Etihad isn’t just dropping chefs from first class, flight attendants with restaurant experience and who are more expensive for the airline. They’re also eliminating their Flying Nannies program in partnership with Norland College. And, with Etihad’s Airbus A380s grounded, the ‘butlers’ who serve the A380 Residence (and act as flight attendants on flights without passengers traveling in the Residence) are having their duties re-assigned.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline continues apace with cost cuts to its signature programs. They launched the Flying Nannies program in 2013 as a way to help convince families to travel Etihad. They’ve offered assistance in all classes of service, and even later added activity kits.
Begin assisting you right from the boarding gate, all the way until you and your family are comfortably seated on the plane
Help onboard with the preparation of bassinets for babies
Look after unaccompanied minors
Keep children entertained while you’re enjoying a nap, in-flight meal or entertainment
Reportedly over 2000 flight attendants were trained as “childcare education specialists” by Norland College and assigned as nannies on long haul flights. Now that partnership is being terminated though the airline will continue to offer ‘Flying Nannies’ “by simply designating a member of cabin crew in that role” on eligible flights.
Meanwhile Butlers, who dressed formally when serving Residence passengers but who otherwise would be indistinguishable from other cabin crew, are being reassigned to work business class. Whether or not a Butler program will continue is contingent on whether the Airbus A380 returns to the sky for the airline, as the Residence is a product only offered on that aircraft type.
Etihad was cutting back long before the pandemic, to stem multi-billion dollar losses precipated by the airline’s ill-fated expansion program fueled by investments in since-failed carriers such as Alitalia, air berlin, Jet Airways and Virgin Australia.