While channel surfing last night I came across a piece on Nanny in the Clouds.
Nanny in the Clouds is a service that matches parents and babysitters on an airplane. Parents can hire a babysitter to assist them when flying. The nanny makes herself available before the flight to assist with check-in and getting through security, during the flight, and after the flight until the parents have collected their bags.
The theory and concept is great but the reality is impractical. And here are my reasons why parents won’t use an in-flight babysitter or nanny.
Why Nanny in the Clouds Won’t Fly
Nanny in the Clouds recommends that parents pay the babysitter $20 an hour.
Parents who could afford to pay $20 an hour for an in-flight nanny can afford to bring their own nanny on board.
Most parents can’t afford or wouldn’t dream of paying someone $20 an hour to assist with their children on a flight.
Transatlantic flights, where the Nanny in the Clouds concept would work best, are 5 – 6 hour flights. When you factor in the two hours before flight for check-in, getting through security and boarding, along with the one after the flight to de-board and collect bags, a 5-6 hour flight becomes 8-9 hours and would cost $160-$180.
A parent who refuses to pay for a separate seat for their children, despite documentation showing that children are safer in their own seat, would never pay $160-$180 for an in-flight babysitter.
2) Background check
Anyone can sign up to be a babysitter with Nanny in the Clouds. There is no background check or other screening requirement.
Maybe I’m an overprotective parent, but there is no way I am going to pay an adult stranger to watch my kids in an unsecure environment. I can only imagine the things that could happen. Other passengers will assume the babysitter is a family member and won’t think twice if they take them to the restroom.
Although my boys are now teenagers, I’ve traveled alone with them when they were quite young.
Once we almost missed our flight, and if that wasn’t enough both of my boys had the stomach flu. Not only did I have all three carryon bags and personal items to deal with, the youngest wanted me to hold him. Having someone to help would have been a Godsend. But even in those circumstances, I would never allow a stranger to watch my child.
And I’m sure you’re wondering how we handled the bathroom situation. When one needed to go, we all went. It wasn’t until the oldest was taller than me that I let them use the men’s restroom unattended, because I remember Matthew Cecchi, the little boy who was murdered in the men’s restroom while his aunt waited outside. That hit home because it was near my home.
Call me paranoid and I’m okay with that. I’d much rather be labeled a paranoid mom than have regrets.
3) Expectation of service
Some parents assume it’s the flight attendant and other passenger’s job to help with their children while on board.
Here’s a thread from Flyertalk from a parent ranting that the flight attendant would not hold her child so she could rest during the flight. Keep in mind, not only did she not bring someone to help her with her child, but she also didn’t purchase a seat for her child on the 23 hour flight.
Again, I love the concept of Nanny in the Clouds and wish it success, but I don’t think many parents will utilize the service.
What are your thoughts? Would you use Nanny in the Clouds? Why or why not?
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