The primary role of Cabin Crew onboard any aircraft around the world is safety. Forget your life jackets, safety cards, oxygen masks and seatbelts; should the proverbial hit the fan, we are the only piece of safety equipment passengers will need to get them off that aircraft.
Cabin crew, no matter what airline they work for, are trained to the highest standards in emergency and standard operating procedures and of course first aid. What does differ from airline to airline is the inflight service offered by the crew. From the low-cost carriers who provide a buy-onboard service, to the ‘legacy’ airlines with their first, business and premier cabins, offering a vast array of fine dining, endless free drinks and countless other perks to entice you to fly with them.
One of the most exciting things about working in aviation is its variation. You can start your day in a grey and gloomy London and end up on a beach in the Bahamas. Shopping in New York, partying in Paris or sight-seeing in San Francisco, every day there is something new and exciting to look forward to. There’s also the people. We come in to contact with literally hundreds of different people every day, from the crew we fly with, to the ground staff we interact with and of course the passengers we carry.
To give you a taste of what it’s like to be Cabin Crew for various different airlines, I asked some of my lovely Dollies if they would be interested in telling their story of ‘A Day in the Life’ at their airline.
First up is one of my lovely crew members from BA Cityflyer. The airline is a wholly owned subsidiary of British Airways, operating a network of domestic and European services from its base at London City Airport with a fleet of Embraer E-170 and E-190 aircraft.
“My day begins with an alarm going off. I get up and check I have everything I need for my duty with me. I packed my bags last night, but it is still worth double checking. ID, check; Passport, check; Waistcoat, check; Hi-viz, check, iPad (and the latest Britain’s Got Talent episode downloaded), check. We are good to go.
I get ready, putting on my uniform and making myself look presentable for the day ahead. Uniform standards are very important in my airline and I like to look my best.
I say goodbye to my other half, who is still half asleep, and get on the London Overground. It is a bit of a journey to London City Airport, so I use that time to check my Passenger loads for the day and also for any amendments to the operations manual or any new safety or security notices. Always good if you want to be ready for the pre-flight briefing. After two changes on overcrowded trains, I finally get to London City Airport.
Having worked at London’s Gatwick Aiport for four years, I can really appreciate this tiny little airfield. Nice and small, surrounded by water in the middle of the Royal Docklands, passengers all suited up, it has that retro feel, it almost looks like a Barbie Doll Airport (I know at some point during the 90s there was an Air Hostess Barbie, if they had made the airport to go with it, it would have been a replica of LCY). I love it.
I arrive at our crew room and as I am quite new, I spend some time introducing myself to the other crew. We are going to be together for the next three days, so it is worth getting to know everybody.
Soon my pre-flight briefing starts. Safety is always our number 1 priority, so we make sure everyone is up to date on the latest operations manual amendments and notices. There are only two of us in the cabin, so it is more like a conversation than ‘Senior Crew Member asks’. It is a nice feeling to start the day. Next we discuss two random topics: One on Standard Emergency Procedures and another one on First Aid, before talking about how the day is going to be in regards of passenger loads and services we will carry out. Once all this is done, we’re good to go.
When I get to the aircraft I have to do my pre-flight checks. These include a full security search of passenger seat rows, the galley and toilet areas and making sure all of our emergency equipment is present and correct. I then have to check that we have all the correct catering supplies for the day ahead and the aircrafts water and waste system. Small aircraft, small runway, so weight distribution is key for optimal take-off performance and our flight deck crew must have as much information as possible regarding these parameters.
It is then time for boarding and we greet each passenger, helping them with luggage and showing them to their seats before closing the doors, completing the obligatory safety demo, preparing the cabin for departure and before we know it, we’re up in the air.
Next comes the inflight service. It can be quite tricky, because it depends on which cabin and on which time of the day the flight departs. Today I have three very short flights, two of them have hot breakfast in business and cold breakfast in economy, but the third one has snacks in economy, but still hot breakfast in business. Depending on the loads, I have to liaise with my senior to know whether they want me to help in business or go out straight away in economy. We carry many business passengers in both cabins and loads are always subject to change, so you can never tell in advance. You have to adapt to the circumstances in every sector, sometimes with very little notice. You have to think fast and re-arrange your plans, after all, the quality of the service you deliver will depend on that.
After three short flights it is time to disembark and head to the hotel. We arrange to meet for dinner so I go and have a nap before getting dressed, ready to go down and enjoy some food and conversation. Sometimes if we have time to spare, we go together to explore the destination a little bit, this is where the magic happens; four complete strangers, chatting and having a good time together in an unknown place, just like we had known each other for years.
Then we retreat to our rooms and sleep, as tomorrow will be another day, maybe with the same flights and the same crew, but definitely not the same as yesterday at all. And that is what I love about doing what I do. It may seem as always the same, but at the same time it is always different.
Doesn’t matter how long you have been flying for, you can always get surprised and enjoy yourself like it was your first day in the job”.
Anonymous, BA CityFlyer Main Crew, London City Airport.
Would you like to feature in one of our ‘A Day in the Life’ posts? If so please feel free to send me your story to email@example.com.
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