Airline Introduces ‘Flying Nannies’

They will make sock puppets, but they won't change diapers

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Hans Neleman / Riser / Getty Images

First Singapore’s Scoot Airlines boasts child-free sections and Nanny in the Clouds connects parents with nannies traveling on the same plane for a fee. Now Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, offers its own “Flying Nannies,” who are specially trained to entertain children on long-haul flights.

(MORE: Nanny in the Clouds: In-Flight Nannies)

“The Flying Nanny will liaise with parents and use their experience and knowledge to make the travel experience easier,” Aubrey Tiedt, Etihad Airways’ Vice President for Guest Services, said in press release. “This includes helping serve children’s meals early in the flight and offering activities and challenges to help entertain and occupy younger guests.”

Flying Nannies will engage children in activities ranging from performing magic tricks to making crafts, origami and sock puppets. They will also give the older ones quizzes and tours of the plane. They will not, however, change diapers or take youngsters to the bathroom, “due to legalities and safety,” according to the airline’s website.

Etihad Airways’ all-female fleet of Flying Nannies were sent to England’s prestigious nanny-training school, Norland College, to study child psychology, sociology and child development. There the trainees were taught “to identify different types of behavior and developmental stages that children go through and how to appreciate the perspective and needs of traveling families.”

The airline plans to bring 500 “Flying Nannies” on board; 300 have already been trained by the Bath-based college and 200 more are expected to be trained by the end of the year.

MORE: Virgin Atlantic Employs ‘Whisper Coach’ to Teach Quiet in the Skies

MORESingapore’s Scoot Latest Airline to Offer Child-Free Flying Zone

14 comments
EtihadHelp
EtihadHelp

@tchu88 Thank you Tiffany! Are you planning to enjoy this new service anytime soon? Looking forward to welcoming you onboard. See you.*GC

ABlairAustin
ABlairAustin

@TIME: Airline offers 'Flying Nannies.' Pro: They'll entertain your children. Con: They don't do diapers | ti.me/17ElhBr” •ABA

PerryWhiteIII
PerryWhiteIII

@TIME Great! Another chance for parents to not have to be parents.I thought video players in minivans to keep the kids quiet was the epitome

EtihadHelp
EtihadHelp

@hattiegoodman Thank you Harriet for your kind words, it would be our pleasure to help and delight our guests with our services.*AS

EtihadHelp
EtihadHelp

@hattiegoodman Thank you Harriet for your kind words, it would be our pleasure to help and inspire our delight with our services.*AS

FyshGrrL
FyshGrrL

I am not a "pro" nanny, but I babysat for children from the time I was 10 until my mid-20s.  I took developmental psychology in college; I have worked with kids of varying ages - everything from scouts to church youth to juvenile delinquents.  I had my own child when I was 33.  When our family flew, I always took a variety of activities, books, crafts, etc. with which to entertain my son.  We once made "barf bag" puppets that were the hit of SW Airlines flight crew and were subsequently used to deliver pre-flight instructions!  I frequently ended up including other children in our activities, as few parents seem to bring anything for kids, but I also found ADULTS who loved to join in, too. Nannies undoubtedly meet a need for those with more money than time, but this is something any parent can accomplish with a little forethought, planning, and patience.