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