Step Twelve – Staying mentally and physically healthy as Cabin Crew

Step Twelve – Staying mentally and physically healthy as Cabin Crew

This month our partner Cabin Crew Wings is focusing on the best ways to stay healthy and fit as crew:

The Cabin Crew job is more physically demanding than you might think! You’ll be on your feet and for long periods of time, and also be constantly bending, stretching and balancing in an often fairly cramped space.


 

Get into good fitness habits

Just moving a bit more can make a big difference! Getting out for a daily walk or jog on your days off or on layovers, doing a regular home workout.

You could also join a gym or sports centre when things begin to return to normal (at the time of writing many of us are in lockdown from the current Coronavirus pandemic). This can seem like an expensive option, but many places now offer monthly ‘deals’ that include unlimited classes and use of facilities – this can end up being really good value.

If you prefer to get fit in the comfort of your home there are a huge amount of videos and tutorials on the internet – you can check out some great free ones on sites like YouTube.

You can also download some fantastic apps where you can track your progress and chat with similar minded people in group forums. 

Running, walking and hiking are free, healthy ways to improve your cardiovascular fitness. Skipping too is a great (and often overlooked!) workout that’s free, fast and effective.
 

 

Stretching and flexibility

Posture and flexibility, as well as balance and co-ordination, are very important for cabin crew. Building strength and skills in these areas will help you get through some areas of your training, like the all-important cabin crew reach test.

Yoga and Pilates are great for this, and again there are hundreds of resources and apps available online.

The meditative qualities of this type of exercise can also be a great help in balancing the stresses of cabin crew life.
 

 

Nutrition

The long and anti-social shifts cabin crew sometimes work, along with the occasional lack of sleep can wreak havoc with your immune system. Recycled cabin air can also make you more prone to picking up bugs, especially when you’re in constant contact with passengers.

Therefore it’s really important that you try your best as a member of crew to eat as healthy and balanced a diet as possible!

Try to avoid processed foods and alcohol as much as possible, and drink plenty of water. Again there is a wealth of information and diet advice available online, and apps to help you plan meals, shopping lists and keep track of what you’re eating.

 

 

Mental health

Looking after your mental health is crucial for long hours, challenging working conditions and often disrupted sleep patterns can really take their toll.

Being crew can also often be a surprisingly lonely job – it’s not guaranteed you’ll always be working with the same colleagues, and as we covered last month you’ll have to spend time away from family and friends (and miss out on special occasions at times) on a regular basis.

Don’t suffer in silence. Talk to someone – in person or on the phone, or even via message or email. Whether it’s a family member, a close friend or a colleague, even just acknowledging the issue and speaking about it out loud can really help. 

Often you’ll find that other people aren’t coping as well as you might think either – it isn’t just you!

This is where physical exercise can help too. Getting out and going for a walk, even for 15 minutes, can really help to clear your head. 

Exercise (whether simple or more strenuous) has been proven to help elevate your mood by boosting your endorphin levels. 

 

Do what’s best for you

Put your own needs first and try a little self-care! If you’re on a layover and would rather curl up in bed with Netflix and a hot drink than go for a night on the town then choose to do what’s best for you.

 

It’s okay to say no now and again! 

Similarly spend time on your days off doing what you need to do to feel happy and de-stress. Don’t burn yourself out trying to live up to the expectations of others, or trying to please everyone.

It’s important to get enough sleep too – you really do need to prioritise this to be at your best, as it can take its toll both mentally and physically.

If you’re having trouble sleeping at an unusually early time because you’ve a super early start the next day, or are recovering from an overnight flight, then try an eye mask or listening to white noise or a relaxation app to help you.

 

Next steps

One of the things a lot of new crew find difficult is managing conflict and dealing with difficult people – unfortunately this is something you’ll have to deal with a lot as Cabin Crew!

Join us next time to find out our top tips on managing conflict at minimal stress to yourself!

See the latest cabin crew jobs from Aviation Job Search

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Our wonderful partner Cabin Crew Wings joins us once again, this time to discuss the excitement and reality of your first few days in the sky...   Following on from our article from last month, Step Nine – the pre-employment training, we look this month at your...

Step Eleven – Your relationship and social life as cabin crew

Step Eleven – Your relationship and social life as cabin crew

Cabin Crew Wings is here to share another insightful blog to cabin crew members in need of some inspiration and direction. 

 

Following on from our article from last month, Step Ten – First days in the sky, this month we’re focusing on the challenges of maintaining relationships with friends, family and partners while you’re away working.

Having any kind of social life can be tricky when you’re Cabin Crew. Frequent absences from home and irregular schedules don’t make it easy to plan dates or family dinners – but there are upsides as well.

 

A Different Kind of Social Life

A Cabin Crew career is often seen as the gateway to a jet-set lifestyle, travelling the globe and gaining exciting new experiences. Yes, it involves a lot of hard work, and sacrifices have to be made, but this profession does offer you a whole new type of social life.

Instead of a quick drink with colleagues after leaving the office, you and your fellow Cabin Crew could be sipping cocktails on a beach or seeing the sights in exotic, far-flung locations during overnight layovers.

Often, the friendships you form as Cabin Crew will be extra special because you’ll have a mutual understanding of each other’s lifestyle. This can be a comfort, especially when loved ones at home struggle to imagine your daily reality. 

 

Dealing with homesickness

It’s normal to feel homesick, especially at the beginning of your Cabin Crew journey. Unusual sleeping patterns, jetlag and adjusting to this new way of life can take its toll.

Remember to take little reminders of home with you when you leave; download some tunes that remind you of the people you love, pack a few photos of your friends or your favourite scented candle for your hotel room if you’re travelling long-haul.

People at home don’t always know where you are or when you’re working; make the extra effort to contact people when you’re on the ground. Squeeze in those phone calls when you can, and fire off a few texts if the time difference doesn’t work out.

It can also help if you’re able to live close to the airport where you’re based. When you’ve been missing home and want to get back to see people, the last thing you want is a long commute or to get stuck in traffic on the final leg of your journey.

 

Missing Important Events

Working as Cabin Crew, it’s inevitable that you’ll miss things. Your roster may mean you have to work over Christmas or miss birthdays and other special occasions. 

This can be one of the toughest aspects of being Cabin Crew. Hopefully, your friends and relatives will understand and just be glad to have you when you’re there. Skype and FaceTime are great to keep you feeling in the loop if you can’t make it to an event.

Sometimes, you’re bound to feel left out. To combat this, be proactive when you’re at home – reach out to people you want to spend time with, make sure they know you’re around! Carve out time to see the ones who are most important to you.

 

Keep the Romance Alive!

Long-distance relationships can throw up another set of challenges – especially when you’re in different time zones or uncontactable because you’re in the air.

Communication is key. Keeping in touch with each other will help you feel connected. A short, sweet message between flights or before you go to sleep will let the other person know you’re thinking about them.

When you’re together, make sure you have quality time. Take a day trip just the two of you, or cook a special dinner at home if you’re on a budget. Share anecdotes from your time apart, but don’t let work take up the whole conversation.

While it may not be ideal to be separated from a partner, look at the positives. The excitement of a reunion may help keep that spark alive! As the cliché goes, absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

 

Next Steps

While we’ve gone through some of the emotional difficulties of a Cabin Crew lifestyle, what about the physical aspects?

Join us next time to find out how to maintain a healthy lifestyle; exercise and fitness, diet and sleeping habits can all suffer as a result of working in the air, so we’ll have some tips and advice on how to remain in great Cabin Crew shape.

 

See the latest cabin crew jobs from Aviation Job Search

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Our wonderful partner Cabin Crew Wings joins us once again, this time to discuss the excitement and reality of your first few days in the sky...   Following on from our article from last month, Step Nine – the pre-employment training, we look this month at your...

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Our wonderful partner Cabin Crew Wings joins us once again, this time to discuss the excitement and reality of your first few days in the sky…

 

Following on from our article from last month, Step Nine – the pre-employment training, we look this month at your big day – the very first flight as Cabin Crew! 

It’s normal to feel a mixture of emotions. Nerves, excitement, anticipation – just remember that every member of crew has been in this position before, and use those first few flights as a learning curve for your future Cabin Crew career!

Although things vary slightly from airline to airline, here’s what you can expect…

 

Getting to know your base

You’ll get the opportunity after you complete your pre-employment training to have a look round the airport ‘base’ you’ll be flying out of. 

This will include being shown where to go, how to use any staff accessible computer systems or equipment, and how to ‘check in’ for flights as cabin crew. 

It’s a lot of information to take in at once – as with any type of job induction! Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure, or ask the member of airline staff showing you round to repeat or clarify something.

You’ll be told the rules and regulations for flying as crew for your airline, what identification you’ll need to bring and the rules for your carry-on luggage and security checks. Yes, crew need to go through the security process too!

 

Pre-flight briefing

You’ll be flying as an extra member of crew on your first flight, to allow you to observe the existing, more experienced crew members. 

At the pre-flight briefing you’ll meet the crew you’ll be flying with – in general you’ll find that they’ll be friendly, reassuring and happy to help! You’ll discuss the proposed flight plan with the Cabin Manager/Supervisor, and go over basic safety procedures.

Your pilot and co-pilot will introduce themselves and confirm the flight times, and also give you any information relevant to the flights ahead, for example if there could be any expected turbulence, or any delays are anticipated. 

Once aboard your aircraft you’ll get started with the standard pre-flight checks. This includes checking the doors, toilets, intercom, safety equipment and fire/smoke alarm system. You’ll also look over the seating to check everything is on order, and that there are no items present that shouldn’t be there!

The galley will also need to be checked over to make sure everything is functioning, present and correct for the in-flight food and drink service. If your airline is supplying meals as part of the service this will be the time any special requests are checked over – such as meals ordered in for passengers with dietary intolerances or specific preferences.

Following successful completion of these checks it’s time to welcome your very first passengers on board as a member of crew!

 

During the flight

When the captain announces that boarding can commence, it’s time to get that trademark Cabin Crew smile on. Great customer service and making your passengers feel welcome are crucial parts of the job.

Once everyone is seated it will be time for the safety checks (you’ll know some of these already from flying as a passenger – seatbelts need to be fastened and tray tables and window-blinds up, seats in the upright position!) before the safety demonstration takes place.

Depending on your airline this may be demonstrated by the cabin crew, or by a video/audio recording.

Then it will be time to strap yourself into the jumpseat, and get ready for take-off – as you would expect it feels very different from taking off as a passenger!

You’ll get the chance to have a go at various duties, but the nature of these will depend on individual flight conditions and circumstances. Always listen to the crew you are working with and respect their requests on those first few flights, and again, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on anything you’re not sure about!

It’s likely you’ll have to deal with passenger requests and assist with the food and drink, and duty-free services. Stay calm, stay polite, and if in doubt, ask a more experienced crew member. You might find that the majority of the flight passes in a bit of a blur as you get to grips with it all – don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. 

If you’re lucky and the flight workload and conditions permit you might get to spend a little bit of time on the flight deck, perhaps even for landing – an experience you’ll never forget!

 


Landing and debriefing

You’ll again take part in the pre-landing safety checks, making sure your passengers are securely and safely seated, and that everything is safely stowed away.

After you have landed and the passengers have de-planed, there are still plenty of jobs for the crew to carry out – including checking for forgotten items, clearing the cabin of any rubbish left behind, and completing paperwork.

Depending on your airline you could be welcoming another set of passengers on board within the hour for a short-haul turnaround, or handing over to a completely new crew on a long-haul flight.

You’ll take part in a debrief to discuss the flight, what went right, and what (if anything) went wrong. Your Cabin Manager or Supervisor will also give you feedback on your performance, this is great constructive criticism for you to learn from, and also another opportunity to ask questions if you feel the need to.

It will undoubtedly be a whirlwind of a day! But you’ll finish up feeling much more relaxed and confident about your next flight.

 

Next steps

Following the successful completion of your training flights (usually at least two) you’ll be a fully-fledged member of crew for your airline – what you’ve been dreaming of throughout the process!

However the learning doesn’t stop there – join us next time to find out the top challenges faced by new Cabin Crew in the early days of their career!

 

See the latest cabin crew jobs from Aviation Job Search

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Our wonderful partner Cabin Crew Wings joins us once again, this time to discuss the excitement and reality of your first few days in the sky...   Following on from our article from last month, Step Nine – the pre-employment training, we look this month at your...

Why ‘just be yourself’ is the wrong advice for Cabin Crew interviews

Why ‘just be yourself’ is the wrong advice for Cabin Crew interviews

We’re joined again by Kirsty Ferguson from Pinstripe Solutions, who will be discussing why it’s important not to wing your interview for cabin crew jobs.

I can’t tell you how many times I see this advice on social media across cabin crew forums in particular.  When an aspiring flight attendant asks: “What do I need to do to prepare for the airline assessment?” The reply is almost always “just be yourself and show them how much you want it.”

Now that, is winging it. This exciting role is not something to step into with little or no preparation. You might remember this phrase, ‘Prior preparation prevents poor performance’ and it could not be a truer statement. You are walking into a test situation, where the airline are testing or assessing your ability and your potential to perform this role. Winging it and ‘just being yourself’ is a high-risk strategy.

The assessment team might say ‘we are looking for that x-factor’ and that means they do want to see the real you, but you need to know how to articulate and illustrate that effectively across the variety of tests you will be asked to complete.

 

Here are the top 5 things you must do prior to your assessment:

  1. Understand and practice answering questions using the ‘Behavioural Interview Technique’. Don’t know what that is? It means you have to provide evidence and examples from your experience to answer questions, not just make general statements.
  2. Know your strengths clearly and make them practical not just fluffy feel good statements. Your strengths are not what you think about yourself, and this is exactly how most people answer this questions.  Instead of providing general opinions about yourself try to provide factual statements.

 

Here is an example: Instead of saying “I am great with people”  or “I am a people person” consider using facts and saying  “I have 7 years of customer service experience in 5-star hospitality roles and person to person sales in telecommunications”.  Now that’s a strength!

 

  1. Understand what the assessors are looking for in the group exercises.  Just being outgoing is not enough. How you participate in their exercises is the best way the airline will find out how you work within a team. I have been told many times by airline assessors, that if candidates don’t find a way to participate, they cannot mark them. You are going to part of a group with diverse personalities; it is up to you to find ways to connect with those personalities. You will need to show empathy and support for others and sometimes even interject to interact. Participation is key.
  2. Illustrate that you understand the actual day-to-day role of a flight attendant; the career path and the challenges. Have a plan for your career.  Nobody wants to invest in an employee who is just there for the joy of travel. You will have a serious job to do that includes safety, conflict management, medical care and logistics. Be able to talk through a typical day in the life of a Flight Attendant from sign on to sign off.
  3. Confidence and maturity is key. So yes, be yourself, but be prepared. Being prepared will help you take on all of the test exercises with confidence.  Illustrating maturity is not about age it is about attitude and how you deal with the variety of challenges you will face in this role.

 

Exercise: Try answering the question “Tell me about yourself?” and record your answer. Then, play it back. Would you hire you? Did you hear facts and evidence or a lot of generalisations and platitudes? Did you hear a person who knows who they are and what they have to offer? Or a person who had not taken the time to think about it and decide?

So the next time someone says, just be yourself, say thanks, but I’m going to prepare as well.

Author, speaker, career coach and entrepreneur, Kirsty thrives on the diversity and innovation of business in the coaching space. Founding Pinstripe Solutions in 2000 in response to the collapse of Ansett Airlines her Executive Coaching business has grown to specialize in Pilot, Cabin Crew, Aircraft Engineering, and Aviation Corporate Interview Preparation. Her team of off-site coaches works worldwide in 15+ countries via a unique online business model. Amassing an incredible social media following through relentless blogging and career hub contributions, Kirsty uses her platform to advocate for aviation as a career, to mentor and encourage self-knowledge, change and innovation. Kirsty has recently joined the Advisory Board for ‘Inflighto’ (www.inflighto.com) a groundbreaking industry app Kirsty has presented at Griffith and Sydney Universities, industry forums and drives airline careers through her Secondary School talks and Mentoring programs.

Kirsty is a monthly contributor to Australian Aviation Magazine, Aerotime.aero and Aviation Job Search. She has been interviewed for: Reuters, News.com, Marie Claire Magazine and Coaching Life. Listen to her interviews as a guest on iTunes leading podcast ‘Go All In’ and Australian Aviation Radio.

www.pinstripesolutions.com | kirsty@pinstripesolutions.com 

See the latest cabin crew jobs from Aviation Job Search

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Our wonderful partner Cabin Crew Wings joins us once again, this time to discuss the excitement and reality of your first few days in the sky...   Following on from our article from last month, Step Nine – the pre-employment training, we look this month at your...

Step nine…the pre-employment training with Cabin Crew Wings

Step nine…the pre-employment training with Cabin Crew Wings

Following on from our article from last month, ‘Step eight – the pre-employment checks’, we look this month at the part of the process you will have been waiting for – the pre-employment training for Cabin Crew!

This really is the final hurdle, as your secured offer of employment is dependent on you passing your training – for many it will be the first ‘hands-on’ experience of the job. Candidates with previous experience of being crew should not get complacent either, as parts of the training will differ from airline to airline.

There may be a wait between the completion of the background and pre-employment checks and the commencement of your training. Some airlines might ask you to complete tasks online during this time, such as e-learning courses. 

 

Are there costs involved in the training?

Your initial training will not usually cost you anything upfront. However, certain airlines will expect you to pay off the cost of your training over the course of your employment.

Some airlines allow you an allowance during the training period, which again may be deducted from your wages over a set period when you commence employment.

You might also have to pay for your own accommodation and meals during your training, or part of them. For example, an airline might cover your accommodation and breakfast costs, but not compensate you for lunch or dinner.

 

 

How long will the training last?

In general the training will be completed in around six weeks. However, this is a rule of thumb and can vary depending on the airline!

Some airlines who offer more choice in routes, cabin classes and aircraft may run a longer training course simply because there’s more content to cover.

 

 

The training

There are two main parts to the training – safety and security, and service.

Ensuring the safety of the passengers on board is the main role of Cabin Crew. It stands to reason that this should make up such a large section of the course.

You can expect to cover:

  • Pre-flight safety drills
  • Emergency landing procedure (on land and water)
  • Use of life rafts and life vests
  • Cabin pressure loss procedure
  • Firefighting and control
  • First Aid
  • Emergency resuscitation/CPR 
  • Use of on-board Safety Equipment
  • Conflict Management, and occasionally basic self-defence!
  • Security procedures, and dealing with dangerous goods and items onboard

 

There will also be a ‘wet-drill’ in which you’ll be asked to swim, practice survival techniques in the water and climb onto the life raft. There will also be a section on basic survival techniques which you would need to know following an emergency landing.

You’ll learn about the specifics of each type of aircraft you will be working on, including their layout, features and where the emergency exits and equipment are located. You’ll also be shown the door operation systems for each aircraft.

An important part of your training, Crew Resource Management, looks at communication between you and your fellow crew, and why it’s crucial to ensure that this is as good as possible so that there is less chance of miscommunication during an emergency.

There will also be training in customer service, passenger announcements, food and drink service and onboard sales. This includes the extra duties you may have to undertake in different cabin classes. 

You’ll also receive advice on personal grooming, and how to you are expected to represent the airline to the highest standards at all times.

 

Assessment

You will be assessed and tested on an ongoing basis during your training, and you MUST pass to go on to employment with the airline.

Some bits of the training are exciting and fun, but you also need to put in the work!

If there is anything that you’re struggling with or find unclear at any point then speak to one of your trainers as soon as possible – they’re there to help you!

 

Next steps

Following the successful completion of your training you’ll be given a date for your first flight! 

You’ll normally work under supervision on at least two flights before you officially earn your wings, when all of your hard work and perseverance will finally have paid off. After this you will be expected to complete ‘refresher’ training every year, to make sure your knowledge of the latest procedures is up to date.

Next time we’ll look at those first days in the sky, what will be expected of you and how to sail through your duties with ease!

 

 

See the latest cabin crew jobs from Aviation Job Search

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Our wonderful partner Cabin Crew Wings joins us once again, this time to discuss the excitement and reality of your first few days in the sky...   Following on from our article from last month, Step Nine – the pre-employment training, we look this month at your...

Step eight…pre-employment checks for your cabin crew job

Step eight…pre-employment checks for your cabin crew job

Following on from our article from last month, we look this month at the final checks the airline will want to perform before firmly offering you the position.

After the excitement of the Cabin Crew Assessment Day  and interview it can be frustrating to have to wait that little bit longer for these checks to be done!.

How much involvement you’ll have in organising these checks will depend on the airline you’ve applied to – some will do all of the organisation for you and simply tell you when and where to turn up, while others will ask that you make the appointments and request the appropriate paperwork yourself.

 

Why are these checks in place?

In any job where you will be in a position of responsibility and dealing with members of the public, it’s normal for employers to carry out background checks, to make sure you are who you say you are, and that the information you’ve given on your application and throughout the application form is accurate.

Checks like these are especially important for Cabin Crew from a safety perspective – not only are you working in an environment where safety consciousness and following procedure is critical, but you will also have access to areas of the airport that are off-limits to the public.

 

Checking your references

You’ll have been asked to provide at least two references (usually these are from your most recent previous employment) who the airline will contact to verify the details you provided on your CV and application.

You’ll probably be used to this procedure as checking references is common for any kind of employment application!

Again the method of contact will differ from airline to airline, with some recruitment teams contacting referees directly by phone, and others asking them to complete a straightforward form or written statement based on their experience of working with you.

 

Criminal record checks

As we’ve mentioned, safety is paramount for airlines when it comes to employing new crew, so the airline will carry out a criminal record check to ascertain whether you have any unspent convictions, or have had any convictions in the past that could affect your suitability for the position.

Having a prior conviction can have an affect on the likelihood of you getting the job, especially if it’s related to your behaviour or ethics.

It’s important that you’re honest from the start of your application however. If you’re found to have been trying to hide something your application usually will be instantly dismissed, even at this stage.

Be aware that you may have to pay the fee for this check yourself, depending on which airline you’ve applied to. The airline will let you know their preferred company for carrying out the checks if this is the case.

 

Financial checks

Not all airlines carry these checks out, and candidates often find it confusing when they do. It can cause concern simply because people don’t understand why they’re in place.

Don’t worry – the airline isn’t delving in to your credit rating, or how much money you have in your bank. The checks are there as a further identity check, and to ascertain whether you’ve ever had financial difficulties that have had resulted in legal action like bankruptcy or CCJs/court action.

 

Medical checks

The medical checks are there to check that you’re fit to fly. You may have already had to fill out a medical questionnaire before you get to this stage.

The checks are straightforward, and you can expect them to include:

  • Height and weight
  • Blood and urine tests
  • Hearing check
  • Height and weight
  • Blood pressure
  • Immunisations e.g. tetanus, tuberculosis, yellow fever etc.
  • ECG to test your heart rate and its general condition 
  • Eyesight Tests
  • Dental Checks

 

If you have any pre-existing conditions or are taking any ongoing medication you MUST declare this.

You will also have to answer questions based on your lifestyle such as how much you exercise, whether you smoke or drink alcohol, and your diet. The medical examiner might also ask you about your family history of illnesses or health problems.

Again, be aware that some airlines may ask you to pay for and arrange the medical yourself.

 

Next steps

Following the successful completion of these checks you’ll be given a date for beginning your pre-employment training – this is the stage where things all begin to feel real for most candidates.

Next time we’ll look at the training in Step 8 – pre-employment training, where you’ll gain insight as to what it involves and how best to approach it, so that you pass with flying colours!

 

 

See the latest cabin crew jobs from Aviation Job Search

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Step Ten – First days in the sky!

Our wonderful partner Cabin Crew Wings joins us once again, this time to discuss the excitement and reality of your first few days in the sky...   Following on from our article from last month, Step Nine – the pre-employment training, we look this month at your...