Cabin Crew is a dream job for so many people and applying for jobs and attending assessment days can be a daunting task. However once you have achieved your goal it can be more than a rewarding career choice. One of my fellow trainees from British Airways has been living his dream for just over a year now and here is what he has to say….
“When I first found out I got a job as Cabin Crew at British Airways I spent a good 20 minutes staring at the email, which I got the day after what I thought was a disastrous assessment day. I’d been interviewed for Gatwick Fleet a year previously and came out feeling confident and didn’t get the job, so when I came out of my Mixed Fleet interview feeling defeated I couldn’t have had any lower expectations.
When I found out I got the job I got a completely numb feeling, I told my dad but I was so incredulous I’m not sure he believed me at first!
Now before I know it I’ve been flying for exactly a year and I couldn’t feel more comfortable, harking back to my hopeful days of applying for crew positions I know I would never have believed the short time period in which you can become accomplished, experienced crew and feel like you’ve been doing it as long as those you’ve spent your dreaming days looking up to. If you apply yourself and do your job properly, with the frequent turnover of crew, you really can become what is considered ‘experienced crew’ in those short 6 months… which 6 months on feels like a lifetime ago!
If you were to ask me what the highlights of the job have been so far I could go on forever, but in brief I would mention coconuts on the beach in Brazil, spending the 4th July in LA with 2 of my course mates, riding a camel around the pyramids of Giza, flying my childhood hero David Prowse (Darth Vader) out to Vancouver for a convention, spending virtually every month of my career in Chicago until we lost the route, seeing the Crystal Hall in Baku (constructed for Eurovision) and seeing a herd of giraffes pass by our hotel in Nairobi. However, the main highlight was being called off my standby to cover a JFK nightstop (not normally one of our routes so a great treat!).
Naturally, the job has its lows, mainly when you’re sat on the jumpseat on a night flight desperately trying to stay awake while all your passengers doze contentedly in the cabin, and the pay could be better, but that’s just the state of the industry at present; you’ve just got to believe that things will improve and that the gamble is worth achieving your dream job.
I’ve flown to a lot of cool places with BA now – Canada, Japan, Azerbaijan, Georgia – but Chicago will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the first time I touched down in the States. Nonetheless, there’s a reason they refer to New York as a hell of a town…
Some people are concerned about how the job may affect their social and personal life, all I can say is you’ve got to roll with the punches. It works if you make it work, make your friends realise the fact that you realistically spend a lot of time at home in the UK, because they will presume that you spend most of your time abroad. The standby can be tedious, but we all acknowledge that they are good opportunities to get menial tasks done around the house and, let’s face it, you can always invite friends round for a cuppa! Unfortunately standby can butcher the excitement of roster day, but you can always get it filled if you ask, there’s always crew wanting to take unpaid leave for trips, so there’s normally someone on offer – the standby desk is your friend!
You may have heard good things about British Airways, you may have heard bad, that’s not for me to dictate to you, but I love working for BA. I like the security that I’m working for a well established airline with an expansive, busy route network and a firm foothold within an airline alliance that all amounts to the fact that the airline is going nowhere, which means the job is always there for me if I do it properly. I feel looked after – how many jobs give you the opportunity to say you get paid to lounge on a sunbed at a 5 star hotel, soaking up the 40 degree rays of the Egyptian sun? Inevitably, when a company is as profound as BA some people are going to be upset here and there, but I always think a job is what you make of it, and there’s an awful lot to make of your job at BA; you can progress to CSM or higher or look into other departments if you get bored of flying. I, personally, am looking into becoming a line trainer for the new recruits, so the company doesn’t come close to the big bad that it’s made out to be. And let’s not forget: the uniform is gorgeous, why else would Thomas Cook be wanting to emulate it so explicitly?
So if you’re looking to become Cabin Crew and you’re looking for the advice I was just a couple of years ago, I would recommend you read up as much as you can on the airline you’re applying for, familiarise yourself with the job itself (it’s not all tea, coffee & sunbeds, there’s bar paperwork, screaming children, sleep deprivation, depletion of supplies before second service, meal orders that leave customers unsatisfied…. need I go on?- there are some great resources such as this cabin crew preparation course and this book), scrub up beyond compare and show those tits & teeth! You want to be Cabin Crew, so glam up and masquerade your inner god/dess of the skies!”
Got an assessment day coming up with BA? Make sure you’re in the know by purchasing my new book Becoming Cabin Crew: An Essential Guide to the Application Process, Training and Life in the Skies!