A young lady, of mixed parentage, with glistening brown eyes; she stood 5'4" in height with her handbag hung balanced on her slim posture. Although petite, her Kebaya fits perfectly on her slender figure; with her neatly-styled French croissant hair worn on top of her head like a crown, each one of her nails were polished in matte coral hues, one could guess how many hours it took for her to appear captivating that way.
As she strut her feminine demeanor, the sound of her heavy trolley bag roving on top of the airport floors, all eyes were on her. As she spoke to a colleague beside her, who was handsome and firm in lexicon, they complement each other harmoniously. Flight Attendants are special people, gracefully. They are the epitome of in-flight elegance and hospitality.
We often hear about a profession that serves multinational travelers in the air and gets to visit different countries daily for free; while getting paid in doing so! Awesome, right? And what's more awesome, they receive unconventional rewards in a form of material luxuries from happy guests.
Furthermore, being the ambassador of the skies, it is prevalence for the lucky ones to have often caught the attention of royalty or celebrities whom they served! These things happen without anyone's expectations, not even the most important man onboard, the Pilot!
As tempting as it is, a Flight Attendant becomes the talk of the town whenever she or he have made their magnetic appearances in public, we would probably be hearing dialogues like these:
"Eh, you know, Evelyn's daughter, she's now in Singapore Airlines, working as a stewardess!,' or something far more ludicrous like this, "Hey, you remember that pondan from our college last time? Now he's a steward in Qatar Airways!" Fascinating, indeed.
All of a sudden you're like a famous celebrity, everybody wants to know how, when, where and why you end up serving 34,000 feet in the skies as a daily routine! While you were just a 'nobody' in your hometown, previously.
On the surface, people who aren't from the aviation background will voice out certain stereotypical statements such as, "Hm, surely the gaji ( salary ) they get is a lot," or something which all female flight attendants would deny, "The stewardess can get pilots anytime lah!"
Sure, they do get paid quite an enormous amount of cash, and gets to fly with hunky captains all the way, but like I said, that's only how it seems on the surface, when you go deeper into the underground tunnel this profession defined, you'll be surprised to know that the job is a rocket-science mixture between the Disney's fairytale, Cinderella and a little bit of Alice In Wonderland; in the movie, Alice went into the woods and lost her way out, she then asked for a direction from the crazy cat, "Where do I go from here, left or right?", and the cat answered, "If you don't know where you're going, anywhere you go will not matter."
A flight attendant's daily life is like that, it has always been about making choices, be it concrete or paradoxical: 'tea or coffee?', 'sugar or milk?', 'port or starboard?', 'windows or aisles?', 'take off and landing.' but eventually, whatever decisions you've made, they had to be made! Well, I might be bad at visualizing the metaphore that exists in the life of a Flight Attendant, but the message that the movie was telling, if you're in the midst of determining your path in life, you will have to be optimistic, if you must, always think out of the box, if there's no way out of it, trust your instincts. Keep moving up and forward, like the airplanes!
What are the certain qualities and requirements that are associated with this profession? This job is both mentally and physically challenging, it requires you to meet certain safety and health requirements as well as academic and grooming standards, in some cases there are airlines which acts rather practical and straightforward, you'll get the job right away, as you could easily impress them with your knowledge and charming demeanor, while some airline employers are spiritual and personal, they require more than just your skills and appearance, they diligently seek the humane part of you, why? We'll get to that crucial details in a moment, first let me straddle your mind in a cerebral manner.
Topic 1: THE CORE MEANING OF BEING A FLIGHT ATTENDANT
Key Skills: Communication, Social Skills, Appearance, Personality and Attitude.
Why does being a flight attendant made one so desirably popular? Here's why. Airlines are associated with tourism, tourism involves traveling and traveling brings a value in advertising, or commercialism. The name itself denotes that the job is synonym with that of a TV commercial, where models attract viewers in an enigmatic way, because being in a commercial advertisement means you are the ultimate product that carries the image of that corporation. Flight Attendants are the 'Models' of the airlines that select them.
If you have been chosen to become a Flight Attendant after going through the rigorous and tiring interview stages, please give yourself an applause for you are no longer the old you. You are a new person and you will no longer possess the conventional life that you have lived full heartedly. You crave for the sky, you long for the excitement which you have not yet experienced. You are an ambassador, and your name will be immortalized on a personalized nametag, with a wing pin attached to it, your office is 34,000 feet above the sky!
This charming profession relies on your communication and social skills, the way you handle a conversation and how you react when dealing with other people. Your appearance matters as the airlines have set a standard that you are obliged to abide by.
Being an ambassador of the airlines, your personality is accountable where you are given duties onboard that require you to perform impeccably; your attitude towards your colleagues, passengers or the situation onboard will be observed, on how you deal with conflicts or emergencies. The most common perceptions are that, the job of a flight attendant involves glamour, high fashion designer accessories, exotic countries, and unique cultures where one could only dream to indulge.
The Training: Hello Aviation School!
In general, all flight attendants are destined to go through this memorable yet intense journey in order for you to be qualified as a Cabin Crew. Normally, a newly hired Flight Attendant is called a Trainee, he or she has to undergo a period of 3-4 months in the aviation school or a training academy, it is compulsory; for you to be able to go through all the safety training and pass all exams.
A trainee's next journey is SNY or supernumerary flight, where you'll get yourself familiar with the aircraft cabin and all of its safety equipments, while you may be asked safety questions from your superiors, fret not, they're there to guide you. As for the Charter or VIP corporate crew, they too need to attend the same training; however the duration of the training period may be shortened due to their previous experience in the airlines.
Some are sent to be trained abroad. The training for experienced cabin crews is known as Abridge, Conversion or Refresher classes. In aviation, all flight attendants have gone through these challenges in their lives and all of them survived!
The Graduation: Certified Airline Professionals
As soon as you graduate, you will be given a certificate called Safety & Emergency Procedure which you will need to keep as a proof of your flying profession. Another item is you flying license card, it has an expiry date, as this is a mandatory documentation. Think of it as your boarding pass or a passport.
Without your license card, you can't possibly be fit for flying, because your license card determines your aircraft type, which you have been trained during the safety drills at the academy. Each cabin crew is rated based on the airlines operational requirements, the type of aircrafts they use, usually a Cabin Crew is assigned 1-2 aircraft types, while others, more than 3, a maximum of 4 fleet as required by IATA. For example, Boeing 737 and Airbus 320, these are the narrow body fleet types, they fly from short to medium haul sectors.
The Flying Routine: Goodbye 9-5!
Like every other airline professionals designated in the Flight Operations division, Flight Attendants do not inhabit the circling norm of the 9 to 5 routine. Their schedules are permanently on shift rotation. The date and time are not fixed as safety measures are taken into the scheduling stage.
Once a schedule has been determined, it will automatically be exposed to risks and future amendments; influenced by the weather and technical factors which often causes the flight roster to change within a short notice, making a Flight Attendant's life unpredictable and sometimes, putting pressure unto them. But all Flight Attendants recognized that the airlines never fail to secure their assets and employees under these strict precautions because safety is top priority.
The High Mile Club: The World Is Yours
This is the only profession that rewards you with concessional flight tickets and lets your family members enjoy an episode of endless vacation with you worldwide! But before you get to that exciting journey, you will begin your footstep flying with narrow-bodied aircrafts and short haul destinations for the first few months, or maybe more, depending on the operational movement.
While some other senior crews are being upgraded and assigned to fly on international routes and rated these jumbo fleet types in a short period of time, it is a common thing in the aviation industry since performance and aptitude are taken into consideration.
If you have been with the airline for some time, it is very likely that you will be promoted to fly on wide bodied fleet such as the Boeing 777, 747 or Airbus 380, for example. There are however, airline companies which flow in its own eccentricity. They fly on an unlimited and extensive route, most airlines in the West and Middle East operates on a fast-track lane and progressive with their route plan.
As an example, for the first 3 months you are to be scheduled for domestic region and when the airline decides to upgrade their revenue, you could be flying internationally in the following weeks. Nevertheless, each flight attendant enjoys a wide range of flying sectors. Either flying for a full service or low cost carrier, they get to experience flying to diverse airports and countries.
The Airliner: Office at 34,000 feet
You will not be working with computers or any mechanical devices. You will be facing humans, real living beings with different personalities and characteristics. Each commercial flight serves a different purpose for every passenger they attend to.
This is why each flight attendant is assigned to work in different zones in the aircraft, you will be working in different cabin zone but in a synchronized and teamwork oriented manner. Each cabin is different in terms of the type of classes it represents; First, Business and Economy classes are among the most commonly used name for different cabin zones in an aircraft.
The Ambassador: International Faces of Aviation
When it comes to marketing, your image will be prioritized above all necessities, as your gorgeous and handsome face might appear public on the promotional or advertising billboards across the country, mainly in the airport vicinity; you might also have a chance to be in commercial television advertisement as a spokesperson of the airline.
Airlines do value their flight attendants highly; they immortalize the beauty and grace of their cabin crews worldwide. Be flattered and proud, for you are the ambassador of impeccable sky hospitality.
To read more of Life as a cabin crew, please click here
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