Many people think of nannies as professionals who only work in the home, but access to experienced childcare should be available everywhere — even at 35,000 feet, at least according to Etihad Airways. The carrier, based in the United Arab Emirates, has already trained 300 crew members to be in-flight nannies and expects their numbers to increase to 500 by the end of 2013. The so-called Flying Nannies will help unaccompanied minors and families for the duration of the flight.
"Flying with a young family can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced travelers, and the Flying Nanny role demonstrates our understanding of our guests' needs and our commitment to making the journey as relaxing and comfortable as possible," said Aubrey Tiedt, Etihad's vice president of Guest Services, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.
The Flying Nannies, who can be identified by their orange aprons, will offer arts and crafts activities for children including instruction on Japanese origami and sock puppets. Etihad says all the activities are designed so that the Flying Nanny can leave the children to produce their creations without disturbing the rest of the cabin. Older children will have the option of doing quizzes and brain challenges. During quieter moments of the flight, the nannies may also take the kids on tours of the aircraft.
The Flying Nannies are no novices to to childcare. According to Etihad, the majority have previously worked in a domestic staff position, and all have had formal education in child psychology and sociology.
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