The Flying Red Crown
This is a blog dedicated to all cabin crew aspirants, fellow frequent flyers and aviation lovers. My big hugs and smooches to the people involved in the process of creating this blog most especially to the very critical candy cane.
You must have read by now how I started my life as a cabin crew. As promised, I am sharing with you all the nitty-gritty details about starting your own flying career and so, I’ve gathered information (for as much as I know and remember) to somehow help you get started.
Disclaimer: The information provided is solely based on my personal experiences. It does not guarantee your job acceptance and does not fully represent the rules and regulations of the company I work for.
“Welcome onboard and please fasten your seatbelt.”
*English is the required language proficiency in most international airlines and some domestic airlines; however, fluency in another language is not a requirement but an advantage. You may not be so confident with English language but that’s why practice can help, be it in front of a mirror or with your trusted friends. Learn to discover the meaning of new words and read books for you to be comfortable with the language. Having to know the context of local phrases goes a long way. It is okay to make grammar mistakes for as long as you are open to learning if someone points it out to you.
*Contrary to the popular belief, you do not need to be a Tourism student for you to become a flight attendant. Although being a Tourism graduate may have an advantage, you can apply for the job even if you are a graduate of any other course. Here in the UAE, the requirement is for you to be at least a high school graduate.
*Swimming is a necessary skill for survival in case of ditching (water landing) and some airlines require basic knowledge on it. For Middle Eastern Airlines, it is not a requirement but for some European and UK-based airlines, it is. In the airline I work for, we were provided with water survival training and it is done in a sub-zero temperature pool. For your information, I never knew how to swim until I forced myself to learn in our company accommodation’s swimming pool.
*Mr. Google is your best friend. Research about the airline you would want to work for and read about its requirements (age, height, weight, nationality, etc) as well as the culture of its home base (flagship country). Reading blogs, watching vlogs or following the cabin crew of your choice on social media is also a good idea. To give you a great start, follow me on my IG page @theflyingredcrown
*Practice basic hair and make up, grooming and walking in heels. There are some Asian airlines I know that require flat shoes as part of their uniforms but most airline uniforms consist of at least two-inch heeled shoes. Male aspirants also have their own grooming standards like for example in our company, it is allowed to have a well-trimmed moustache but not a goatee. Clean cut and classic hairstyles are usually required. In a customer service oriented job, you initially make an impact by always looking your best. Clear skin and good set of teeth makes a difference. 20/20 vision is preferred but not a requirement.
*Tattoos and body piercings. Any tattoo would not look good if it is visible when you are wearing the company’s uniform. Nonetheless, you may feel free to do so once you are already flying as you are now more familiar with the length and uniform styles which will guide you with your tattoo placement. With body piercings other than your ears (for females), nose, tongue and others are definitely not allowed when in uniform.
*Train yourself to smile often and practice it as you will need plenty of those when you attend an open day with any airlines and throughout your flying career. It will be a bit of a challenge if you’re somebody with a normal non-smiling or grouchy face. While nothing is wrong with that, think of it this way, your smile will be worth up to five digits in US dollars or six if it is in Philippine peso. $$$!
*Enrolling in a flight attendant training course is an advantage but not required. There are ladies asking me if they should enroll themselves in a flight attendant school. I would say if you could afford it and want to do something on your spare time, go for it. It will broaden your knowledge about this job and will widen your network too. However, most crew members today did not have to do this as airline companies provide training courses about Safety, Medical, Security, Service as well as Image and Uniform.
*Prepare your Curriculum Vitae/Resume and list down situations you’ve handled or you’ve encountered while you are in your current job. It is meant to highlight your people skill, customer service orientation, skill in team dynamics, leadership, flexibility and most especially your resilience in dealing with unplanned scenarios. Most of these competencies embody what a flight attendant does on a day-to-day basis. You will have to work along with different personalities, you will deal with customers of different nationalities (and difficult ones too), you will go to work during wee hours and you will encounter challenges or difficulties on some of your flights. This job is never just about the glamour, I tell you.
*When you’re ready, start checking for open days or recruitment dates of the airline you wish to work for. Put all your necessary documents/photos in one big waterproof envelope. Invest in a good pair of black-heeled closed shoes, skin-toned stockings (some airlines require no stockings for their Open Day) and a good pair of top and knee-length skirt in earth-toned colors. Tie you hair up in a classic bun or French twist, put on some light make up and keep your finger nails clean and polished. For males, a decent long sleeve, tie and slacks should work. Keep your hair in place with hair balm or gel. Keep your nails neatly-trimmed short and polish your shoes like it’s your first day in school. Remember to look classy, not trashy because less is always more.
*Keep in mind that positive thoughts attract positive outcome. So if being a cabin crew has always been your dream, do something about it. Do not let negative thoughts or fear of rejection outshine your inner spirit. Strong determination should lead you to success.
OPEN DAY EXPECTATIONS
*Impress everyone by arriving early. This stage is when you’ll present yourself to the aviation world. This is where you will put into good use all the preparations you’ve done physically, emotionally and mentally for the job that you’ve always wanted.
*You will see several statuesque ladies and attractive men, but do not be deterred. With all your preparations, you are the very best version of yourself on that day. Focus on your strengths and be aware of your weaknesses so you can compensate for it. Keep in mind that not all flight attendants are tall and good-looking. In the Asian setting, airline companies are strict with having a clear and even complexion. In the Middle East, they never really look at dark elbows or knees. I remember a friend who got rejected because of her dark elbows when she applied for a Middle Eastern Airline Open Day in the Philippines. She got the job when she applied for the same company with an Open Day being held in another country.
*For Middle East-based airlines, arm reach test is usually conducted. An arm reach test is done to test your capability in reaching the overhead compartments of the aircraft. During the Open Day, the hiring staff will place a mark on the wall and you can tip toe as high as you can for you to reach it. This covers the 210 or 212cm measurement that is usually required by airlines. I remember with Air Asia, I did not have to do this. We were only measured in height and noted our weight.
*There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Be nice to everyone you’ll meet. A simple and non-assuming lady who would receive your resume by the door can be someone important in the company you wish to work for. Do not act like a diva even if you already know the drill after attending so many Open Days. After all, you are there to apply for a job.
*Show genuine interest whenever there is something (like a video or audio materials) that the company you are applying for is presenting to the applicants. As I have mentioned on my first post, we were shown the video of Dubai and the hiring staff were very observant as to who among us were watching it with full attention. This is not the best time to start texting your loved one or posting an Instagram story.
*Be good when it’s time to be good. There will be a series of group activities and it means working along with the group. Avoid being the obnoxious person in the group. Know when to say your part and when to stop and listen. Being just a silent creature or being overly confident is neither helpful. When you are asked a question or asked to do a speech, it is simply to test your English proficiency as you think on your feet. Keep your composure, as you will be observed on how you will answer a question rather than the content of your answer. Balance is the key. Smile is your weapon.
*Be modest. When you get that lucky envelope that says you’ve made it to the next round, be discreet. I know you wanted it so bad and you just can’t contain that feeling but think about those who didn’t make it. You were probably just like them before you got in. Empathize with them and believe me, this word will come up once again during your service training once you get hired by the company.
FINAL INTERVIEW EXPECTATIONS
*When the rubber meets the road. This is the stage where you will either make it or break it. If during the initial stage you were not happy about the way you look, now is the time to make it better. Look and act classier. Be your best professional self as it is when you spend more time with the hiring staff.
This includes: Greeting and addressing the interviewer by their last name (or asking them how they prefer to be addressed), waiting to be offered a chair before sitting, making eye contact with them, keeping in mind your posture as well as your body language and lastly, maintaining a genuine smile.
*Be your own professional persona. This is when the hiring staff gets to know you more on a personal level. Having said that, now is your chance to sell yourself to the company and it usually starts with a “Tell me something about yourself” question. Use this opportunity to highlight your educational or professional achievements rather than talking about your personal short stories or histories. Talk about things outside of your written CV.
*I remember being asked these questions.
- Why do you want to be a flight attendant?
- Why did you choose (company)?
- Have you had a very difficult situation with a customer?
- Did you have any conflict with your colleague and how did you handle it?
- How do you manage a stressful day at work?
I’m guessing they asked me these questions because I was already working at that time. So if you’re someone with no work experience, either they will ask you a similar question but in a school setting or they will ask you to share your thoughts about a certain situation.
*Avoid talking about controversial topics that includes religion or politics. It’s not the best place to debate about your views regarding these matters.
*Package your thoughts and mandate its delivery. Don’t forget that you also have to show your personality in answering questions. Catch yourself whenever you feel stiff, as it will also impact the mood of your interviewer. They will react on how you will present your thoughts through your body language. In making first impressions, most of the time, it is not about what you said but how you acted while delivering the message. Never lie or exaggerate about yourself most especially your skills. Most interviewers are usually those with Psychology background and are well experienced in reading people’s behavior. They will be able to smell your lies even from afar.
*When you’re asked if you have any question, ask something that you haven’t researched from the company’s website. Some airline companies have FAQs on their pages but if you can think of a question for the interviewer for you to look interested about the job, then by all means, ask. I remember asking them when can I expect an email if I made it or not. In other instances, it will be good to ask a clarification point about something he/she said during the interview. It would only mean that you are demonstrating good listening skills.
*After all the stress of the Open Day and final interview, it’s time to keep your fingers crossed and wait for that job offer or confirmation email. Once you have received it, most airlines will also advise you to undergo the required medical checks. Believe me, you will have plenty of them. I’ve heard instances where people would fail their medical check ups and ended having their job offer cancelled by the airline company as they are not considered fit for this job. If this happens to you, consider applying for another job because after all, your health should be your priority.
DEALING WITH REJECTION
*The most difficult part of the application process is when you thought you’ve given your best but it wasn’t just good enough. Dealing with rejection can be taken positively and here are some of the things you can ponder on, should you find yourself in this situation:
–It is a stiff competition. Know that sometimes, small percentages only make it through and perhaps, a lot of your fellow applicants also got rejected.
–It doesn’t reflect who you are as a person. The company rejected you for a lot of probable reasons but definitely not because of who you are. While you may never know the reason, never let this discourage you from moving forward. It only means that you are not “fit” for the said company’s needs. Move on to the next one.
–Recall the possible reasons why you didn’t get the job. Review the dos and the don’ts of an interview and see whether you have or haven’t done any of them. Learn from it, re-strategize then, apply. While recruiters evaluated your technical skill set, they may have checked if you fit in the company’s culture. This may be their guiding line whether to accept an applicant or not.
–Never quit. There were crewmembers I ‘ve flown with that have tried several times before they got the job. The only reason you will quit is when you are obviously not fit for the job physically (e.g. height requirement) or for medical reasons.
It may be so demoralizing when you have poured out all your energy into the whole application process and not making it through. Considering all the points mentioned above does not just give you a positive aura but makes you a more sensible person too.
Note: If you’ve finally made it and ready to set your foot in the sky, watch for my next post as I share with you the tips on how to prepare for your move (if relocating) or your life as a wanderlust. Ciao, I’m off to Rome.
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