I have worked closely with prospective Cabin Crew for many years, using our custom-made training resources to teach them how to prepare themselves both pragmatically and mentally for the sometimes daunting and nerve-wracking Assessment Centre process.
Learning invaluable skills so they can obtain their coveted dream and get those glorious wings, and with them the ability to travel around the world, enriching their lives with a multitude of experiences they will never forget.
With that experience there are trends that appear as to the type of questions I hear from newcomers to the aviation industry. One of the most common is – is this right for me? Do I want to be Cabin Crew?
With all the excitement and opportunities that go hand-in-hand with the role, there are also of course downsides, which can play on some people’s mind – so I will explore some of the pros and cons of being Cabin Crew and maybe help you answer some of the questions you have yourself.
Life in the air isn’t all just about delivering cold drinks and safety demonstrations. You are the first port-of-call for real life emergencies in-flight.
The escalation of terrorist incidents in recent years, with resultant additional safety measures, adds more responsibility to Cabin Crew members to be vigilant about protocol.
This sense of responsibility for passengers’ safety and wellbeing can weigh heavily on some. Specific training is given as to how to react in these emergency situations, however, the difference between knowing how to react and being able to in a moment of significant stress can be vast.
Knowing whether you can cope in an emergency can be a matter of your intrinsic personal characteristics, but it is also a matter or preparation. The more you practice something, the better you are at it.
Stress and panic can be driven by feeling like you don’t know what to do. So, you can take control of the situation by going through your protocols methodically, visualising scenarios and how you would react, until it becomes automatic. Feeling that you are well prepared can help make you feel equipped to cope in any scenario.
As Cabin Crew, you are the face of the airline. You are there to help ensure passengers have a safe and enjoyable flight, but a large part is also having a radar for spotting potential conflict before it even happens and diffusing it calmly before there’s a chance for escalation.
This is a skill!
But, it can also be hard work, and with so many passengers to attend to, it is inevitable that escalation will occur and you have to deal with it.
Frequently, passengers that are travelling are tired, potentially hungry, have been waiting, or are on their second or third leg of a journey. All of these factors can lead to them being, as a group, more volatile and more likely to become upset with things that may not bother them normally on a day-to-day basis.
Maybe something simple like the menu option isn’t satisfactory, or there are children being disruptive, or they aren’t allowed to use the toilet during turbulence. All relatively simple things that can lead to them looking to you to magically solve an unsolvable problem and at times becoming irate or even abusive when you can’t.
In these situations, regardless of how irrational someone is being, you need to be reassuring but firm so as to resolve the conflict without further escalation.
It can be hard to remain calm or not become upset when someone is shouting at you.
How to react with challenging behaviour is something you will be trained for. Some people will find it naturally easier than others, but preparing yourself and practicing scenarios can help give you confidence when dealing with the public.
Paid to travel, Not pay to travel
How many of us have dreamt of travelling the world? How many of us have diligently saved, so we can have just one holiday a year, to travel to one new destination? Always wishing there was more time, more money, more experiences.
One of arguably, the biggest advantages of being Cabin Crew is that this is part of your job and you actively get paid to do it! Depending on the airline you work for and your scheduling, throughout your career in aviation you can literally travel to every continent!
You can be paid to have your down time exploring new cities, tasting new foods, soaking up new cultures, creating exceptional, irreplaceable memories that will last a life-time. Not many jobs can provide that.
Have you always had a travel ‘bucket-list’? Then being Cabin Crew might just be your calling.
When you’re home, you’re home
Many seasoned Cabin Crew I speak to tell me that one of the things that they love about the job is when they are on their down-time, they are at home.
They don’t have to do the daily commute in gruelling traffic; in winter they don’t leave for work in the dark and get home in the dark; when everyone else is busy at work on a Wednesday, they can go to the cinema at 2 o’clock in the afternoon because they feel like it or fit in their Christmas shopping without an onslaught of grumpy competitors.
Has breaking free of the ties of 9-5 been something you’ve longed for?
So…what does it all mean?
Ultimately, like any job, taking the plunge into the aviation industry comes with its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. The question as to whether it is right for you is a matter of your own personal life priorities, your ambitions – whatever it is you strive for.
The secret is research, preparation and knowing as much as you can beforehand – so whatever decision you make to invest in your future, is an educated one.