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 Interview with flight attendant Classy Exlorer.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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