Saturday, October 30, 2010

Life as a Cabin Crew

Being a cabin crew is a dream job for many people. The chance to earn good salary, meeting people, experience different cultures and travel around the world for free attracts many applicant. It is being viewed as a glamorous job .Well, it is true to a certain extend depending on which airline you wish to join.

If you fly for a premium and legacy long haul airlines, yes , you get to see the world. However as the aviation industry evolve, more and more low cost airline (LCA ) becomes available. As the name suggest, to cut cost,if you fly for a LCA, normally there are no Nightstop or layover, which means that you do not get to travel. This kind of flight is called “turnaround” flight whereby you fly from your base to a particular destination only to return to your base. For example, Bangkok to hong kong and back to Bangkok again on the same day.

What is a job role as a cabin crew. Many people have the misconception that a cabin crew’s job is mainly to serve passengers only and do not realize that their main priority is the safety of the aircraft , crew members and the plane itself. Apart from being trained on services, they also have training on first aid as well as safety and emergency procedures (sep) . During emergency, their role is to reassure passengers, opening doors and inflating emergency slides for evacuation.

Depending on which airline you join , the training duration range from 5 weeks up to 4 months. Airline such as Emirates has a 5 weeks training schedule while Malaysian airlines is 4 months. You are being train on communication,grooming, first aid, sep, crew resource management, the aircraft that you will operate and finally the airlines standard operating procedure ( SOP ). I really did enjoy my training very much and my batchmates hails from different parts of the world. I am still in touch with some of them, thanks to facebook :)

Let’s start with the glamorous part of the job. As mention earlier if you fly for a legacy carrier, you get to travel around the world for free. That is the part that I love most as I have the opportunity to see at my last count 70% of the world. That is something I could not afford to pay for myself if it’s not for this job. I have make friends from everywhere and taste all kind of exotic food. My favorite destination are normally European destination such as Paris, Rome, Frankfurt , London to name a few. Besides I have the opportunity to fly with movie stars , celebrities and VIP personal. 

The job as a cabin crew is very demanding and tiring. You do not have a fixed working schedule as every month, you have a roster working different kind of shift from morning to afternoon to midnight with a couple of standby. My roster consist of mix pattern which normally has 1 long haul flight,3 medium haul and 2-3 turnaround flight. Long haul is classified as 11 hours and above and medium as 5-11h hours. Even though the working hours are long, you have to look at your best especially the ladies with full make up on. In addition as crew, we suffer jetlag ,eat and sleep at crazy timing and have to be away from families or the inability to attend important function such as Christmas,Chinese new year and etc etc.

A normal typical day for a crew during duty start off with you getting ready from home and be at the airport at least an hour and half before the standard time departure ( STD). Once there, you will have briefing among the crew on topic such as first aid, passengers that we normally experience in that particular sector, things to watch out and what not to bring to that destination. The captain will normally brief you on the weather condition and the flight time duration for that flight. Once that is done, you will proceed to the aircraft checking for any dangerous item on board and make sure that all stock and supplies are correct. Next, the boarding of passenger begins. Make sure all correct passengers are boarded, safety demo being shown and be prepared for takeoff. Once airborne, meal is served and to attend to every passenger's request with the goal of making sure everyone have a safe and pleasant flight.  

Nothing beats the satisfaction when a passenger comes up to me and tells me that they have one of the best flights of their life.


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