In this article, we interviewed a cabin crew member for easyJet, Tiago Filipe Bries Correia. Tiago kindly shared why he chose to pursue a career in the aviation industry, how it's affected his mental health, and tips for aspiring aviation professionals.
Why did you pursue a career as cabin crew?
Normally I say I was born inside of an aircraft. My father is an aircraft engineer for more than 30 years, so aviation was always present in my life since I’m 26 years old. When I was a kid and my parents were working at the same time and they didn’t have anybody to stay with me I went sometimes to my father's workplace.
And there I could be inside of the aircraft during their maintenance. I had the opportunity to run inside of an aircraft when the aircraft was without any seat, only the tube. I could go inside the cockpit and press a lot of buttons with the guidance of my father and see all the lights inside.
All these experiences were amazing and my passion for aviation was born here. After during my life and my academic life I realised I would like to have a job where I can be in contact with different people and cultures all the time and where I can work in a team.
So I realised the perfect job for me is to be cabin crew, because in this job I can join my passion, aviation, with the team work and the contact with different people every day.
Did you have to sacrifice social events to give time to your career?
Yes, I’m a cabin crew for almost five years and during this time I had to sacrifice Christmas time with my family, Easter time with my family, and a lot of birthdays from some friends and family members. The first year was a bit difficult, but now I’m used to it, so I can deal well with this kind of situation.
How often do you get to see your family?
Until May of this year, I only could see my family for more or less one month per year. I’m Portuguese, but during the first years of my career, I was working and based in different countries. I was working in Italy, Poland, and Germany, so only during the month when I was on holiday did I have the opportunity to see my family.
Only in May of 2021 I could come back to Portugal and work as a cabin crew in my country. I’m living in Faro and my family lives in Lisbon, but almost all my days off I can go to Lisbon to visit my family or they can come to Faro to visit me.
Can it be lonely at times?
I never feel that I was lonely. I made very good friends in all the places where I was living and I had a good relationship with all my colleagues, so I was all the time surrounded by amazing people that made me feel at home.
Did you enjoy socialising with other cabin crew?
Fortunately, every time I changed to a new airline company I had the opportunity to know amazing people during my training courses, and some of those people today I see as brothers and sisters. Like the majority of us were all in the same situation, living far away from our family and in a country different from the one where we were born, we made a very strong bond.
During my days off I was all the time with my colleagues and friends in coffee places, in green places, in parties… I can say that I’m a very lucky person because I had the opportunity to make very good friends at work and have fun with all of them.
What do you like to do outside of work in your spare time?
In my spare time, I like to go to the cinema, cook, go out with my friends, travel around the world, go to the beach and be with my family.
What has been your favourite destination to fly to and why?
I liked flying to Egypt. When I was working in an airline called Small Planet Airline that unfortunately bankrupted I had the opportunity to fly to Egypt a couple of times and have some layovers there. It was amazing to fly to Egypt because all the passengers were very nice.
The Egyptian passengers were passengers that like to chat a lot during the flights a tell us a lot of experiences about their lives, which was nice because their culture is different from mine, so I had the opportunity to know different perspectives to see the life.
In Egypt, during my layovers, I had the opportunity to know Hurghada and Marsa Alam to places where I could enjoy a lot because they are beach places, and like I said before I love to go to the beach.
How do you ensure you get enough sleep?
By law, the companies must give to all flight crew (pilots and cabin crew) 12 hours of resting time when we are sleeping in our base, which means we are sleeping at home, and 10 hours of resting time when we are sleeping outside of our base, what means we are doing layovers.
For me, this time to rest is enough because I’m a person that falls asleep very easily, so I always can sleep between 7 and 8 hours, even when I change the time from country to country.
Do the ever-changing sleep patterns affect your mental health at times?
In my case no. I am aware of colleagues who have had problems and difficulties in dealing with changes in sleep patterns. In my case, I'm lucky that my body can adapt easily to changes in sleep patterns. Until today I have never felt any problems, either physical or mental
Please can you give 3 tips for aspiring cabin crew:
The first tip I can give is if this job is your dream job never give up on it. Maybe it's something always said, but it's essential. I was not accepted in my first interview for a cabin crew position, but I never give up and after some attempts, I could reach my dream. The second tip I can do is to be prepared to work and even sometimes to live away from home.
Depending on the airlines, you can have projects of some months in different countries or the company can have bases in different countries and you will need to be ready to move for any base they need you. You should be ready to miss important dates like Christmas day with your family or birthdays from important people for you.
The last tip is to be prepared to deal with people with personalities completely different from yours. In this job, you are in contact with people from different places with different cultures and you must be the capacity to adapt to everyone, but of course, never let the passengers disrespect you. You must be friendly, adaptable, but at the same time firm to enforce the rules of the company where you work.