A new matching services hopes to connect passengers who need to travel with their kids with nannies to help them inflight in exchange for travel assistance or cash.
The business is called AirPair (pairing up people for air travel, and sounds like au pair,
a young foreign person, typically a woman, who helps with housework or child care in exchange for room and board.
Flying with children is challenging which I’m certainly learning. When my daughter was 3 months old we took her to Paris. At 5 months old we took her to Sydney. Those trips were easy – she slept through most of the flights. Now Phoenix, New York, or Orlando take far more preparation and focus. No doubt many families don’t travel because of how difficult it is (even without the fear and derision from other passengers).
Launched a year and a half ago, the service so far is focused solely on US – Tel Aviv and is described as perfect for someone who wants assistance inflight but isn’t looking to pay someone to stay with them throughout their trip.
Here’s how it works: If you’re in need of an extra pair of hands en route to the Jewish state, all you have to do is visit AirPair’s website. Alana will match you with a fellow traveler who is willing and able to help.
…According to Alana, they’re everyone from “college students and yeshiva students to businessmen and grandmothers.” Just like not all Airbnb rentals are hotels or motels, not all AirPairs are professional babysitters or caregivers. But most of the 1,000 or so sitters on her roster have some experience with childcare and all of them receive some training from AirPair.
Prices vary in the marketplace, “some may charge $20 an hour, others get paid the full ticket price and then some” although there are some people who “even volunteer their service for free as a mitzvah.” The site takes a percentage of the fee.
It’s not just families that use the service, it’s expanded to help elderly, disabled, and unaccompanied minor travelers as well, “like a 94-year-old Holocaust survivor flying to Israel to see her grandson.”
This is probably far more reliable than banking on help from an Etihad nanny (and Etihad doesn’t serve Israel in any case) or getting help entertaining your kids from a flight attendant.
(HT: Adam G.)