“I would love to introduce kid’s class,” the Virgin Atlantic President tells Conde Nast Traveler. “It would be a separate cabin for kids with nannies to look after them.”
Abu Dhabi-based Etihad airlines recently began using “flying nannies” to tend to youngsters during flights, but the kids still sit with their families. Branson seems to want to create an in-flight version of the kiddie pool, where parents can leave their offspring in the care of someone else for a bit while they hang with the adults.
Alas, those pesky regulators are throwing a wrench into his plans.
“We’ve had an issue with the Civil Aviation Authority,” laments Branson. “They worry in an emergency kids would be running in one direction and their parents would be running in the other. So we haven’t got it through yet.”
As nice as his idea sounds on its face, the reality would likely be a nightmare — and not just in emergencies.
Getting on the plane with your family is already a slog, even if your group is seated in the same row. Now, instead of having to get up and down a few times to make sure your kids are buckled in and have everything they need for the trip, you’d have to run back and forth between cabins.
Then when your kid gets antsy in the middle of the flight and starts making requests that only a parent could understand, are you expected to get up and go to the kids’ section, or are the nannies supposed to decipher every possible form of kid-speak. Let’s also not forget that Virgin has a lot of international travelers whose children might not understand English.
And what happens when there’s turbulence and the sounds of crying and wailing children makes its way back to the other passengers? Good luck trying to quell that storm, Branson.
As nice as the idea of flying sans children sounds, it’s probably best to just invest in a good pair of headphones.