children during long flights.
Over the last few months, the airline has trained 360 cabin crew members as Flying Nannies and another 140 will complete training by the end of December.
To enable the Flying Nanny to identify different behavior and developmental stages that children go through and how to appreciate needs of traveling families, the airline's cabin crew members have received in-depth training on child psychology and sociology from Norland College.
Etihad's VP of guest services Aubrey Tiedt expects Flying Nannies will leverage their experience and knowledge and work with parents to make the travel experience comfortable.
Keeping Kids occupied
Besides serving children’s meals early in the flight, Flying Nannies will offer activities and challenges to entertain younger travelers.
A Flying Nanny will use a special kit containing straws, stickers, cardboard and other items to teach simple arts and crafts such as creating special greeting cards for friends and family.
The Flying Nanny will also use onboard service items like paper cups that can be made into hats and the Japanese art of origami to fold paper into sculptures. The activities are designed so the Flying Nanny can leave the children to produce and complete on their own.
Flying Nannies will also teach children simple magic tricks to keep them occupied.
The Flying Nanny program also has activities for older children like quizzes and challenges to keep them occupied as well as taking them on tours of the galley during quieter moments of the flight.
Towards the end of the flight, Flying Nannies will assist parents by replenishing milk bottles, and offering water, fruit and other snacks if the family is transiting to another flight.
For families transiting at Abu Dhabi, Flying Nannies will provide information on various baby changing and child facilities at the airport including about the children’s play area at Gate 32 in Terminal 3, and in the premium lounges.
If Etihad's Flying Nanny program turns out as planned, it should be a big hit with families on long haul flights and one that other airlines will want to emulate.