By: Guia Katrina R. C.
Two minutes left and I will be late for briefing. Worried at the bus; thinking of what transpired minutes earlier just to keep me busy and not notice the time. 45-minute preparation for flight. I wonder why Crew Control calls me and gives me a very tight preparation time. Well, that's fine! Coz why not, pulled for London flight? Geez! Excited to fly, though.
Been on standby for quite few days, and this means money plus am I the only one who is excited to sleep in the hotel bed? Tik tak! tik tak! I have already called Briefing Office and bus hasn't arrive. Ugh! Crew on my left, making tiktok videos (maybe filipina). On my right, doing her nail polish, (make sure grooming approved that ) pretty ha, maybe european. Wearing pants, Jeddah flight? Ready for 12-hr duty. Bad mood that girl,raising her voice over the phone? Maybe B.O. on the other line. Shhhh! She is super late already. Hmmmmm. . One meter from my seat, chika to the max! My Filipina girlfriends, one is off to Paris, the other one to Istanbul, love them. Yay! bus is here. I'm about to observe each crew and wonder what they're up to at the waiting area (my hobby at the crew reporting building but coz the bus is late....) finally, I stepped off the bus, rushed at the self check in and headed to the briefing room. Just in time! Whew!
At the back of my mind while staring at the Indian purser, she doesn't look strict, hope she asks easy question? "LET'S START WITH QUICK INTRODUCTION". Guia, from the Philippines, while looking at them one by one, ohh flying with 4 nationalities today! Mahal, Habibi, Azizam, Sayang. . .hmmm. Suddenly, i heard CD say, "GUIA, L4". (Shizz! my mind is everywhere, pay attention girl.) Thank you Madam! "YOU WILL BE THE BIG BOSS AT THE BACK, OKAY? ---- this, this how I've missed. My last operating flight.
My flying life has a unique story to tell each day I fly - from graduating with flying colours as the Best in Class and to adjusting daily in a multicultural setting. It's a daily celebration of the United Nations Day. How fulfilling it is to meet various nationalities in one day and people from different walks of life. Some days are so good that I want it to be my everyday; very seldom that I encounter bad days that I'd wish I never reported for flight. But that's alright. At the end of the day, I have safely landed, I am alive and I still have my job. I'd always pause for a while, look back at the sky and thank my real commander of life, Papa God.
I make it a habit to start my duty at home - BB cream, arched eyebrows, warm brown eyeshadow, mascarra, liquid eyeliner, blushies and the powerful magenta lipstick. (I don't wear foundation. Shhh grooming). Of course, my hair neatly tied in a flat cinnamon way. (Pasaway, donut is too heavy ). The moment I put on my uniform, I am my airline. I don't know why, but the uniform is just too strong that I forget who I am, but my name plate is up here for identification. (It's like any normal individual transforming to a superhero). Hat on and finishing touch for my Cabin Crew look with my stunning veil on. So ready to go. Are you? That's how we value being the face of the airline, and, the airline actually. Come on, let's take off in an extraordinary career!
Briefing is almost always the nerve rocking part. Beginning your day with Q and A about Safety, First Aid, Security, Service and the ten latest memos. Those on the very thick manuals that we have studied in a compressed 12-week training. Your 4-year course in 3 months? Big brains we have. We felt like we were always getting ready for board exams whenever we prepare for a day's revision and daily exam. And stepping into the briefing room daily, we'd get goosebumps and palpitations as if we are facing a trial. I master 3 aircraft types - Boeing 737, Boeing 787 Dreamliner & Airbus 330 and FYI we memorize the equipment location not only the equipment, checks and usage - which one is up above, down, under, left, right, beside, behind next to. (Name all those prepositions in your english class) The doors are completely different too, and the galley, challenging in Airbus and B737. Don't worry, we are not only book smart but more of a street smart type. We've got a lot of life hacks that will make our lives easier whilst in the tube. Mind you, inability to answer 3 questions will get you offloaded from the flight - goes straight to your record plus a total wreck in your next month's salary. Personally, I read everyday before my flight to refresh my memory. Ask me about all of these, I will answer you straight, with eyes closed or even with music on. But ask me which day is today, and which flight I came from, please give me a minute or two to think. I just don't know what kind of memory I have now. Probably, effect of being 40-hour awake at times. Zombie mode it is.
Are you in awe whenever we all walk in? At the airport? I feel that too! So glamorous. Beauty Queen? We nail it everytime. Grace is gorgeous. Winsome smile, chin up, chest out, stomach in, and looking straight while my peripheral view is off. This is the way I do my catwalk along the aisle of the aircraft. Did I just hear someone ask for something? Ooops, maybe murmur? Go ahead girl! I'm too busy staring at my galley, and thinking what's in there. Just kidding! Honestly, I've got so much in my head and my brain cells are about to beg me if I can stop thinking for a while. "Yes Sir, how may I help you"? It's like a manufacturing machine needed to be shut down to stop working.
When I applied for this job, I already know that my priority is saving the life of others more than mine. And when I received my wings, I had my full commitment to save you under any circumstance - I can be your fire fighter, your first aider, your security officer. I am after your safety. After all, you will be with me in my office tube for quite long hours. This is my priority, not taking your bags at the hat rack or pouring your second round of orange juice, 3/4s of your cup. I can evacuate you all in 90 seconds with minimum injuries using half the useable exits. More than these, I can play different roles too, give you different flavors on board.
● Playing as your bartender in flight, serving your favorite whiskey on the rocks; gin tonic; bloodymary with no tabasco in economy and champagne in business class.
● I can be a waitress too. Would you like to have some Chicken Tagine, Beef Stew with Potatoes or Paneer for Vegetarian? Why on earth you'd answer me FISH? Are you drunk or what?
● Perhaps something to drink? Orange Juice, Apple or Mango? - PINEAPPLE (.I have a pen, I have an apple, Uh! Apple-Pen!I have a pen, I have an apple, pineapple apple pen). Sir, APPLE only.
● Trying my patience huh? push! And which airline serves Milk Tea with pearls on board coz we do not have? I only asked you, coffee or tea? Or ask me for infant's milk formula plus sanitary napkin? Madam, 7 eleven?.
●Eyyy. . Collection Time! May I have your tray please? Uhmm excuse me Sir, kindly give it to me one by one? Huh, handing me pile of 4 trays. And this guy at 31C. Don't kick it infront of me, it would be nice if you give me the way I have beautifully placed it on your tray table.
● Whew! Final Collection is gonna eat my meal soon but first, trash please. . .i so love saying this to each of the guest. I don't know why but, Trash! Trash! Self-fulfilling I guess?
● Complaining for not giving you your nth bottle of wine or can of beer, oh come on! Go to the bar after your flight. They will appreciate you for paying so much.
● And not to forget, when someone tells me, I paid everything on board. Did you also pay for our oxygen bottles and fire extinguishers?
This kind of life on board? Oh small thing. I've got 6 hours now doing nothing, sitting on all the containers , did many rounds at the cabin, checking what else is in the crew cart and never stopped eating. Saw a crew eating 3 meals? Ohh, she is not eating the rice, just eating the veggies and the viand . That crew, she loves the dinner rolls. No rice but gained a lot coz of bread and butter. Give me some ice, milk and mango. I'll make you a Mango Smoothie. We always ran out of stories - politics, that sexy chic and hearthrob at 46AC, travels, love life, gossips. and more. 6 hours is just too cool, sometimes, I'd wish I was on my bed rolling and cuddling my pillow, watching netflix or merely traveling on my phone's apps. Missin it?
Cabin Crew prepare for arrival! Yay! Shopping in Manchester ayyy! You collected the blankets, and secured the cabin as fast as you can. And strapped yourself that quick! Safety instructor said, whenever strapped, do silent review! L3-R3 seats just have this curse that it pulls me to sleep. What is with this jumpseat that my bed doesn't have? Can i take you home? Trying to be awake coz this guy in front of me is so annoying. Don't stare at me sir! (you sleepyhead!). Other crew is wide awake, but thinking of her shopping list. Order of her customers from Primark, Marks and Spencer, Zara, Louis Vuitton. . . long list ahhh. . . Money is life, I know but Silent Review is lifer . First timer over there in L4C, thinking of her OOTD and asking L4 on the best spots to visit. Oh yes! Cabin Crew, SILENT REVIEW! . Relate much?
Disarming the doors would mean, we are here. Time to disarm cabin crew role? Nah ah. . Not yet until you have disembarked all passengers, checks are done and you are good to go. And again, strut down the catwalk.
This is normally how our life goes. We get to the hotels, we receive our daily allowances and get our own rooms. Get to sleep in the different hotels around the world. Name it - Marriott, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Sheraton, Novotel, Ramada, Sofitel. . . After a long day, we say, have a good rest everyone. Hoping to see each other again for buffet breakfast, or wishing I can stroll with you later, or maybe game for a party tonight. It all depends on my body who is dead tired now after preparing meals and beverage for 258 pax and as if serving 774 pax because of their requests.
So, I went up to my room. Carefully placed my bag on my bed side table, took off my hat, placed it on the desk and delicately laid the veil. I took of my coat hang it in the closet. While smoothly running my palm over it, I removed my nameplate, arranged it nicely next to my hat, and there, I rested my wings. I went to bed in my silk pyjamas and slept.
Being a flight attendant means being anyone. You can't just choose to be a jet doll. Or a server. You have a countless life. You need to crack jokes if need be just to make a worried unaccompanied minor aside or even carefully cover a dead body en route your final destination. It's an extreme life.
Wanna be a flight attendant? Then be ready to be a one living body who is up to split ten thousand times and live beyond the 10,000 ft normal breathing saturation.
Welcome to 43,000ft! Kudize!