Flight Plan

When F for flying and F for fun come together

Ashwini Phadnis | Updated on January 17, 2018

From nannies to crafted meals, international airlines are pampering the young fliers

Animation movies and simple amenity kits are passé. Airlines are bringing out the goodies, and nannies, to woo their young fliers; and with them, their parents.

The most innovative perhaps is the concept of Flying Nanny on Etihad Airways, which has specially trained nannies on its long and ultra-long haul flights from its base in Abu Dhabi. Whilethe cabin crew are trained to provide childcare, looking after children on a flight is clearly no child’s play. That is why the nannies are trained at the London-based Norland College, enabling them to identify different types of behaviour and developmental stages that children go through and appreciate the needs of travelling families.

“We now often have two Flying Nannies on our most popular flights, especially to London and destinations in the United States,” says Aubrey Tiedt, Etihad Airways’ Vice President, Guest Services. Where possible, a Flying Nanny meets ‘her children’ at the gate before the flight, co-ordinates the children’s meal times with families.

Yummy menus

Airlines are also using innovative food menus to attract young fliers. Virgin Atlantic has worked with TV cook Lorraine Pascale to create some fun children’s dishes including the marvellous mac’n’cheese with pancetta pieces, crispy tender chicken strips with potato wedges and crushed peas and sweet and sour pork balls. Rival British Airways follows a `Feed Kids First’ policy which means that “your little ones are happy, so that you can enjoy your meal in peace.”

David Lim, General Manager, India, Singapore Airlines points out that in-flight cuisine for children must cater to three different aspects – nutrition, taste and visual appeal. “While we offer age-specific meals for all our cabin classes, we have specially curated the Yummy and Healthy Yummy menus for kids travelling in Suites, First and Business Class with a wide range of choices according to their meal preferences,” he points out.

Amenity kits have evolved. In a Singapore Airlines flight, children receive special amenity kits that include stationery, colouring and puzzle books and limited edition stuffed toys. On board the intercontinental KLM flights,which flies about a million children a year, every child two years and older, receives a Bluey play set, containing a memory game and tic tac toe, and items such as pencils and , card game..

German airline Lufthansa and Miles & More, its frequent flier programme, run a free club called JetFriends for children and teenagers. Open to children and teenagers aged 2 to 17 years, the club provides a look into the world of aviation and behind the scenes at Lufthansa as well as plenty of competitions.

During a flight, children can participating in a 10-question quiz. If they answer all the questions which range from what is the first thing that you do at an airport to what happens at a security check, then they win an airport licence.

Published on August 23, 2016

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