By: Mond Ortiz
Today is a normal busy day for this. While our staff writers are posting content on different airline cabin crew hiring and open days, I am on my way to attend a cabin crew graduation of an airline. While on my way, I am posting pictures of newly winged cabin crew members who are excited that they have finally achieved their dream. Poofffffff!!!! That would have been the scenario if this CoviD-19 crisis never came to existence.
I remember starting 2020 full of optimism, even sharing that the world will need more cabin crew, particularly our local airlines. Philippine Airlines, PAL Express, Cebu Pacific, AirAsia. On this day last year, these airlines were busy training and recruiting more flight attendants as they expand their network and capacity. Some flight attendants even shared "sir Mond, kulang na kulang na kami ng crew, sana maghire pa sila", but that was last year.
This was very good news for all our cabin crew aspirants looking forward to earn their wings. Every hiring was an opportunity for them to turn these dream into a reality. If they make it, they celebrate. If not, they try again.
For us in Flyhigh Manila, we would have been churning out articles to inspire all our future flight attendants not to give-up, that airlines will keep hiring as the demand of air travel increase. Present flight attendants with all their good heart, share their stories to the aspirants, with hopes of inspiring them too.
Today would also be a normal day where we post pictures of new flight attendants, proud wearing their uniforms as they share their stories. The process of becoming a flight attendant is never easy, nor was it ever since time immemorial. The rigorous recruitment process, the much dreaded training where the new recruits face sleepless nights, exams everyday with a 90% passing mark and three lifelines, etc, and to graduation where they are now certified as flight attendants.
The tears of joy, the diplomas, picture with the parents, the graduation speeches, yes all those would have been happening now. Then after a few days, these new flight attendants will embark on their very first productive flight, a milestone in their lives.
On the other side are aspiring flight attendants perhaps lining up to be interviewed or going already through the recruitment process. Some would be jumping with joy knowing that they made each step, while would have been crying after being turned down. Their hopes are somehow diminished but not for long, thanks to all others who keep inspiring our future flight attendants.
After all these, everything will change, the whole aviation industry will change. Honestly, I doubt that the airlines will be hiring flight attendants again anytime this year as recovery may take more than a year. Moreso, many of our present flight attendants are now at home facing uncertainty.
My heart bleeds whenever I get to talk to some of them during casual conversations. Some are breadwinners of the family, sending their siblings to school, and providing food on the table for all to eat. Some even faced the axe.
I remember one flight attendant (won't mention her name) who one day wrote to me. She shared she can't believe the turnout of events. It was her dream to be a flight attendant, in fact whenever she would ride an aircraft prior to earning her wings, she would go to the lavatory and act as though she was serving passengers. Then one day, her dream became a reality. She became a flight attendant of a local airline. She was so happy to live her dream. She was so beautiful in her pictures as a flight attendant. She was beaming with happiness, knowing that she was living the life she used to pray for.
The in comes CoviD-19. Bammmm! Situation becomes worse. Airlines had to suspend regular scheduled operations which amounted to huge loses. This flight attendant got the axe. She couldn't believe what just happened. She lost her job as a cabin crew. I felt so sad for her. It's like losing a dream home to a fire which took you years to build.
Despite all these, I remain optimistic that things will return, but it won't be the same anymore. It's simply like you are in the middle of a video game leveling up then suddenly someone hits the reset button. You stop, go into darkness and try again. You get to learn new strategies as you start everything anew.
For the airline industry, it will definitely be a restart. Gone with the old, in with the new. Hopefully, all will be better next year and that scene I shared above? That will be the scene in 2021 hopefully.
Flight attendants are there to stay, for as long as aviation exists. Robots and machines will never replace human hearts especially when it comes to safety, security, and comfort.
My optimistic self tells me that on this day next year, 2021, more flight attendants will be flying and more will be hired. This year will be a year of recovery for the airline. Adjustments will happen and new strategies will be implemented but for as long as there is air travel, there will always be flight attendants. Their role on board the aircraft are as important as pilots.
So to all our aspirants, hang in there. Your day will come. It may not be this year, maybe next or next next. And to all our present cabin crew facing uncertainty, keep praying and have faith. We can all do this together.