Beside their regular cabin duties, flight attendants of Etihad will perform also nanny duties on long-haul flights.
The Middle Eastern air carrier has trained 300 Flying Nannies to work on Etihad's long-haul flights. By the end of 2013, they will add 200 more. The 500 finished enhanced training the past two months at the Norland College nanny school in UK.
As part of their training, the Flying Nannies took in-depth training that focused on child psychology and sociology to provide them with skills to identify different kinds of behavior and developmental stages of children. The training also includes viewing the kid's behavior from the perspective and needs of travelling families.
The free service seeks to take the pressure off parents who travel with their kids who are often restless during the flight. To help these young travellers fight boredom, the Flying Nannies will encourage them to do colouring activities and crafts, and even help serve the food to the children first so that the parents could enjoy their own meals.
Among the things the Flying Nannies will teach them is how to make sock puppets and paper animals.
There will be at least one Flying Nanny for every long-haul flight, while the rest of the crew will perform their regular cabin duties such as serving food and assisting passenger as they board and disembark from the plane.
However, their nanny duties exclude changing nappies.
"It's about a helping hand really, rather than being a nanny as people might have at home here," explained an Etihad spokesman.
Nora Al Hassan, a child psychologist, added, "This is not a case where the nanny is taking the place of the mother, which happens sometimes with domestic nannies. Also, it takes some of the fright away for children who are flying alone, which is never the best option."
Other child-friendly services of Etihad includes providing baby changing and child facilities at the Abu Dhabi Airport and a children's area in the premium lounges and at Gate 32 in Terminal 3.
Etihad, though, is not the first to introduce this service since Gulf Air had Sky Nannies on some routes since 2003.
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