On a recent flight, we had a trainee. I’ve had a few trainees on my trips recently as new classes are graduating every month. And, the long-haul operation that I work for is small in comparison to many other airlines; which means that the probability of a new cabin crew on a flight is highly likely. Usually, there is a code to indicate ‘Training,’ and there is always a supervisor on those flights. I rarely pay attention to who I am flying with though, so I usually don’t realize it’s a training flight until the briefing.
My first training flight, for the airline that I am working for now, was a disaster. On training flights, there are sometimes up to 12 crew members, which creates a lot of chaos in the mid-galley. It’s just a lot of bodies in a very small space. I remember boxes of food tumbling out of the trolleys, ovens not working, and ice dropping all over the floor. All of these disasters, I did not actually contribute to this time (surprisingly). I remember thinking, “Oh. My. Gawd. If this is what it’s like everyday…” [face to palm]. Of course, since that day, I have dropped a bazillion plastic cups, ice tongs, and food trays on galley floors. If you don’t drop something during work, the work day is not complete.
Training flights can be an overwhelming and daunting experience for new hires, even when they are extremely prepared. It’s a new environment; with new people, in a new place. Even when one has worked for an airline before, training flights can be stressful. This “test stress,” is most often unnecessary—as from what I have witnessed and experienced—new hires have the answers and know the information often better than the really senior crew. As a new hire, you must remember that you were trained to do this. You know the information, and you deserve to pass. Work hard, study, be congenial and teachable, but assertive and confident, and you will do just fine. Let go of your fears, worries, and concerns, and do what you came here for— to adventure the world as a flight attendant.
When the recent trainee came on the flight, we all thought she was a 3 year, Bangkok based flight attendant. Although we don’t have a seniority system at my company, Bangkok is the most “senior” base— being in existence the longest. We all thought this trainee had flown before, for another company. We found out later that she hadn’t. Her warm excitement, tiny figure, and beautiful eyes and smile expressed to the world a cabin crew look. We couldn’t help, but think she had always been cabin crew.
Her line check happened to land on a birthday—with an entire crew from a base that was not her own. She could have felt nervous— being closed and quiet— but she eagerly asked questions about the crew, and engaged with each one of us. She made me remember why my job is so beautiful; she reminded me that people crave and dream and hope to have this life. “I’m so excited!” she said. “I’ve been wanting to be a flight attendant for a very long time.”
And when she passed her line check, and the crew sang happy birthday to her in the mid-galley; she cried. This almost made me and a few others cry too. When you see someone appreciate the job that you have so much, while realizing how many times you have also cried over the touching, awe-inspiring, and ways this job has changed your own life for the better, you feel so much emotion. You feel where they are, because this job makes you feel so deeply.
I’m so proud of this new flight attendant. I’m so inspired by her. I’m so inspired by all of you who are pursuing your dream of becoming flight attendants; who are giddy with excitement over the life you are jumping into, have recently began, or have been living for many years. Don’t be afraid of your line check. Don’t be afraid of your dreams. Prepare and work and study and refresh, but your check flight attendant wants you to join the team. Your check flight attendant wants you to succeed.
I have to say I was so proud of my crew, impressed by the supervisor, and appreciative of the Senior. The Senior bought the trainee chocolates and had all of the crew sign the GenDec for a little memento. The Supervisor adamantly stated that he was staying to wait for the trainee—when the pilots rudely wanted to leave her— when it took her longer to get through customs after arriving at JFK. It reminded me of how, regardless of experience, seniority, nationality, race, religion, base, or whatever other differences we may have—at the end of a long flight—we are all crew. And we stick together.
You’ll get through your line check. Think of it as a beautiful and wonderful experience in—and—of itself.
Fly safe My Beautifuls!