Etihad Airways has launched a dedicated in-flight child care assistance program for families, led by the introduction of a new Flying Nanny on board long haul flights. Identified by bright orange aprons, each Flying Nanny is there to provide a “helping hand” to families and unaccompanied minors. They will also introduce children to the collectable Etihad characters — Zoe the bee, Jamool the camel, Kundai the lion, and Boo the panda — who accompany them on their trip.

During the past two months 300 Etihad Airways cabin crew members have completed enhanced training for the role. A further 60 will be trained this month and 500 Flying Nannies will be working across Etihad Airways flights by the end of the year. The course includes in-depth training from the world renowned Norland College, concentrating on child psychology and sociology, enabling the Flying Nannies to identify different types of behaviour and developmental stages that children go through and how to appreciate the perspective and needs of travelling families. In addition the course also cover creative ways in which to entertain and engage with children during flights.

A key on-board highlight is set to be the creation of sock puppets, which uses stickers from the Flying Nanny kit as eyes and the socks from the guest’s travel pack. In addition to the arts and crafts, the Flying Nannies can also teach children simple magic tricks, which helps retain their focus and interest while seated. For older children, the Flying Nanny is equipped with simple quizzes and challenges to keep them occupied as well as taking them on tours of the galley during quieter moments of the flight. 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. The Flying Nanny will also advise families that are transiting at Abu Dhabi about the various baby changing and child facilities at the airport, as well as informing them that there is a children’s play area at Gate 32 in Terminal 3, and in the premium lounges. (