Airline Hires “Flying Nannies” To Give Parents A Break On Board. But Will It Help?

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 4 2013 6:50 PM

Airline Hires “Flying Nannies” To Give Parents A Break On Board. But Will It Help?

73714676
The first flight from Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, to Sydney marks the opening of the airline's new non-stop route.

Photo by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images

Long haul flights can be a pain. Throw a screaming child into the pressurized cabin mix and, no matter how sympathetic you are, it can turn into a sleepless disaster.

Etihad Airways, however, thinks it has the solution: “Flying Nannies.” The United Arab Emirates national airline has not, in fact, trained its air stewards to fly, but they have beefed up on child-friendly training. The “Flying Nannies” will not only have the usual childcare essentials at their disposal—stickers, sock puppets, magic tricks, general arts and crafts—the onboard parental assistants have book learning to back up their methods, says the airline.

Advertisement

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.

While it certainly can’t hurt to have a steward that doubles as a magician, some of the ideas seem like, well, a bit of a stretch. “The Flying Nanny will also frequently use service items such as paper cups which can be made into hats and the Japanese art of origami to fold paper into sculptures,” says the airline. “All activities are designed so the Flying Nanny can leave the children to produce and complete on their own.”

In other words, back to you mom and dad! Don't get too comfortable.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Behold
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 19 2014 6:22 PM Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.