Meet Taylor Katselas, she will be writing monthly for us on her international travels as a serving Cabin Crew (oh and if she doesn’t inspire you to become Cabin Crew and travel the world then nothing will!) To start with, here is a bit about how she got her dream job.
My name is Taylor, I’m 23, Australian, unmistakably blonde, on the shorter side of average and I am a flight-a-holic. This self inflicted addiction of mine came about once I decided to apply for a role as Cabin Crew after yet another uneventful day behind a computer screen in my comfortable office, in my comfortable building, in my comfortable life. Originally, I had applied for a role with the Australian partner of my current Middle Eastern employer. I prepared like crazy. Not only was there an online application (that I worded so carefully it took two hours to complete) , but also First Aid Certification, Responsible Service of Alcohol Certificate, weekly 50m lap practice at my local pool and countless hours in the gym working on my fitness. All of this and hours of researching the company and every piece of information available was centred around my full time studies under a Bachelor of Arts Majoring in English and Cultural Studies, working full time (often shuffling between Uni and work twice in one day) and attempting to have a life.
The time finally came, and we travelled to Sydney with the highest of hopes only to have them dutifully crushed. The flight was diverted. delayed and then cancelled. No airline interview for me. The minute I arrived home, I applied for a role that I had no idea would not only change me, but my career forever. I flew to the same city I was diverted to the month before, this time feeling more positive and prepared than ever. It was impossible for me to wipe the smile from my face, and when the time arrived to go downstairs for the Open Day, I wasn’t even nervous. I was ecstatic! The fact that I was in the correct state at the correct time gave me the confidence to brave the gruelling 5 step interview process that would take almost 9 hours to complete. Phase one was a general talk from the recruiters about the ins and outs of the role, the lifestyle, expectations and countless benefits. I was hooked. After, we were asked to bring forward our application forms, photos and Resumes and given a reference number for the day. We were then given numbers and asked to come back later for round one of the group activities, and after each group activity there are elimination rounds, where unsuitable candidates are sent home and cannot try again for up to a year. My heart was racing as I had my reach height tested to meet the 210cm minimum (I stood at a little over 150 something cm tall, but I had been stretching for weeks), and when the recruiter asked me to describe myself in one word I blurted out “determined” before she could even finish her sentence. From then on, I knew it was all up to me to call the shots for the rest of the day. I was in with a chance! The next activity was to, in groups, describe a city on a postcard that the company flies to. I was blessed with Paris, a city very near to my heart and one I could speak for days about. After sharing my recommendation to stroll along the Seine and hit up Fuchon for a caramel macaron, I was met with a murmur of laughter and appreciation. I knew then that I wanted to make others happy through customer service.
After this, our numbers were called and we were given a piece of paper. I either said “Congratulations, you have been successful at this stage” or “We regret to inform you” it was like an episode of the Bachelor, minus the roses and hair extensions. Next we were split into smaller groups to solve a problem based on a faulty computer and a hotel booking. We were given a character and then asked to remedy the problem. I was shaking but my voiced failed to waver as I coaxed the recruiter-come-diva-customer into not suing the imaginary hotel into next year. By this stage I was in a daze. We had to wait for over an hour to hear the next verdict, and as everyone around me ripped their letters open, a collective gasp and sob echoed in the empty hotel as their fates were sealed. I finally opened mine to reveal “Congratulations…”.
After that it was a lot of paperwork and grinning to myself as we were told that we were successful and would be attending a one on one interview on the following day. I secretly praised myself for bringing two dresses with me and an hour afterwards I was in my hotel room completing the online psychometric testing and going over my interview notes. The next day, at my final interview I felt at ease and in awe. The recruiter was lovely, and although she asked me questions that fit the Behavioural Event interview module I had been pouring over for the past month, it felt like a friendly chat. I was sent away with a firm handshake, dazzling smile and a hopeful heart.
I didn’t expect to hear anything soon, but the almost 12 month waiting period had me at my wit’s end. When my “golden call” finally arrived, I was in shock! It was happening. Six weeks after that day, and 6 months after
I applied, I moved to Dubai. Since this journey began for me almost two year ago (from application to expatriation) I have seen over 40 cities on 5 continents, operated on more than 60 flights. I relish my role as Cabin Crew. Despite the early mornings (think 2am wake up calls), late nights, unsociable hours and daily challenges from panty hose to blood nose, being Cabin Crew is still a pretty amazing job. I love to travel, see new places, meet people from all different walks of life, and try the most authentically bizarre cuisine from all around the world. I love capturing moments from layovers, and they’re enough to make anyone want to jump on a plane and move to Dubai (or so I am told!)
I must admit that whilst Cabin Crew isn’t a role suited for everyone (patience, flexibility, adaptability and an open mind are essential), it is a job that will change you and your life forever! I now think nothing of travelling to Zurich for a day with friends, or flying from San Francisco to Dubai to Perth within a day to see my family. Flying has become a part of my normal. In hindsight, my OCD preparation, multitasking and balancing my old life with my newfound project paid off. I seem to suit being crew!
The huge sacrifice is worth the gain, especially as a Western woman living in the Middle East can come as a culture shock to most. Although I have adjusted to life in Dubai, and enjoy my lifestyle as crew, soon I will be moving back to Australia to work for a local airline much closer to home. I once read that travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. If you are lucky enough to get paid for it, then only the sky is your limit…above 40 000 ft of course!