Etihad introduces “flying nannies”

Etihad announced today that they’ve launched a “flying nannies” program, whereby select cabin crew members have gone through training to become in-flight nannies. So far 300 cabin crew have completed the training for the role, while 500 will have completed the training by the end of 2013.

This suggests to me that the flight attendants being trained aren’t exclusively going to be “flying nannies,” but instead just have an added certification, much like a flight attendant may be purser qualified, language qualified, etc.

It’s interesting to contrast this to Emirates’ first class shower attendants, for example, of which there are two on every longhaul A380 flight. Their only job is to clean the two first class shower suites and at intervals clean the other bathrooms on the plane. They’re not actually flight attendants, have a totally different contract, have to share hotels on layovers, etc.

So what exactly will the flying nannies be doing?

The flying nanny will liaise with parents and use their experience and knowledge to make the travel experience easier. This includes helping serve childrenā€™s meals early in the flight and offering activities and challenges to help entertain and occupy younger guests.

Etihad said that towards 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 if the family is transiting to another flight.

I’m not sure if Etihad forgot that in most cases you can’t bring fruit into a country for a connecting flight, but I suppose the intent is nice. šŸ˜‰

My guess is that this is more hype than anything, and to some degree I think they’re setting people up for disappointment. I’m sure to some people “flying nanny” will mean someone you can leave your toddler with for the entire flight, and not just someone that performs basic services for kids that you’d expect from any cabin crew member at a top airline.

Now, if only they could have story time like Air New Zealand…

Filed Under: Etihad
  1. They might not be “nannies” in the true sense of the word, but this is a nice counter balance after two airlines recently introduced child-free cabins.

  2. Do NZ still have story time? All mention is gone from their website and there was no mention of it a month ago on PER – AKL and AKL – LAX flights…

  3. @Thrifty Tourist – I am personally THRILLED with the idea of child-free cabins. The single greatest contributing factor to my unhappiness aboard an aircraft is the presence of screaming human beings in my vicinity. I understand that crying babies are a part of life, but it would seem to me that it makes sense to group the crying babies together, rather than to distribute them so evenly throughout the cabin that the ceaseless sound of dying rabbits pervades every cubic inch of the aircraft. But hey, what do I know?

  4. @thriftytourist:
    What do you do about the grown adults that act like kids? Is that a part of life? It’s not but being a child is. Next time when my son and I are on an airplane we will recognize you as the arrogant, egocentric person screaming at the flight attendant because you didn’t get your warm towel. Man, what rubbish!

  5. @Amit – Haha! Thanks for the laugh. And thanks for repeating what I already stated – that crying babies are a part of life. The only thing that might have made your post better is if it actually contained some semblance of logic, as opposed to the baseless personal attack that you opted to go with. But hey, what do I know? šŸ˜‰

  6. This is a great example of an airline understanding that families want (and have the right) to travel. The one thing I hear over and over again from families when talking to me about traveling is the fear of flying and the dirty looks they get when they board the plane. How wonderful that an airline recognizes this and will make it a little easier.

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