Flying Families Get A Helping Hand From Sky-High Nannies

20 July 2015
Read Time: 1.8 mins

If you’re travelling with tots in tow, even the most organised parents may come undone on the plane somewhere between the food service and the in-flight entertainment, and while transiting through (multiple) bathroom stops. Most international airlines offer great activity packs and considerations for families travelling with children, but Etihad Airways has the most family-friendly cabins in the skies with its Flying Nanny childcare assistance initiative, introduced in 2013.

 Flying Nannies lend a helping hand in the air. (Image: Etihad Airways)

While it’s not quite Mary Poppins with her airborne umbrella, a Flying Nanny (or two on popular flights to London and within the USA) is on board all long-haul Etihad services to assist families travelling with children and unaccompanied minors. Where possible, the Flying Nanny will meet travelling children at the gate before the flight.

“Travelling with children can be a daunting task, so the presence of a cabin crew member with specialist childcare training ensures that families receive a high level of support and are as comfortable as possible,” says an Etihad Airways spokesperson.


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Identified by a distinct bright orange apron, each Flying Nanny trains with the world-renowned Norland College, a UK-based childcare institution, to understand how to best assist the needs of travelling families. Over 1,000 Flying Nannies have passed with, ahem, flying colours so far.

“The Flying Nanny service has been very popular among parents,” says the Etihad Airways spokesperson. “Flying Nannies are on hand to assist families by helping to seat children, serve children’s meals, and supervise children when their parents need to move around the cabin. The most common feedback is that parents appreciate the extra helping hand the Flying Nanny provides.”

 Kids on the move at Abu Dhabi Airport.

While they won’t take your offspring off your hands completely, every Flying Nanny is equipped with a range of games and activities to keep your travelling tykes entertained, including origami, art and crafts, hand puppets, colouring, face painting and magic tricks. For the older kids, there’s dedicated in-flight entertainment, quizzes and challenges to keep them occupied, and even galley tours during the quieter moments of the flight.

You’ll also find their assistance extends to helping parents replenish milk bottles as well as sourcing snacks, fruit and water if the family is transiting to another flight. On the ground, Abu Dhabi International Airport has play areas in the premium lounges and at Gate 32 in Terminal 3.

Transiting or departing First Class and Business Class passengers can also take advantage of Etihad Family Rooms in the First Class and Business Class lounges at Abu Dhabi, Dublin, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Manchester, Washington D.C. and Sydney. Etihad Family Rooms contain books, toys, TV and offer a children’s menu, and nannies are also on hand to keep an eye on the little ones while parents relax and enjoy the lounge facilities.

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Visit your local Flight Centre store or call 131 600 for more advice and the latest deals on flying with Etihad Airways.

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Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.