Air travel with children is a major challenge at the best of times. Add in boredom, hunger or diaper issues and even the most confident parent can crumple into a sticky, defeated mess. It’s no way to start or finish a holiday.
Enter Nanny In The Clouds, a new California-based service that matches families with fellow travellers who can lend a hand – or two.
Parents are paired with people who are already on their flights and are willing to help at any stage, whether its getting through security or helping with mealtime.
Founder Julie Melnick told Today.com that her inspiration came firsthand – from travelling solo with her two-year-old, his car seat and her various carry-ons.
“My child didn’t want to sit still and he needed to be walked up and down the aisle 5,000 times,” Ms. Melnick told TODAY.com. “It was just such a draining experience.”
Once a match is made, parents pay $10 for an introduction to a potential babysitter, reports Today.com. Then it’s up to them to set fees and carve out duties.
“We’re recommending the going rate, which is $10 to $20 an hour,” Ms. Melnick said. “But a lot of people are willing to pay a premium when they’re travelling.”
Nannies provide two references when they sign up, but the site doesn’t do extensive background checks. “If they’re a teacher, a college student or a grandma, they are qualified in our eye,” said Ms. Melnick.
Some experts said the nannies might not be the salve parents are looking for.
“I would predict more crying, not less,” Suzanne Rowan Kelleher, editor-in-chief at We Just Got Back, told the site. “Most small kids would want to sit with their parents, not a stranger, on a flight.”
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