Galley Gossip: Taking Care Of Other People’s Kids In Flight

Long ago I was on a flight from Chicago to Boston via New York when a weary woman with an active baby sat next to me. Having much experience babysitting, I was used to babies and thought I might be called upon to smile, wave and cheer up a crying baby, but never did I think that the mother would abdicate her responsibilities to me, a complete stranger.

The mom began to feel airsick (or so she said) and told me she was unable to change her baby’s diaper because she was about to throw up and asked me to do it for her. Guess what? I did it. I just felt so badly for the woman and the baby having to sit in the mess and yes, especially for myself because I could not stand the fumes either.

After the dirty job was done, she thanked me profusely and then said she was exhausted and asked me to hold her baby while she grabbed a few winks. She woke up when the wheels touched the ground to find her baby finally fast asleep on my shoulder. I prayed that they were not on my connecting flight. Am I crazy or just a Good Samaritan? Cheers, Priscilla

I’m going with Good Samaritan. I’m also going to say Thank God for passengers like you. While I can’t say that sort of thing happens often, it does happen, and not everyone is as nice about it as you were. Your act of kindness proves you’re a compassionate human being.

That said I came a cross a child acting out in a seat while we were doing the beverage service not too long ago. I couldn’t help but wonder why the mother wasn’t doing anything to keep her child entertained during the flight. Instead the mother had her eyes closed and ignored the child. Later on in flight the little girl came to the back of the airplane and asked for a soda. I went over to the mother to make sure that was okay. The woman shrugged. Not the response I expected. That’s when I asked a strange question: ​”It this your child?” The woman sighed and said no.Turns out the mother of this hyper six year-old had booked a seat in first class, leaving a complete stranger to sit beside her child in coach. I felt badly for the woman and offered her an adult beverage on the house.

Years ago on a different flight, I felt something between my feet. On this particular day I was commuting, not working, just a regular passenger wearing jeans in coach. So I didn’t necessarily look like someone you could trust. When I glanced down at the floor I found an infant staring back at me. I picked up the baby and looked around the coach cabin for someone who might be missing a child. No one fit the bill. But behind me a woman slept with her head against the window.

I tapped her on the shoulder. “Is this yours?”

“Oh, uh, yeah,” she said. She thanked me and went back to sleep.

“There’s nothing like being a new ‘uncle’ on a plane to a kid you’ll never see again,” wrote Mitch Lacey after I posted a tweet asking if anyone had ever gotten stuck taking care of somebody else’s child on an airplane.

Sonya Hamasaki had a little fun when she found herself seated next to a nine year-old. “He read me dirty jokes from his iPod. I taught him to play Candy Crush saga.”

Hopefully this won’t be a problem for long with airlines like Scoot creating child-free zones and Etihad Airways offering in-flight nannies. Not that this is an excuse to shirk responsibilities as a parent. Still you might consider packing a pair of noise canceling headsets and a nose clip next time you fly in case this should happen again.

A $4000 Eye Mask? Only On Virgin Atlantic

virgin atlantic eye masksVirgin Atlantic has done it again – this time teaming with Swarovski crystals to create the most over-the-top flight accessory we’ve seen in some time, a $4,000 sleep mask decorated with crystals depicting sunglasses ranging from the classic Wayfarer to the shutter shade made famous by Kanye West.

The cheeky masks, which, sans crystals, are now part of the Economy Class amenities kit, will be hidden in five flights from New York and LAX and hopefully discovered by newly styling passengers.

The bespoke eyeshades feature thousands of tiny red, white and blue crystals, all applied by hand by artist Saima Anwar (who also creates crystal eyelashes for celebrities such as Katy Perry). It took ten hours to make each mask, and over 3,000 Swarovski crystals.

Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class cabin has featured Swarovski crystals on the cabin walls since the launch of the Upper Class Suite in 2003, and most recently unveiled a bespoke crystal curtains onboard, adorned with over 1000 Swarovski crystals each in the revamped suite aboard A330 aircraft.

Starting this month passengers traveling in Economy will receive a new amenity kit containing eyeshades featuring one of six fabulous sunglass designs, including a pair of heart shaped sunnies, John Lennon-esque circular specs and some 80s retro shades.

Passengers in Premium Economy will receive kits in stylish charcoal gray pouches, made from recycled plastic bottles with silk linings. In Upper Class, Virgin Atlantic travelers will be presented with amenity kits made from the same recycled material, but in pouches sized perfectly to hold tablet devices and e-readers (a fabulous idea, if you ask us).

Sadly, Virgin isn’t the first airline to take a stab at producing blinged-out amenities kits. Back in 2011, Etihad launched Swarovski studded kits for their first class passengers. The rapidly expanding airline will soon fly from even more US destinations, including a direct from DC flight starting September 12.
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Etihad Airways launches direct service to Washington, DC

etihad airwaysEtihad Airways will begin daily nonstop flights from Washington, DC to Abu Dhabi on March 31, the airline announced.

“No other UAE carrier is offering nonstop services between DC and the UAE, so this capital-to-capital link is a huge opportunity for Etihad Airways,” said James Hogan, Etihad Airways’ chief executive.


The Washington region is home to America’s second largest market flying to the Middle East, after New York.

We’re wondering if the highly-acclaimed airline’s new route will cut in to Qatar Airways‘ market share. The airline had previously captured the luxury route with directs to Doha and easy UAE connections.

Last week, the US Department of Commerce released data showing that total trade volume between the US and the UAE rose to $18.3 billion in 2011, a 43 percent increase from the year before. This increase represents the highest trade volume to date between the US and UAE.
It also means that, for the third consecutive year, the UAE is the single largest export market for US goods in the Middle East.

The US is the fifth largest trade partner worldwide for the UAE.

“The point-to-point traffic between DC and Abu Dhabi is expected to contribute significantly to overall loads on the route,” Hogan added.

The direct flights will be operated by a three class A340-500 aircraft. Each flight will offer 12 Diamond First class, 28 Pearl Business class, and 200 Coral Economy seats.

Etihad, the “fastest growing airline in history,” won World’s Leading Airline, World’s Leading Airline First Class, and World’s Leading Airline to the Middle East at the World Travel Awards earlier this year.

[Flickr via rogerbarker2]

Blinged-out amenties kits from Etihad

etihadHere’s an idea that’s right up our alley: Etihad Airways has taken the standard amenities kit a step further and partnered with Swarovski to bling out their first class offering. The new kits, debuting on flights between Abu Dhabi and London, Paris, Geneva, Sydney and Melbourne, as well a progressively throughout the first class long-haul network in the coming weeks.


Women will receive a cosmetics-style bag that will include La Prairie moisturizer, hand cream and lip balm, while men will enjoy a black leather cufflink box that includes a shaving kit with a Schick Xtreme 3 razor.

Lee Shave, Etihad Airways’ Vice President Product and Services, said: “In our market research, we found that very few airlines are developing product suited to the needs of female travelers, so we created these separate amenity product lines to suit to the specific tastes of both our male and female guests.

This is also the first airline collaboration for Swarovski. We only wish it could be even more bling-y, a la a Judith Leiber bag.

[Thanks to Luxuo for the tip.]

Etihad thinks they are ready for the big time

A few years ago, Etihad Airways was an upstart. Sure, it has grown at least 40% each year since its 2003 birth, but that trend can’t be sustained with the economy the way it is now. Right?

The Abu Dhabi-based carrier is adding destinations to its roster rapidly. New routes include Beijing, China and Melbourne, Australia. In the US, it is only possible to catch an Etihad flight out of JFK. But, that may soon be about to change. Etihad has signed two major deals this year, one is a 45-plane order with Boeing and the other a mammoth 51-plane order with Airbus. These will mean that the Etihad fleet will be growing by more than 300% in the coming years. No matter how you look at it, the numbers in those orders are almost ridiculously ambitious, especially considering that most airlines are now doing everything they can to save money rather than spend it.

It seems that Etihad is hell bent on overtaking Emirates as the best known brand to come out of the Persian Gulf.