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

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 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 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

How to pack for a life on the road

How to pack for a life on the road

Nothing sounds as simple as packing a suitcase for a trip abroad, however when you pack the same case week in week out, it becomes a skill worth learning to make sure you are comfortable and well prepared for whatever your journey brings. Generally speaking, you can perform this task with your eyes closed, but if you want to create a measure of comfort and ease about yourself in a world that has you visiting lots of different destinations with degrees of change and variety, the one thing you want to rely on is the fact that you can make it all that bit more comfortable for yourself wherever you may be. Packing is not new and we all have our preferences of how we get it done – these are my tips on how to pack with minimum effort and maximum efficiency for your career in the sky.

 

Plan your packing


Planning your packing supposes you have a plan of what you intend to do at your destination. This is a good starting point. While you don’t have to become a weather expert, keeping an eye on the weather can help prevent mishaps like packing for summer weather, only to land into freezing temperatures. The ground rule is only take what you need and see if anything you do pack can have a dual purpose. The idea is to get maximum use of what goes in the suitcase by using as little space and weight as is possible. You don’t have to become a clothes peg or a fashion icon but putting a bit of thought into what you intend to wear while away can help you match and marry your clothes choices without picking single use items and finding you run out of space. My top insider tip is to always pack your case three quarters full so you always have space for shopping or any other purchases that take your fancy.

In the spirit of the Boys Scout motto of always being prepared, it is a good idea to pack some items of a winter wardrobe, because you never know when a planned trip gets cancelled and crew control has you going to another part of the world with the opposite weather you were expecting.

I’m also a fan of the Guerrilla Warfare principle when travelling. Simply put, when fighting in harsh jungle terrain it was impossible for armies to bring everything they needed with them. They made do with what they could get hold of in the theatre of war…

So how does that apply to you packing?


Pack as best as you can, but realise you don’t have to take everything and the kitchen sink with you – leave stuff at home and buy what you need while away (not only will you be able to pack lighter, but you will also be contributing to the local economy). Often times it can also be an excuse to meet locals while exploring the local area.

 

Tips


Some of the simpler tips include:


Doubling up on certain items you use at home and away. For instance, I take supplements regularly so I always buy them in pairs, one for the bathroom cabinet at home and one for my suitcase. This means I don’t have to keep transferring items from bathroom to suitcase trip to trip, something I’m likely to forget to do when other things vie for my attention.

Choose a hard case or soft case – People often ask which is better. I prefer hard cases if it has to travel in the hold and soft luggage if I’m taking it into the cabin with me. The trick is to pack as few valuables in your hard case as possible and keep allowed valuables with you in cabin under lock and key.

 

A word of caution


When packing, depending on where in the world you may be it pays to check and make sure you are not “importing”any contraband goods into the country. When I say contraband I mean anything from paracetamol to magazines and much more. Local rules and customs must be respected by passengers and crew. Airlines themselves may have procedural ways of updating the crew on what the latest requirement is, but if not, the Foreign and Commonwealth website will normally have updated information on what is and isn’t allowed.

A true story for those of an excitable nature –  don’t forget to pack for short trips. When I started flying my first night stop trip was a Dusseldorf split-duty (last trip out of London and the first one back early the following morning). We got into Dusseldorf and the crew decided to meet for a quick social gathering in the bar on the bus to the hotel. On getting to the hotel, I got my key, went up to my room to change and meet the crew downstairs. Imagine my disappointment when I opened my night stop bag only to realise in my excitement about my first night stop, I’d forgotten to pack a change of clothes! I didn’t make it to the bar, but the crew found it humorous the following morning.

About Christopher

Christopher Babayode is a former flight attendant of 20 years with British Airways, a specialist in Travel Wellness and healthy jet lag solutions for those who travel often. He is the author of Farewell Jet Lag, Cures from a Flight Attendant (on Amazon UK & US). Chris has been featured in the Sunday Telegraph and is a most -read author on Quora the questions and answers platform.

Step 7…the interview, with Cabin Crew Wings

Step 7…the interview, with Cabin Crew Wings

By Chartered Occupational Psychologist Hannah Vallance 

 

 

Following on from our article from last month Step Six…The Assessment Day we look this month at the big day itself – the Cabin Crew Interview.

After successful completion of the Cabin Crew Assessment Day (if you’re one of the candidates lucky enough to make it to the end of the day) you’ll be invited to a one to one interview with the airline’s recruitment team.

Some airlines do incorporate the interview into the assessment day – you’ll be informed if this is likely to be the case! Others will invite you back on a different date for your interview – this is a good situation to be in, as it gives you time to prepare for the interview questions.

 

 

What happens at the Cabin Crew Interview?

In general, you can expect the interview to last around 30-40 minutes, and to be made up of competency based and behavioural questions.

You can recognise competency questions by the way they are worded:

‘Please provide an example of a time when you have….?’
‘Please describe a time an occasion when you have…..?’
‘Tell us about a time when you….’

You should draw on your own experience for these types of questions and describe a situation where you have performed a task or carried out an action yourself. This will most commonly be from your previous work experience.

The most common mistake when answering competency questions is for people to not explain well enough how their actions led to a situation being resolved, and instead provide a generic list of ‘buzz’ statements to try to prove that they have skills in a certain area – without evidence to back them up!

 

 

The STAR Technique

Use the STAR technique to prepare both your application and interview answers to questions which ask for an example from your personal experience.

S – Describe the situation i.e. set the scene
T – What was the task or activity you were involved in?
A – What action did you take?
R – What was the result?

 

The majority of your answer should focus on the ‘A’- the action you took. Describing what you did is the most crucial part of your answer so do make sure you give this aspect priority. It is a common mistake is to spend too long on scene setting.

 

 

Interview Preparation

Fail to prepare and prepare to fail! This statement has never been so true in an interview situation!

Make sure you have prepared answers to the most obvious questions. Why do you want to work for this particular airline? Why do you want to be cabin crew? What are your career ambitions? What are your main strengths and weaknesses? You may or may not have these sorts of questions but it can’t hurt to have a slick answer prepared just in case.

If you are trying to show that you are a hard-worker don’t just say ‘I’m a really hard-worker’. Go on to describe evidence of this ‘…for example, when I was working at…’ If you give a clear example you are giving a much more compelling reflection of who you are; remember, actions DO speak far louder than words! Have examples ready to back up your points.

A good idea is to ask family or friends if they’ll do a ‘mock interview’ with you, to give you the chance to practice. A word of warning though, be prepared to be flexible with your answers and DON’T try to memorise answers then ‘fit’ them to the real interview questions – it will be obvious to the panel if you try to do this.

 

 

Interview Day Tips

  • Make sure that you have all your documents to hand, and that they’re up to date. You’ll be given a list of what to bring in the email inviting you to the interview.
  • It’s a good idea to bring a copy of your CV to refer to
  • Be punctual, and remember to be polite and smile to make a good first impression! 
  • Give yourself plenty of time in the morning to get ready and plan your journey beforehand.
  • Dress to impress – formal business attire, like in the Assessment Day, is the way to go!
  • Take your time when answering – pause and take a sip of water if you need to
  • If you don’t get the job on this occasion then try to remember how incredibly well you’ve done to make it to the interview stage – thousands of applicants don’t!

 

 

Next Steps

The next step in the process, if you’ve wowed the recruitment panel and been offered the job, are the pre-employment checks.  

Next month we’ll look at these in detail (Step 8 – the pre employment checks), as they can cause a lot of worry for some candidates!

 

Get more cabin crew specific interview tips here!

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...

How to pack for a life on the road

How to pack for a life on the road

Nothing sounds as simple as packing a suitcase for a trip abroad, however when you pack the same case week in week out, it becomes a skill worth learning to make sure you are comfortable and well prepared for whatever your journey brings. Generally speaking, you can...