The Ten Things You Gotta Have to be a Flight Attendant

Countless ladies want to become a flight attendant and I personally think this is because of the image that has long been associated with being one. You know, the breakfasts in London and dinners in Rome, the luxury living in hotels, the lipsticks and eye palettes you get to experiment with, the heavenly scents of creams and perfumes, shopping, croissants and chocolates… I could go on and on about everything desirous but let’s cut to the chase and just say “the posh life”.

I too have fallen victim of this dreamy aura of being a flight attendant. Before I became one, I would excite myself with the posts of the flight attendants I know and don’t know. It appeared to me that they were truly living THE good life! How colorful and vibrant their lives appeared to my eyes! When two of my high school friends and I have been discussing the chance of becoming one (which in all honesty, it was only then that I figured that I didn’t have to have a particular degree or training to become one) four years ago on a random swimming in the pool (you see, the memory is so vivid to me), little did I know of the behind-the-scenes goings-on of an FA’s life. It isn’t one of those jobs that you can relate “what you see is what you get”, truly. There’s more to #crewlife than meets the eye, I tell you.

While every wannabe’s Open Day preparation checklist mainly consists of facials, dental cleaning, eyebrow threading and going to the gym, there are other (more important) things you got to have with you when you go to the next CV submission.

1. Confidence

You gotta own you’re pretty. Even during that first day of recruitment in that four-star hotel, you have to have poise and you must exude confidence even in your fingertips. When you already have that uniform, all the more that you have to consistently and consciously check the way you carry yourself. The way you walk and pull your luggage around the airport will always attract people’s attention so even in this minute act, you got to do it the “right” way.

2. Believability. Credibility.

When a pax asks you if they could catch their connecting flight and you answer them that you really think they could (honestly) given your estimated touchdown time. Of course, your words and facial expressions must go together. Especially the eyes, yes,  the eyes! Your eyes are your greatest asset, more than your words, in relaying this trait of a flight attendant. Besides being accurate, you must be believable.

3. Patience (lots of it)

“Tom Yam or Curry Laksa?” With a Colgate-worthy smile, you ask your passenger this only to receive an answer and be prompted to say, “No, we don’t have chicken. Sorry. Tom Yam or Curry Laksa?” And you say this with a smile still plastered on your face.

4. Grooming (tirelessly)

Even after a five-hour delay and being stuck in a very hot tarmac in India, you still have to look the part of a flight attendant just signing in for a flight. No oily nose, no cracked lips, no smudged mascara. You have to look the part. And that you must maintain while handling passengers who have become ill-tempered and peevish because of the weather, delay or that toddler who just wouldn’t stop crying (and screaming) even after all the cajoling with toys and chocolates that you’ve no idea how you came up with.

5. Multi-tasking skills

“Prepare cabin for landing,” says the PA announcement and you haven’t collected those bassinets from those six mothers because you’ve been so busy attending to a nauseated UM. You can always delegate, sure. But let’s face it, everyone suddenly becomes busy upon this announcement. The passengers automatically start queuing in for the toilet, numerous call buttons have been pressed and no matter which aisle you pass, everyone seems to suddenly and urgently need something from you.

6. Genuine smile

Even when your pax just exasperated, “This is the worst experience ever!” when you courteously asked her five times to please push her handbag under the seat in front of her as you are about to take off. Even when you ask your seemingly able-bodied female pax if she would kindly help you carry her luggage and put it in the overhead compartment and she agreed but when you counted from one and reached “three”, her hands suddenly were nowhere to be seen in HER luggage and you just successfully proved how superwoman you are again. Smile.

7. Agility

You are setting a pax’s tray table and are in the midst of serving him his hot chocolate when the aircraft encountered some clear air and the Fasten Seatbelt sign automatically turned on. Talk about a close call! Plus, did you ever dream of a track record of 10 seconds of walking (or sprinting) from Door 4 to Door 2 for Safety Demo? Go figure!

8. Preparedness for small talk (anytime, anywhere)

a) Seated across a middle-aged couple when they suddenly tell you they have a niece who also works as an air stewardess and that she’s currently in Paris and that they’re gonna visit her soon in her base and they ask you if you’ve flown to Paris and how you like the place. b) Standing in your door for disembarkation, all the passengers are up and queue for exit in the aisles while waiting for the door to open and just in front of you is a passenger who asks how long you get to stay in the city. c) At the airport while waiting for the inbound aircraft, you seat along with the other crew and passengers in the waiting area and have to do a Q&A about the country you’re flying to – the pax doing the Q and of course you the A end.

9. Stay in tune with the layman ‘port’ and ‘starboard’

You’ve just landed and are walking towards the departure hall when a pax stops you and asks where the airport premium lounge is. You have to stop yourself from saying, “On your starboard side, you would see an escalator leading to the second floor, turn port and that’s it.” Stop yourself.

10. Excitement for new (and old) places

You really gotta love it to a point that you do your research about the details (transportation options, directions, expenses, hours of attractions, etc) of the place before flight. You gotta have that burning wanderlust in you. You gotta have that hole in you that you’re certain only travelling can fill. Because if you’re just gonna stay in the hotel in all of your layovers and depend on room service for your sustenance, what a waste that’s gonna be. #

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