|Source/Courtesy of http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Germanwings_-_Service.jpg|
Today, we have a special guest on Leaving Cairo. On condition of anonymity, I have bagged an interview with a member of Cabin Crew for a world class airline. Here to introduce us to the highs and lows of life in the skies, I introduce to you – “Billy Spears” (those of you who are lovers of The Beatles will know where this name nom de plume comes from.)
Q: Thanks for agreeing to this interview. So, how long have you been flying?
I started quite late really. I've only been flying for five years & I'm in my 50's.(There you go readers, you don't have to be young, in your 20's in order to start your flying career).
Most of us are 9-5 Monday to Friday workers and I’m sure there are those out there that are keen to escape from or read about someone who has escaped that routine.
Q: Can you describe a ‘typical’ working week?
My work patten is only published 6 weeks in advance and so its not always easy to plan what to do in my spare time, I am quite used to making no future commitments.
This creates pros and cons on both sides: I get a fair amount of time off because of the time changes I encounter when flying, but on the other hand I get very tired changing time zones, which effects the quality of time I get when I am at home. Here’s an example itinerary:
Return to Edinburgh in one day
6 days off
5 days Kingston, Jamaica
Q: Where’s your favourite destination, and why?
I should say Greece, but my works takes me mainly to the Caribbean. For relaxing, I suppose St.
Lucia and for an unforgettable experience
(but not necessarily in a good way ) Jamaica.
St Lucia is still relatively unspoilt and has retained some culture of its own,
is a dangerous place...they have culture too... a
pirate culture! Jamaica
Of all the places I have ever visited...and there are many...Corfu has to be one of my favourite places along with Palm Springs USA
Q: Any horror stories/tales about difficult passengers, situations? Spill the dirt!
There is always the potential for upset. Holiday makers/passengers enter a place (the airport) that they are not familiar with and are stressed before their trip begins. I find it better to be very non confrontational in dealing with the public, but sometimes the person involved is just plain out of control. During a trip from Jamaica, a passenger became very very offencive and threatening for no apparent reason. He was reported and met by the police on arrival in London. I can still see the blood vessels standing out on his fore head in my mind!
Q: And any particularly nice stories?
I love to dip my toes in the water of other people's lives. I'm very lucky to have met so many people, even if for such a little time.
One such couple were travelling from the Caribbean to London and were fabulously friendly and just great to be around. They were travelling in First Class and I made sure they had the opportunity for the full treatment. It was very sad that it turned out they were returning to London to attend a cancer clinic. All the first class crew wished them well when they left the plane. Our thoughts and wishes went with them and if there any truth to the stories of positive energy helping, then this was a real case.
Q: Would you recommend this job? And what should one be careful of/be prepared for? What myths and illusions should they dispel?
Worse thing about the job is the jet lag. One day you go west and your day turns into 23 hours, and the other direction you miss a night's sleep before you arrive.
I would recommend this job to anyone who has an interest in seeing the world and meeting people. They will also need lots of stamina. Myths and illusions: its not very glamorous and I don't speak any foreign languages, so it’s not always necessary to have a foreign language.
Thanks, Billy, for this insight into life in the skies.
If you, too, are interested in a career as Cabin Crew, you can look at the following websites for more information: