Aside from the most obvious perk of being Cabin Crew, which has to be travelling to new and exciting destinations every single time you swipe on for work; the most precious gift that flying gave me has been my friends. Not only do you work with a new team every time you embark on a flight, you meet hundreds of new faces from your Assessment Day, to the Final Interviews and then once you commence Training College, you just “click” with some of your colleagues and form lifelong friendships!
Your flying family
Your class mates become your family. You catch the bus, eat, train, learn and challenge yourselves together. In our case, we even all slept in the same place. Our permanent crew accommodation was not ready for us and we lived for the best part of 2 months in an apartment hotel in suburban Dubai. Nothing quite strengthens a friendship like undertaking a major SEP (Safety Emergency Procedure) exam on Christmas Day, and bonding/crying over take away pizza due to the absurdity, excitement and stress of it all!
Middle Eastern crew
When you apply at a Middle Eastern Airline, be prepared to make friends from far and wide, which is all a part of the experience. Expect it! This assists you in becoming a more cosmopolitan and culturally sensitive crew member. It is only natural that you instantly bond with people from a similar background to your own. To this day, my four closest friends from Emirates are Australian, like me. Three of them are from Sydney, on the East Coast of Australia, and one grew up on the West Coast! She now lives in the UK. We only see each other handful of times per year, but when we do it is like no time has passed! Without these friendships, I would not have lasted as long as I did flying. They keep me sane, make me laugh and support me 100%. Best of all, they are honest!
Sometimes, when you are sleep-deprived and hate the thought of waking up at 1am to go to work, and worried about your roster changing, and legality hours…and you are really looking forward to operating an upcoming flight to San Francisco (heaven!) you need said friends to give you a reality check. They are there to tell you to get over yourself and encourage you to operate a less than desirable flight (middle of the night turnaround to somewhere local), in order to reap the rewards and operate a lovely, long flight to the US!
Layover fun with friends
One of my favourite flights of all time (even if it was almost 17 hours) was operating from Dubai to San Francisco. I had my friends on board, by my side working the carts and working up a sweat running back and forth down the 80m long cabin of an Airbus A380. A 52 hour layover in a new destination was at stake, and we had tickets to go to the Ed Sheeran concert! The weekend was spent on the water, at the wharf, scoffing In N Out burgers (a rarity for us Aussies) and visiting major land marks, such as Union Square, Lombard St, Pier 39, the flag ship Benefit store and of course, Alcatraz!
Aside from operating flights, there is the gem that is staff travel. During my days off, if my friends had a great flight, I would book a ticket, tag along as a passenger and enjoy their layovers with them. It really pays to have friends in high places 😉
Now, most of my batch has moved back home, or moved on, to start new chapters of their lives. We still keep in contact, and for those of us still in the airline industry, a few days off is all we need to organise a quick trip together, either to Yosemite National Park to hike or back home to Australia for a weekend away!
There are not many jobs that will pay you to work alongside your friends, put you up in a 5 star hotel and then pay you an allowance for your down time whilst you explore! Thanks to my role as Cabin Crew, I explored the US, Europe, and even Sydney with my friends, whilst earning money and working on my career. It’s every girl’s dream!