There are highs and lows to working as cabin crew, just as in any job. The highs will include seeing new places and making good friends and hopefully doing a job you love. The lows include fatigue, missing birthdays and family events and having little social life outside of work.
It is what you make of it and it can be the most rewarding job you will ever do. After 6 months, you will know if it is the career for you, you will either love it or hate it and if you do choose to leave, if within 6 months you still think about flying – then it’s time to go back! It will change your life. It’s not just a job, it’s a whole lifestyle.
Here are my top ten tips for survival on the road and down-route:
1. Drink lots of water onboard, you will need it to stay hydrated. Your skin won’t dry out so much and it will improve your digestion.
2. Sleep whenever you can – working long shifts at unusual hours can be very difficult, so be kind to yourself and get a few more Zzzzzs.
3. To get the most out of your suitcase space and still stay presentable, fold and then roll your clothing and put in the centre of the case with shoes and other items around the sides.
4. Leave problems at home, keep a positive attitude and enjoy your work – this will rub off on the rest of the team and make a long day a whole lot easier.
5. Have a ‘freshen-up’ kit in your crew bag, so you can always look immaculate. It also makes you feel better during a long flight. Start collecting those mini toothbrushes/toothpaste and foot sprays now!
6. Make sure you have a spare set of uniform and at least one outfit in your wheelie – you may have an unexpected night-stop due to the aircraft having a technical issue or you may get red wine on your shirt during the service, so it is best to be prepared.
7. It can get lonely as cabin crew, and sometimes you might just want a little piece of home. Take a couple of photographs of those you love or some candles or your favourite music – anything that makes you feel good. If you can take a laptop/I-pad, you can use it for Skype, playing games or to watch your favourite movie – sometimes it is essential if you are away for a long time.
8. Long haul cabin crew may find a few comforts essential for crew rest onboard. A mini hot water bottle will make you feel better and your own little travel pillow and a children’s size quilt (they roll up small) will be your best friend.
9. Look after yourself – try and eat healthily and avoid meals onboard when you can as they are loaded with fat and preservatives. Use the gym or go for a walk, but take a little exercise down-route you will feel better for it.
10. Be aware of your surroundings down-route and don’t take any risks – unfortunately even if we are not in uniform we can still be identified as crew by locals and sometimes this can be a negative thing. Watch out for scams, drink spiking and keep jewellery and cash to a minimum. Keep your hotel keycard and crew ID with you, to identify yourself. If possible tell someone where you are going or go out with others.
These are just a few tips to help you whether you are thinking of being cabin crew or taking your first steps in the skies. I have learnt from trial and error, my colleagues and a lot of experience on short haul and long haul flights as well as working as sole crew member on private jets. These can be adapted to suit everyone, even in ‘civvie’ life outside of your uniform. Stay safe, take care and have fun!