Kid-friendly flying: Airline offers on-board nannies

By Lisa Respers France, CNNPublished 17th October 2014
Etihad Airways trained crew members to be in-flight nannies to young passengers.
Does your baby cry during long flights, causing you to want to disappear from the glares of fellow passengers?
One airline is offering a perk that means your fussy baby would no longer be your problem.
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways offers free "Flying Nannies" to tend to children on long flights, according to a report from the Daily Mail. Consider it the ultimate in concierge service for parents, who can hand off their little ones to crew members who have been trained to care for their children.
Hungry kid? No worries, the Flying Nanny can feed your progeny early. Bored to tears? The group is trained to entertain even the squirmiest of tots. The nannies are obvious by their orange aprons, and even trained are even trained in child psychology.
The service helped Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, win Best Up in the Air Experience distinction from the Future Travel Experience Awards in September. The award drew more attention to the nanny program.
"Across the carrier's existing fleet, travellers in all classes can also enjoy a range of other amenities ranging from the 'Flying Nanny' onboard childcare service and next-generation in-flight entertainment, to onboard menus created by a hand-selected team of world-class chefs," according to an FTE Awards release.
"Flying with a young family can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced travellers, 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, vice president of guest services for the airline. "The Flying Nanny will liaise with parents and use their experience and knowledge to make the travel experience easier."
Adam Weissenberg, vice chairman and U.S. leader of Deloitte's travel, hospitality and leisure sector, told USA Today that the airline was creative and forward thinking in offering the service. But swaying parents -- even those anxious to get a little help with their kids -- will still come down to dollars and cents he said.
"At the end of the day, travelers still look at price first," Weissenberg said. "However, if prices are close or equal, perks like these could well sway a traveler's decision."