Etihad Airways has launched an in-flight nanny programme for families.

The airline has partnered with Bath-based Norland College to offer a specialist childcare training programme for 500 cabin crew.

Each flying nanny will provide a helping hand to parents and unaccompanied children on board all long-haul flights. They will be identified by bright orange aprons.

During the past two months 300 Etihad Airways cabin crew members have been trained to become a flying nanny and an additional 200 will work across the airline’s fleet of aircraft by the end of 2013.

The training course in Abu Dhabi teaches trainees about their role and responsibilities, such as introducing themselves at the aircraft gate and providing assistance with boarding. They also interact with and entertain children during the flight.

The course includes a day hosted by lecturers from Norland College.

Aubrey Tiedt, vice president guest services at Etihad Airways, said: “Flying with a young family can be a daunting task, even for the most experienced travellers, and the flying nanny role demonstrates our understanding of our guests’ needs and our commitment to make the journey as relaxing and comfortable as possible.

“This demonstrates our intent to go the extra step to assist all of our customers.”

Children are entertained with a special kit which contains straws, stickers, cardboard and other items which the nanny will use to teach simple arts and crafts. 

Other activities include magic tricks, while older children are given simple quizzes and challenges.