Monday, April 18, 2011

Flight Attendant/Cabin Crew Training

Guess this month has been a busy month for most of you as some of you have already reported to the airline. Congratulations for passing all those daunting interview process and stages and welcome to the exciting career in the “high mile club”. For those who are yet to report to the airlines, I am sure you are looking forward to it.
So now you have successfully got a job as a cabin crew, what’s next? Obviously before you get to fly on board, you have to undergo training which you will be overloaded with huge amount of information, tons of studies and homework, exams and stress.

Training differs from airline to airline but in Emirates, our training is only 5 weeks compared to Singapore Airlines which can be as long as 4 months. Many have asked why the difference and I personally think that in Emirates, the company wants us to learn from “on the job” training while SIA prefer to prepare the new joiners as much as possible before they allow them to serve on board. For your info, Cathay pacific’s flight attendant training is 6 weeks. It can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. The positive side is you get to finish fast and start flying and earn full salary, but on the other hand, that means the 5 weeks will be intense and everything is jam pack. This is the time where you hardly get any sleep as almost daily you have exams and class test which you cannot fail. I remember there was this Australian guy from another batch, who was send back home because he did not pass the exams.

For this 5 weeks of training, it will be divided into 3 parts which are safety and emergency procedures ( 2 weeks), followed by first aid( 1 week) and finally service.

Safety and Emergency Procedures ( SEP)

I was told that I would be rated on Boeing 777, Airbus 330 as well as Airbus 340, therefore most of my SEP training are base on these aircraft. During this phase, you will learn everything regarding the aircraft type such as the location of the emergency equipment,  how to operate the aircraft door, the difference between Boeing and Airbus and fire fighting in case of  fire in the cabin or lavatories . Besides, you will also learn on how to deal with hijackers or to pin and tie down aggressive passengers on board.

This is the best part of the training as they actually put us in a full motion airbus simulator whereby you will be train and experience on situation such as turbulence, decompression, evacuation, takeoff and crash landing, arming/disarming door and pretend service.

There are also slides attached to it and we get to practice jumping down the slides which is really fun. Many of you have asked whether you need to know how to swim.  The answer is yes, you have to as one of the training is on the slide/raft which is being used just in case of ditching ( crashing on water ). We had to jump into the swimming pool with our life vests, learned about surviving out in the ocean and how to climb into the raft. You need to know how to float and some basic swimming skills or able to swim some distances. If you can’t save yourself, how do the company expect you to save other passengers ?

First Aid

During this phase, you will learn everything on how to try and save lives, treat those with medical conditions, delivering babies and dealing with a death situation on board. You are also being taught on how to use the defibrillator, how to perform CPR, all the different kinds of medical sickness and symptoms such as choking, hyperventilation, hypoxia and how to or what medication to treat it. During the flight, we will be lucky if there is a doctor onboard, if not, the cabin crew will have to try their best to do the job. From my experience, emergency situations normally happened on long haul flights especially elderly passengers. Heart attack is quite common but rest assured we are all well trained.


This is where you will be trained on how to deliver the exceptional Emirates service experience to the passengers. You will learn on the products such as duty free onboard, IFE (in flight entertainment) and the food and beverages available. They will teach you how to do cocktails, learn about wines and champagnes and the correct way to serve it.

There are many role playing sessions during this phase to simulate difficult and demanding passengers and how to deal with them. You will also learn communication skills, Arabic and basic foreign languages, grooming and how to stay healthy with proper food/diet and exercise.

After all the hard work, finally, GRADUATIONS!! This is the most exciting part as we will be given our first roster and start flying. My first supernumeray (training flight) was a turnaround to Karachi and my first layover was KUL(Kuala Lumpur)/CGK(Jakarta). For that month I also have Frankfurt ( my first time to Europe ) and Bangkok/Hong Kong flight. 

So as you can see, being a cabin crew is not only about serving but your primary job role is SAFETY. Training is one of the best times in my life which I will remember forever. Me and all my batchmates are like a family as we are always together during the training, but unfortunately, once we are operational, we hardly get to meet each other as everyone have separate roster and different destinations. Anyway, for those of you who are undergoing training now, I wish you all the best.

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