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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The exits are located here, here and here. They’re still open, so if you don’t like what you’ve seen so far I suggest you leave now.

Your seat-belt 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.

Please be advised that we operate a very strict NO policy onboard all of our flights.

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”

© confessionsofatrolleydolly.com by Dan Air

#COATDNews The end of the Jumbo Jet? 

Are we seeing the end of the era for the ‘super-jumbo’? Could the iconic 747 soon be a thing of the past?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32384435

Last year not a single airline placed an order for the world’s two biggest commercial jets, the Boeing 747-8 and the double-decker Airbus A380.

In 1997, following BA's decision to remove the union flag from its aircraft, Virgin introduced a Union flag design on its winglets and changed the red dress on their 'Scarlet Lady' to a union flag with the tag line 'Britain's Flag Carrier', a blatant challenge to BA's traditional role as the UK's flag carrier.

Could the end soon be in sight for the iconic Boeing 747 which has graced the skies since the 1960’s?

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An Open Letter From a Flight Attendant: ‘Germanwings – What is going on in Aviation?’

Germanwings – What’s going on in Aviation?

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The Germanwings (4U9525) tragedy has hit our industry hard. Flight attendants everywhere started to question the age-old truth: pilots are part of the same team that we are part of. You can bring any concerns to them and they will listen. Because, they are there for your safety.

From the crew reaction on social media – indeed everyone’s reaction – I can say that it blew our minds that someone could do something like that.

It appears the man had many issues.

Yet here I am writing this and the investigation isn’t final. As I read a few days ago, the pilot’s mental health is a starting point for the investigation, but not the end point. There is more to be found.

The ex-girlfriend claimed Lubitz got angry and stressed when talking about work:
“He became upset about the conditions we worked under: too little money, fear of losing the contract, too much pressure”.

In case you were wondering: Pilots and cabin crew don’t have a glamorous life.

They have a stressful life.

Increasing pressure from the travelling public and our airline management for cheap fares, the cost of fuel, stagnant or falling wages, and longer hours with fewer crew to complete services or fly planes, means staff are on the edge.

In very simple terms, human beings need a few things to function optimally:

– Regular sleep
– Fresh air
– Good food and adequate hydration
– Relationships and social connections
– A sense of purpose and fulfilment

Flying severely compromises all of these.

Regular sleep? Enough sleep? Forget about it.
Fresh air? If you count the stench from crop-dusting, non-flushed loos and sock pong, sure!
Good food? Enough has been said about airline food for this point to be self-evident.              Adequate hydration? Less than 20% air humidity sucks all the H2O out of you.
Relationships and social connections? Saying hello repeatedly to passengers who ignore you… I’m not feeling the love.
Purpose and fulfilment? I don’t think that making sure the man in 10A has enough ice for his Coke, cuts it. Does his propositioning me qualify as a ‘relationship’?

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Pilots have similar and different stressors. Less of the ‘face-to-face-with passengers pressure’ and more of the ‘sit me in this seat for 12 hours per day of flying with on time pressures and ground crew/head office who never have paperwork ready on time’ etc . I could go on but I won’t.

Because the general public don’t give a flying fig.

The pressure to maintain professional smiles is starting to show. And behind the façade people are cracking. The way they are being worked is approaching their limits. Their mental health is suffering.

I know of an airline where there were five crew who committed suicide within ten years. More than a few are on anti-depressants. Yet rosters don’t ease up. And at the end of the day we stick them in a hotel room. Alone. With mini-bars. Like ticking time bombs.

Because if they don’t, there will be someone else ready to put their hand up for the chance to wear a shiny new set of wings.

Does this mean everyone is about to take down a plane? No, of course not. Is everyone losing it? No. But why do we have to wait for that to happen before we take action? Have Stephen Slater and Clayton Osbon taught us nothing? We blame the ‘crazy’ individuals but don’t question how the system they work within impacted them.

Like many others around the world, Australian airlines have now moved to employ the ‘two in the cockpit at all times’ rule. While I understand why, it’s not without its problems. As a flight attendant I wonder what the hell I could possibly do in the flight deck if corralled with a pilot intent on doing harm (however unlikely that is). Heather Poole said I could open the door. Perhaps. That my presence there might make someone ‘think twice’. Perhaps.

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Will this make the travelling public feel more secure? Hopefully. Unfortunately, crew think it’s a band-aid solution to a more widespread issue.

Give the human beings more support/resources/sleep/work-life balance. Passengers, use your considerable clout with operators to demand that they treat their pilots and crew well. Pay the extra $10 (or whatever) per ticket to ensure that they can afford to do so. And hold them to it.

I bet you’d feel a lot safer.

In the mean time we remember those who died on Germanwings Flight 4U9525, our newest Angels of the Sky and we pray that a tragedy like this never strikes our industry again.

© ‘Happy Healthy Trolley Dolley’ for confessionsofatrolleydolly.com 2015

Happy Healthy Trolley Dolley has been flying long and short-haul for ten years and has (mostly) managed to stay in a good mood while doing so! She’s currently compiling all her travel health and wellbeing tips into an online resource for cabin crew and frequent fliers. Stop by her Facebook page when in need of tips, news and a short-black dose of sanity.

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 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: We’re there to save your arse, not kiss it!

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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