Embarking on a journey to become a full fledge cabin crew is an exciting journey but not without it’s challenges. Hence, it is important to be sure why, where and what the job entails in order to generate satisfaction from the career, financial and experience from the job as a cabin crew.
The objective of this chapter is to provide guidance and evaluation if this job is suitable for you. Very often, we leave this part of the job fit to the airline recruiter or interviewer. Of course, each of us would hope the interviewer accepts us regardless on whether we are a good candidate for the job. It is also possible that we try to mould ourselves to fit the job, as it is common for many to justify why the job is suitable for them.
Without proper evaluation, the journey of looking and working in this job can be frustrating and in many cases, disappointing due to the lack of understanding of the job requirements and it’s implication on career growth, mindset, financial management/behavior and lifestyle. It also affects longer term career interest, transition to ground positions and personal quality of life.
In the following paragraphs, we hope to provide into insights on what the cabin crew job entails as well as some of its advantages and disadvantages.
Knowledge and Suitability for the Job
Role of a Cabin Crew
1. What do you think the role of cabin crew involves / What do you think is the primary responsibility of a cabin crew?
Cabin crew are on board an aircraft for safety reasons. In case of a real life emergency, the cabin crew must ensure that passengers follow the captains instructions, use safety equipment correctly, and stay as calm as possible.
During the flight, the cabin crew spends a lot of time looking after the comfort of the passengers. This involves giving special attention to children traveling alone, disabled people or people who are ill. Crew must appear friendly and sympathetic to anyone needing help, advise, reassurance, sympathize or even, at times, firm persuasion.
Other duties during the flight includes preparing and serving meals and drinks and cleaning up afterwards, selling duty free goods, and helping passengers use in flight entertainment system. There is also paperwork to complete, this can include flight reports, customs and immigrations documents, accounts of duty free sales and meal and drink orders.
At the end of the flight, the crew makes sure the passengers leave the aircraft safely.
2. What kind of individuals would fit this role?
An individual who has the following ideal qualities:
a. Dedication to details
d. Cross Cultural Understanding/Sensitivity
f. Rule oriented
g. Good listening skills
h. Stable Emotion
k. Humble disposition
n. Warm personality
g. Sense of humor.
The successful candidate will also need to have the ability to remain calm and level headed in emergency situations and be totally flexible about working with new people, flying different routes and working on unsociable hours.
3. Is the role of a cabin crew job glamorous?
Well, it certainly is perceived as glamorous and it certainly has its benefits of travel. People see cabin crew in action, jetting around the world and form an immediate impression of what they think the job involves. In fact, the customer sees only a fraction of what goes on in order to make each flight a success. The truth is, cabin crew has to combine working as a flying waiter or waitress, mobile shop assistant, cleaner, plus all the emergency services rolled into one. It can be an exhausting and disorienting lifestyle that places tough demands on family and social commitments. It is also physically demanding and many crew who do not have the right physical build (appropriate Body Mass Index or BMI) typically suffer lower back injuries on the job due to the amount of bending, squatting and lifting required to support the baggage, kart, trolley and equipment used on the aircraft.
Combined with the irregular flight time, sleep and meal times, cabin crew typically has irregular sleep pattern and meals. Hence it is not a glamorous job except for the perks of travel, hotels and nice uniforms for some international airlines.
With the onset of budget carriers, many cabin crew do not even travel beyond the aircraft that lands in the other countries only for transition before heading back to their home country. These are called turnaround flights and typically affects short haul flights of not more than 3 or 4 hours from the country of origin. The flight allowance, per diem, meals or layover allowance are also lower due to such quick turnaround patterns that are short haul flights.
4. What are the disadvantages of this position?
b. Irregular weight gain/loss
c. Minor cuts and injuries inflight
d. Lower back ache
e. Lack of mental stimulation in the long term
f. Physical fatigue
h. Rash due to overseas travel and weather changes
i. Allergies to hotel and aircraft environment
j. Harassment from opposite gender
k. Relationship commitment
l. Motion sickness
m. Financial and lifestyle habits
n. Hierarchy reporting structure
o. Irregular or unsociable work hours
5. What are the advantages of this position?
Working as a cabin crew member is not just a job, but a way of life and provides an alternative and very stimulating lifestyle where no two working days a likely to be the same. The sheer dynamics of different crew, passengers’ profiles, destinations and roster structure ensures that there will always be variety.
Furthermore, there are opportunities to visit places and experience cultures that are beyond most people reach. Cabin crew go to places they always dreamed of and find interests in destinations they would not necessarily have chosen to go to.
Additionally, it is a good feeling to deliver businessmen to their meetings on time, reunite family and friends; deliver newly weds to their honeymoon destinations, or vacation airs to their dream holiday place. There is genuine feeling of doing something worthwhile, in a unique way which not many jobs regularly produce at the end of a hard day.