Dawn is part of the Cabin Crew for Virgin Atlantic. She’s kindly taken some time out of her busy career to share a day in her shoes with us…
What’s your official job title?
Cabin Crew for Virgin Atlantic.
What initially interested you in this role?
As a 5 year old, when people asked me what I wanted to be when I was older, I always replied “air hostess”. This view changed as I got older, and grew the perception that the only places you got to visit while being part of a cabin crew was airports.
Fast forward 20 years, and after taking 2 career breaks from my job as a Beauty Counter Assistant to travel the world, I realised upon returning that the typical 9-5 retail world wasn’t enough for me. I somehow needed to combine my thirst for travel with the skill set I had built up from my customer service role, as well as my degree in geography.
Coincidentally, this was the recipe for a hopeful cabin crew applicant. So I linked up with girls who held a job with Virgin Atlantic and they reassured me that working for the best long haul airline in the world had benefits, including staying in glamorous 5 star hotels all over the world, where I would get to spend up to 5 days in top destinations doing whatever I pleased…and I was getting paid for such pleasures! It was then that I knew I had to apply…
What does a typical day in your job look like?
A day in the life of cabin crew can be as long as 24 hours. It is a long day, but trust me, it’s worth every yawn along the way!
Many flights depart early morning, so typical days can start around 5am. Just like passengers, crew arrive at the airport 2 hours before departure time, to prep the aircraft and attend a briefing about the flight ahead. Once passengers are on board, we prepare to take off, and then once we are in the air, the services commence.
There’s an initial drinks service for customers, followed by lunch. We will then serve more drinks and hot snacks, and we also offer customers a mid flight movie ice cream, which is always a winner. This can take anything up to 5-6 hours to complete. After this, crew have a quick bite to eat and a power nap in crew rest. Later feeling refreshed and eager to get to our destination, we deliver breakfast/afternoon tea (depending on time zone) before landing. Job done, we arrive at the hotel shower and change, to then meet for crew drinks and dinner. As we are always switching time zone, most crew like to stay awake until a reasonable time, in order to acclimatise for the day ahead.
What are the areas you love most about your job?
Everything! From being onboard and meeting people from all walks of life, to travelling to destinations all over the world. It’s true when crew say it’s the best job in the world. Thanks to my job, I have sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, brunched in Beverly Hills, played with Elephants on Safari in Johannesburg, Hiked in Yosemite, sunbathed on the beaches of the Caribbean, and shopped in Shanghai…the list is endless! What’s not to love?
What skills are needed for a job like this?
The main trait of cabin crew is having a positive and fun approach to life. Especially at Virgin Atlantic, where an outgoing personality runs through the company. Other than that, having customer services skills is important. This means crew can come from all backgrounds…retail workers, police officers, nurses, analysts and office workers. Being super organised and collected bodes well too, as crew have to be time efficient and independent.
What would you say to someone interested in a role like this?
Go for it, It truly is the best job in the world! It certainly has its perks and benefits that no other job can offer. It does mean time away from home, which isn’t for everyone – so if this is something you can manage and you want to see the world, then you’ve got nothing to lose!
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