Welcome On Board!

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, a very warm welcome on board this international flight shortly departing for glitz, glamour and a peek behind that galley curtain; as we reveal what life is really like for your international trolley dollies at 35,000 feet.

We now ask that you give us a few moments of your time, while we take you through the safety features of this state-of-the-art jet.

A safety card is in your seat pocket. What use a piece of laminated card will be if our aircraft ploughs into a mountain is a mystery to me, but please take a quick look at the pretty pictures.

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Your seatbelt is used as demonstrated. If you don’t know how to fasten a seat-belt you probably shouldn’t be allowed out on your own.

If there is a drop in cabin pressure masks will drop from above you. Grab a mask and pull it towards you. Then insert your credit card into the slot provided. This will start the oxygen supply. Place your own mask on before helping others. If you are travelling with two or more children, decide now which one you love most.

All passengers are provided with a complimentary life-jacket, should our flight become a cruise. Simply pop it over your head, pass the straps around your waist and tie in a double bow. It is also fitted with a light to attract the attention of passing sailors. We will pass through the cabin, handing out babies for the lifecots.

Please now ensure that your seat-belt is securely fastened. Your tray table stowed. Seat back up-right and that your luggage is safely stowed away. Smoking is only permitted in the smoking section which can be located on each wing. If you can light it, you can smoke it.

Finally, ladies and gentleman, the cabin lights will shortly be dimmed for our departure, this is to improve the appearance of your cabin crew.

Thank you for listening to our safety briefing. For those of you that didn’t……good luck!

We would like to wish you a very pleasant flight today with confessionsofatrolleydolly.com.”

©Dan Air for confessionsofatrolleydolly.com 2014.

What made you want to be cabin crew?

What made you want to be cabin crew?

Was it the thought of travelling the world, visiting exotic and far-flung destinations and getting to stay in the best five-star hotels? Was it your desire to wear a fabulous designer uniform and strut your stuff through airport terminals as girls and boys looked on in awe? Was it the thought of working with other gorgeous hosties and hunky pilots that persuaded you? Or was it a childhood dream you had to fulfil?

I put this question to my wonderful Facebook followers and was overwhelmed by the response.

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Style In The Aisles: Etihad’s New Ettore Bilotta Uniform.

2014 was a momentous year for Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways. The airline welcomed two new state-of-the-art aircraft into its fleet in the shape of the Boeing 787-9 ‘Dreamliner'; serving as the backbone of its global network and the long-awaited Airbus A380, the first of its ten strong fleet to serve as Etihad’s flagship aircraft. Both of the new jets feature the airline revolutionary new cabin interiors as well as a strking new livery, its first since the carriers formation back in 2003. The design, ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’ uses a colour palette which reflects the varying hues of the landscape of the UAE.

Etihad's brand new Airbus A380 in the stunning new livery ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’.

Etihad’s brand new Airbus A380 in the stunning new livery ‘Facets of Abu Dhabi’.

But most exciting of all and to coincide with these new additions to the fleet, was the debut of the carriers stunning new uniforms.

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‘Confessions Of A Qantas Flight Attendant’ By Owen Beddall Book Review.

The book market is flooded with ‘true life’ stories of flight attendants from around the world. I hope to flood it even further next year with my ‘Confessions Of A Trolley Dolly Cabin Crew Manual’, stay tuned for more information. Over the years I have read a vast majority of these ‘behind the scenes’, ‘tell-all’ novels and biographies. Some are excellent. Some however, are complete drivel and I often question if the ‘writers’ have actually even set foot onboard an aircraft, let alone been a flight attendant.

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A few months ago one of my lovely Facebook followers Owen Beddall contacted me about his new book ‘Confessions Of A Qantas Flight Attendant’. I had already heard some very good things about this latest cabin crew biography and was excited to give it a try. I wasn’t disappointed. This is a warts and all look at life at one of the worlds biggest and most recognised airlines.

“In Confessions of a Qantas Flight Attendant, Owen Beddall tells you the things you always wanted to know – and maybe a few you didn’t – about the world of flying. This book is packed with cabin crew adventures and misadventures in and out of that smart uniform in far-flung places. There’s sex, drugs and plenty of celebrity sightings: Katy Perry, Lily Allen, Kylie Minogue, Venus Williams and Cate Blanchett all step into the galley to gossip with Owen”.  

Confessions Of A Qantas Flight Attendant by Owen Beddall.

Confessions Of A Qantas Flight Attendant by Owen Beddall.

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Angels Of The Sky: Martinair flight MP495 a Flight Attendants Story…..

Just a few days before Christmas on December 21, 1992, Martinair flight MP495 crashed at Faro Airport (FAO), Portugal. On board were 13 crew members and 327 passengers. Tragically 54 passengers and two cabin crew were killed in the accident.

A few months ago one of my lovely Facebook followers, Herman Jansink contacted me regarding this terrible accident. Jansink was one of the ten cabin crew members working on the flight that day. His heroic and incredibly honest story is told here, much of it in his own words.

Herman Jansink

Herman Jansink

Jansink had started working for Martinair, a Dutch charter carrier based at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS), just a few months earlier and had straight away fallen in love with the job and the airline.

Originally rostered the late afternoon FAO service, he had been changed last-minute onto the early morning departure, meaning his plans to meet up with his family before Christmas had to be altered slightly.

It was a cold and crisp winters day, as the 13 crew (three flight and ten cabin crew) members arrived at Schiphol for the standard pre-flight briefing. The crew were in good spirits. Just a few days before Christmas, they knew the flight would be full of passengers off to meet loved ones, or to soak up some winter sunshine in the Algarve. The purser on the flight asked the crew who wanted to assist the flight attendant working in the lower galley. After some hesitation, as the job downstairs under the feet of the passengers was very demanding, Jansink raised his hand. Little did he know that this decision would potentially save his life just a few hours later.

The flight that day was to be operated by a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30F (PH-MBN). Built in 1975, the jet had been delivered brand new to Martinair. It was still dark in Amsterdam as the 327 passengers boarded the aircraft and settled in for the flight. The pilots had been warned of some bad weather at their destination and the possibility of some thunderstorm activity. However this was nothing unusual for this time of year and the flight crew had operated the route many times before.

PH- The aircraft involved in the accident.

PH-MBN The aircraft involved in the accident.

Just over two and half hours after take off, the DC-10 began to make its decent into FAO. The flight had passed off uneventfully as the crew prepared the cabin for landing. Buffeted by some light to moderate turbulence, the Captain warned the cabin crew that the weather was pretty bad and to ensure that the cabin and galley areas were well secured.

However, as the aircraft started its final approach the turbulence intensified. A large thunderstorm lay over the airport and aircraft ahead of MP495 were reporting severe wind shear hampering their approaches. By now both crew and passengers were feeling uneasy and from here Herman takes up the story…..

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An Open Letter From A Flight Attendant.

A few months ago I received an email from one of my Facebook followers. After enduring a pretty horrendous week during the height of the UK summer season, he wrote this letter. I was touched by his words and knew that so many of my fellow trolley dollies would to relate to his plight.

So here it is, an open letter from a flight attendant……

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SKYPRO Cabin Crew Shoes Walk/In/Heaven.

As cabin crew, we spend a hell of a lot of time on our feet. Up and down that aircraft aisle between galleys and trollies, looking after passengers and pilots. Then there’s the walk to and from the aircraft, between car parks and crew report centres. Not only do we have to look uber-glam all of the time, comfort is an absolute necessity.

Quite often finding the right shoe becomes like searching for the Holy-Grail. Once a crew member finds a pair that are the perfect fit word spreads like wild-fire and before long, everyone is wearing the same pair. However, one shoe manufacturer hopes to eliminate the frustrating search for the perfect shoe.

SKYPRO, is the first company in the world to manufacture certified footwear for aviation professionals. Since the companies formation they have created shoes for some of the world’s leading airlines, including TAP Air Portugal and their Knee High ‘come f@*k me boots, as seen in my Style In The Aisles The Top 10 Cabin Crew Uniforms of 2014.

Another of SKYPRO's customers is PGA Portugålia Airlines

Another of SKYPRO’s customers is PGA Portuglia Airlines.

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A Yearly Memorial To Our Fallen Cabin Crew Colleagues.

In terms of plane crashes, 2014 saw the lowest number in over 80 years with 111 accidents. However, the high-profile of incidents made 2014 a very dark time for aviation. The loss of two Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777’s, in such a short period was a loss not experienced since 9/11. MH370 still has not been found, while actual responsibility for the shooting down of MH17 remains a mystery. A few days after MH17, Trans Asia Airways flight GE222 crashed in Taiwan. A day later, Swiftair flight AH5017 (operating on behalf of Air Algerie) crashed en-route to Algiers in bad weather. Just a few days after Christmas there was the devastating loss of Air Asia flight QZ8501 and on 4th February 2015 Trans Asia Airways lost another of its aircraft, when flight GE235 struck a bridge and plunged into the Keelung River, shortly after take off from Taipei Songshan airport.

On 24th July 2014, cabin crew around the world wore a black ribbon on their uniforms in memory of those fallen colleagues. It was supported by airlines around the world, who relaxed their uniform policies for one day to allow us all to pay our respects.

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I want to ensure that this is not just a one-off event. I want us to pay tribute to the crew members we have lost over the years, on a more permanent basis. The idea is to have an annual ‘memorial’ day, where cabin crew worldwide wear a black ribbon on their uniforms, commemorating all of our ‘Angels Of The Sky’.

A date that has been discussed is the 7th December which is ‘International Civil Aviation Day’ and I think this would be fitting to remember those we have lost.

After emailing the CEO’s of a number of airlines earlier in the year, feedback has been positive and I plan to contact as many more as possible to confirm plans for the 7th December 2015 to be our first ‘Angels Of The Sky Memorial Day’.

I also need your help and support by spreading the word and speaking to your management about this idea.

Some of you have also discussed creating a charity to support those left behind. This is a suggestion I would love to develop and would be interested in hearing any ideas which can either be left in the comments section below, or simply drop me an email confessionsofatrolleydolly@hotmail.co.uk

I really do think it would be fitting if we could drum up enough support to make this a world-wide event, every year, celebrating the lives of our aviation brothers and sisters who went to work one day and never returned.

Once again I ask you all, if possible, to share this post with all of your aviation colleagues and friends to make our ‘Angels Of The Sky Memorial Day’ a success.

Thank you in advance.

“Flight attendants don’t just die, they fly higher” -Anon.

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© Dan Air for confessionsofatrolleydolly.com 2015.