I saw an article in one of my favourite online travel tech sites called Tnooz.com which perked my interest. Written by Karthick Prabu, the article is about a relatively new service called Nanny in the Clouds, which attempts to match parents who are flying with kids with potential nannies who will be travelling on the same flight.
According to the company website: “Nanny in the Clouds was born after a mom took a flight from the West Coast to the East Coast with her very energetic 2 year old. “How do parents fly alone with more than one child?” she thought. Frazzled by flying with just one bouncy kid, she thought of how much easier it would be if she had an extra set of hands.”
The concept of the website is to match parents with helpers who will be paid a fee for their services.
According to founder Julie Melnick: “here is currently no other way for parents flying with young children to get any special help to get through the security checkpoint, to help keep their kids occupied during flight delays, to help keep them happy on a five hour flight, and more.
Why not take advantage of the unlimited resources out there, such as the college students, retired teachers, grandmas, people who love to smile at babies on a plane, and ask them for help!
They will make money while sitting on the plane. Why wouldn’t they help? They are sitting there anyway, and if they are really a “kid friendly” person they will probably end up helping the mom out a bit for free.”
The cost to parents would work out at about USD12.50 per hour, and for the nanny, the fee they make would go towards paying their fare.
Nanny in the Clouds is an interesting concept, but it needs some sort of airline participation for it to succeed. For instance, the nannies would need to be seated near the parent in order for the scheme to work well. If the nanny was sitting considerably far away from the parent and children, there is the possibility that unruly children would upset more passengers than if the kids were kept together.
Also, parents are, in effect, asking complete strangers to look after their children, no matter how well intentioned the nanny would be. In unfamiliar settings young children normally cling to their parents so their behaviour may actually deteriorate when in the care of strangers.
One other aspect about this scheme also concerns me: I anticipate that only responsible parents would use the scheme. Those irresponsible parents who allow their kids to run riot on a plane anyway wouldn’t care enough to hire someone to look after their little monsters, so other passengers, including the parents who have hired flying nannies, will still have their flights ruined by those marauding brats.