If you’re about to head off on a long haul flight with your baby, you’ll probably be slightly nervous. No wonder then the very phrase “flying nanny” takes the edge off!

It’s true, flying long haul is probably unlikely to be the favourite part of your travels with a baby – a fact airlines like Etihad Airways are starting to realise.

Etihad launched its program a few years ago, by training around 1000 flight attendants to be the nanny onboard their flights. (No, it’s NOT a private nanny – you share them with other families onboard). The program has inspired other airlines to start to pick up their game in terms of family travel.

What does a flying nanny do?

We trialled Etihad’s flying nanny in 2015 with a 10 month old, and loved it. For parents with babies, the nanny was available to help lift luggage, provide nappies, assist at mealtimes, or even hold the baby while you are going to the toilet! For older kids they’ll set them up with activities to do in their seat, and just generally keep an eye on you and make sure things are going smoothly.

In our experience, some nannies are more proactive than others, but our sense was if you are proactive in asking for help, the help is certainly there.

Overall, the service was useful enough that it would encourage us to fly with Etihad again. We also had a stopover on the way, which made the long flight from Australia to Europe easier to handle. Are stopovers worth it? We think so – but you read and decide.

What is Etihad’s flying nanny program like?

For a full review of Sue’s trial of Etihad’s flying nanny program, Flying Nanny story which appeared in Out & About With Kids magazine.

Pre-boarding staff entertaining baby
Even in the Etihad lounge the staff were keen to play with the baby.
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Aussie journalist, travel writer and founder of babieswhotravel.com Sue White has always been a traveller. When her son was born, Sue knew her travel itch would still need regular scratching. But how do you travel with a baby under one and still have a good time? Is it even possible? Where do busy new parents discover practical tips to support those first few trips? To find out, Sue and her baby son travelled both Australia and Europe doing house sits and house swaps; cat sitting and car journeys; took on 24 hours flights and short domestic jaunts; travelled with friends, solo and family members; and cycled, drove, flew and train-ed around seven countries, all before his first birthday. Learn more about Sue.