We’re joined once again by Christopher, who will be talking about why commercial awareness is beneficial when working as a member of cabin crew. Watch Christopher’s video below to hear more about it:
The recent Hong Kong airport closure due to democracy protests makes this article quite timely. While the disruption caused will cost the airlines, travellers and economy dear, being news savvy can keep you in the loop for any potential side- effects it could have on you and your travel plans.
The butterfly effect, the idea that a local event somewhere else in the world can have far-reaching consequences elsewhere is often at play in the world of global travel. It is never really an option to be able to anticipate how and when these disruptions are going to happen, but having an awareness of the news cycle can be useful and help you put contingency plans in place. For instance, it could mean if you were Hong Kong bound you might get turned around and sent somewhere where the weather is the polar opposite of Hong Kong. Crew get into the habit of packing for winter and summer on the same trip for times like this, just in case.
Besides keeping an eye on the news for personal safety and work-related reasons there are other pay-offs. Paying attention to the news cycles means you can become a good conversationalist. Current affairs never really go out of fashion as ice-breakers in conversation, whether at dinner parties, casual conversation or on the plane talking to passengers. You can develop good social skills which are an excellent way to build rapport.
It is also likely that you will come across a good mix of people from many nations on your trips, having some idea of what is going on in their world reflects well on you and breaks down stereotypes and perceptions people have. Think of it as part of your ambassadorial role you play for your airline.
Travel broadens the mind… if you engage
The saying, “travel broadens the mind” applies when you travel and fully enjoy the destinations you travel to by getting get stuck into the culture and different experiences. While the world has a lot to offer you in the way of variety and excitement you can’t get the most out of it if you don’t know what is going on around you. It pays to be attentive and at least have a working knowledge of where you visit for a variety of reasons, including for your travelling pleasure. I remember a case of getting to see some very rare artefacts in Toronto simply from a news story and being Toronto bound on my following trip.
Gone are the days when a life in the skies was considered to be a finishing school for debutantes! However travel and experiencing cultures across the globe can expose you to enough life experience to be character building whatever age you are. This is a good thing and part of it is about being well informed. This makes travel worth its weight in gold. Life is what happens to you when you are busy doing something else, for cabin crew that something else has infinite variety in the form it takes when you are away from home often.
My Las Vegas non trip
Disruption strikes at any time, but mostly when you are not expecting it. I got a taste of this when the Icelandic volcano Ejyafjallajokull erupted in 2010. For a couple of weeks the news had been reporting on the rumblings and the ash clouds, like a lot of people I looked on and thought nothing of it. Then my flexible roster was filled and I was set to go to Las Vegas. I was excited, I’d never been before and I was curious about the city in the desert, with all its excesses. I got ready the day of my trip only to be stood down 2 hours before my report time because the ash clouds had gotten so bad the flight was cancelled, and thus I am yet to go to Vegas.
Places to get updates
Some airlines have departments providing all flights leaving base with updates on the geopolitical natures of world affairs. If the airline you work for doesn’t have an asset protection department monitoring what’s going on, you can always check in with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, at the very least you will get the official threat level assessment. If that is not available to you checking the global news services from time to time could be an alternative. Choosing to stick to major news services like the BBC, CNN, and Reuters may give you unbiased news you can depend on.
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.
Christopher will also be guest speaking at our event later on this year, at the Aviation Job Expo!
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