We spoke to Maria Angeles Granados, former cabin crew who now works as an English and Spanish translator. She kindly shared her path to becoming cabin crew, what the best part of her job was and tips for aspiring aviation professionals.
Why did you want to become cabin crew?
I wanted to become Cabin Crew because I love travelling. After flying for the first time as a teenager, I fell in love with the feeling of flying and going somewhere completely new for me. Taking off, looking at cities from above, and the moment of approaching the airport for landing.
What was the application process like?
I applied to different airlines in the past. They all have in common some of the steps, for example, screening questions, an online test and then, if you pass, the recruitment days.
The time that it takes to hear back from a company really depends on their processes and which step is an eliminating one. However, in my experience, it usually takes 1 to 2 months from submitting your application to receiving the news that you’ve past all your assessments and will be given a start date for the conversion course.
How long was the process from start to first flight?
I have flown three different aircraft types with two different airlines during my experience as Cabin Crew. From the time of the interviews until my first day of flying I have had to wait from 3 to 5 months.
What was your first flight experience like?
It was crazy busy! My first day of flying as Cabin Crew was also my release flight. I had to work four sectors that day, three of which where familiarisation flights, while the last flight was a test, where my examiner would decide if I passed of not.
I was very nervous because I had never flown as Cabin Crew before, and it was a completely new environment. My examiner was very helpful and gave me tips to overcome the challenges that I could find in the future. The crew was also very supporting and showed me around the aircraft as much as they could.
Who was/is your role model?
I look up to different people in my life. In aviation, I have been able to make really good friends who I deeply appreciate in my life. I remember one of my Cabin Line Trainers in my most recent airline who was always smiling and enjoying every single minute of every flight.
He would go above and beyond to make everybody feel at ease and wouldn’t get hung up on anything not positive. I look up to him because his energy was, -and still is- contagious in all the good ways.
What was the best and difficult part of your job?
The best part of being Cabin Crew was getting to know like-minded people and have trips together. When you love flying, this job doesn’t feel like you’re working. There are always challenges but if you can work well in a team, there’s nothing that you can’t overcome.
In addition, when they send you with people you have fun with, you have the best time. Those experiences made me absolutely love my job.
One of the most difficult part of this job is being away from your family and friends. Rosters are not popular for being regular and hours can be long. Not only you get to miss special occasions such as Christmas, birthdays, etc.
Most probably your friends and family will be off on the evenings and weekends, while your days off can be Mondays, Tuesdays and you may start your working day at 2pm or even 3am.
What characteristics do you need to be cabin crew?
Everybody’s different. For that reason, to be Cabin Crew you need to be able to communicate well with others, be able to learn and follow procedures, be patient, sympathetic, friendly, and open-minded.
You will meet hundreds of people every day. These characteristics are important in order to do your best with passengers, but this is also essential to keep a nice and communicative atmosphere onboard with the rest of the crew.
How long does it take you to get ready before a flight?
I like to leave my uniform clean and ready the night before a flight. I keep the easiest make up and hair routine so getting ready doesn’t take away the very much needed rest time.
From the moment my alarm goes off until I leave the house, I calculate approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
What 3 tips do you have for aspiring cabin crew:
- This is cliché and also difficult but something I still try to do: Enjoy your recruitment process! You get to meet a lot of people and recruiters are watching every move. However, if you’re relaxed and nice to others, you’ll have more chances to show that you’re the right candidate!
- If you don’t pass the interviews for your dream airline, don’t give up. Continue applying to other airlines and consider the possibility to move from your preferred base if you can. Once you get your foot into this fantastic industry, it will be a lot easier for you to find yourself in it and get settled in your preferred base.
Aviation is a small and dynamic world, so remember to always be respectful to your colleagues, whoever they are, you never know when and where you will find them again.