Looking over my past posts, I realized that airline related articles (airline secrets) are among the most popular ones so far. In order to add some fresh content and mix it up, I asked my fellow blogger and friend – Mirela, The Classy Explorer – to answer a few questions related to her career as flight attendant. Here is the full flight attendant interview with Classy Explorer.
What Airline did you work for?
I was working for 3 years for Emirates Airlines as flight attendant, based in Dubai, which is one of the best airlines in the world.
How did you land on that job? Did you always want to become flight attendant? What were the requirements to participate in the interview? What skills were initially needed?
My wish as a kid was once to become a stewardess since my father was a pilot. But I managed to actually become cabin crew only after I finished all my Economic studies and worked for some time in my area of expertise.
As I am also writing a blog, and, among other things, regarding the cabin crew requirements, easiest is to check my post HERE as I really deeply described it. You also have to pass several assessment stages to become flight attendant: from group discussions, English tests, psychometric tests to final interviews. To sum up, basically one should be in general a nice and pleasant person, have assertiveness and show respect to others, especially superiors. Plus you need to meet some basic health requirements, such as not to have some acute illnesses, or something that can prevent you to perform this job properly.
The truth about airline food and drinks We all heard that airline food is bad, water hardly drinkable, yet we keep on buying it over and over again, convincing ourselves it can’t be that bad. Perhaps it’s time to look at whether those rumors are true after all. After reading this post, everyone can decide for themselves.
How did the training look like? What did you learn in the initial training for flight attendant and later, during working hours?
Well, once you are accepted, you pass initial 6 weeks of extensive training, from safety and security to first aid and then training to learn how to deliver service. So you can Click Here if you need more guidance towards first aid. You learn a lot about the aircraft, about equipment on it, how to save lives and how to serve in a professional manner. During the training you are shown everything you need to know but in artificial environment. However, when you start flying you get to experience the real deal, and how to work quickly and finish all required on time. You come across many challenges, but that is part of this job.
Did you have any emergencies, where you needed the skills you learned (like first aid, evacuation etc)?
Thank God, nothing major happened on my flights. I had once been on a flight when we were rejected landing, but we were all OK and we just needed to calm the panic on the plane. Medical cases were common, like nose bleeding, or even fainting…but I was used to handling this quickly.
How were the customers? Did you have any difficulties working with them? Any good/bad memories from your career as flight attendant?
Ah well, customers are…tough. I was dealing with people from all over the world, and from different cultures which are sometimes not so close to ours. There were difficult passengers, especially when I was working in Economy class. Passengers coming from India were very demanding towards flight attendant and often asked more from us than we could provide to them – like extra meals, or amenities on the aircraft. But when you have service to do quickly and someone asks you something like that, the whole row of passengers sees that and they start asking for it too. But you don’t have time to finish it all and serve each of them extra, and then they complain to your seniors.
Cool airplane design features Have you ever wondered why airplane design is so complicated of why there are certain airplane design features? Modern airplane design is a work of art where every detail has it’s purpose. This article will give you overview of the the coolest airplane design features and why we aircraft’s need them for everyday operation.
As „customer is always right“, we as cabin crew can get easily into trouble. In general, I have good memories, but there were some experiences when I just wished to land and go to hotel as soon as possible. Flights to Tunisia or Libya were like that, as people can be quite rude and give us hard times. Or while working in Business class on some flights, when I had to stand up and provide service for 2,5 hours straight, without stopping. By the end of the day I was getting pains in my legs and just craved for bed.
Any funny situations on the job?
Yes, there were many funny stories and laughs with crew or passengers, and this was the good thing about this job. I remember once on an Indian flight, an Indian lady passenger asked me if we had some period pads to borrow her for her „female“ problem. And I politely brought it to her. But the guy sitting behind her saw it and didn’t want to miss free stuff on airplane,so he asked me to bring him the same. I was laughing to myself but I did bring it to him, and after I was watching him, curious what he would do with it. He took it out from the package and studied it confusedly, not knowing what it is for. In the end he just through it angrily away. This was so funny for me to watch.
How did you get along with other crew members? Did you always fly together with the same crew of flight attendant?
I was always in good terms with everyone I was flying with. You always have different crew on flights since there was more than 10,000 crew at the time I was flying. So rarely you fly with same people. Which is good if you disliked someone. On the other hand, not great, if you really got along with some fellow crew and would have liked to work with them again.
How did you spend your free time between flights?
Living in Dubai gives you so many options how to spend your free time. Normally I was aiming to rest, especially if I had night flights. So I was either going to a swimming pool in my building, or shopping (groceries or clothes), hanging out with my friends also in the building or going out for drinks, food etc. Indulging myself I would call it.
Are there any airline secrets that only crew members know about?
To be honest with you, I think everything is now transparent and you can find anything on Internet. No more taboo topics. Only thing is that working for Middle Eastern airlines is much different than working for European airlines. Since the airline is related to Arabic culture, demands are higher from employer as well as from its customers. So hard work for sure!
Why did you decide to leave flight attendant job? Do you miss it? What was the best part of it?
I decided to leave the job as 3 years for me were enough. As time passed, I was getting physically tired more and more. I was not destined to fly my whole life. It was time to return back to normal way of living. All the glamorous part of this job, and travelling around the world gets under your skin and you just want more and more. So you need to feel when to stop.
Do you have any recommendations for people who are thinking of joining cabin crew?
Yes, definitely. If this is something you would like to do, apply as soon as possible while in your 20’s. Trust me, it is easier to handle the stress of the job while you are still young. Middle Eastern airlines give better packages and you can live in glamorous Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Doha…
It is one of the BEST jobs to do and see the world (and get paid to do that)!
Visit Mirela’s Blog THE CLASSY EXPLORER to read about her travels, cabin crew stories and tips.
If you liked this post, please pin it
That funny story is hilarious! Great interview.
Alina from Reverie Chaser
The pads story was really funny 🙂 sometimes people grab the weirdest things if they are for free. I have seen people stealing pens in the exhibition booths by the dozen and saying “those are for my colleagues”, and those were not poor people by any means 🙂
Mike from TravelAndDestinations
Great to read this interview and I always wonder what it’s like being an airline attendant. It sounds like it’s great to do at least for a few years. I’m also a big fan of Emirates who I flew with for the first time this year and they were amazing! Thanks for sharing this.
Why are most airlines Flight attendants racist against Indians? I am an Indian and I see racism right from the moment I board the plane. The white people ahead of and behind me are greeted politely with a smile, and I am conveniently ignored.
Once while exiting a plane, I was fed up of this behavior and mentioned this in front of everyone to one of your Emirates colleague, that why did you wish the white people in front of and behind me, and not wish me? Just because I am an Indian? She had no answer to it and just gave a fake smile, as trained like a robot.
Remember Emirates, if Indians stop taking your airline, you will be bankrupt. Treat everyone equally irrespective of their nationality, color, look and appearance. If your training already doesn’t include how to deal with unconscious bias, include it. Due to the bias you showed to me, you have lost me as a customer already. I don’t take Emirates now even if it is the cheapest and the fastest way to go to India for me from the city where I live in US.
Like you people undergo extensive training to become an airline attendant, so does everyone in the flight to become successful in their own field. Some people have saved for years so that they can afford the tickets on your flight. Like you, every passenger also has a story of struggle and hardship to tell, so treat everyone with respect.