By Patricia Green
These are the basic duties of cabin crew while onboard:
Of course there is no typical day for cabin crew. In fact there is one thing I can promise you - no two days are ever the same. There is no 9 to 5 here, and you’re never sure quite how your day will turn out!
- Pre-flight cabin checks for security, safety equipment and meals
- Boarding passengers and storing luggage
- Safety demonstration, prepare cabin for take off
- In-flight service of meals and refreshments
- Duty Free service
- First Aid
- Dealing with difficulties such as turbulence or difficult passengers
- Preparing for landing
- Disembark passengers
- Security check and clean cabin
- Finally, during all of these duties you have to be aware at all times of safety and security and your actions in case of an emergency situation.
As for working hours, there is no set number only in terms of the maximum hours you can work in a month, as per safety regulations. Cabin crew
work ‘shifts’ which can be any time of day or night and will include weekends and holidays such as Christmas and New Year.
These will be rostered 4-6 weeks in advance. A working day can be anything from 6 hours to 14 hours and maybe there and back (London-Barcelona-London) or a nightstop/layover where you may have time at the destination. There are also ‘standby’ days which may be at home or at the airport, where you may be called upon to do a flight at short notice.
Here’s what a day can look like:
04.30 – 05.15 Good Morning
Good Morning! Time to get the uniform on and make yourself presentable – make sure you are immaculate and grab some breakfast if you can. Check-in at your base, needs to be at least 1 hr 30 minutes before the aircraft departs so make sure you leave enough time! Take transport or drive to the airport.
06.15 – 06.30 Arrive at airport base
Check your pigeon-hole for any updates and also your rosta for any changes to schedule. Take a quick look at your cabin manual/first aid manual before briefing.
06.30 – 07.00 Crew Briefing
Your senior crew member will inform the crew about all the details of today’s flight including what role each crew member has and if there are any passengers who need extra assistance. You may also talk about the service – if anything needs to be done differently to suit this flight. You will also be asked questions about safety and emergency procedures and first aid, to check your ability to work on today’s flight. Now, take crew transport to the aircraft.
07.00 - 07.30 Check aircraft
Once you are onboard, now it is time to check your safety equipment is all present and correct. When you have completed this, you must so a security check of your part of the cabin – including overhead lockers, seat back pockets and floor area, to make sure nothing suspicious has been left onboard. Check there are enough meals and supplies for the number of passengers onboard. Finally check the toilets for security and that they are stocked up with necessities.
07.30 – 07.50 Passenger boarding
Put a smile on your face and stand in your crew position, this maybe by a door or over-wing exit or at the front of the aircraft. Greet the passengers, direct them to their seat and help them find space for their luggage. Make sure luggage is always stowed properly for safety reasons.
07.50 – 08.00 Preparation for take-off
The aircraft is about to push-back, so this is when the safety demonstration takes place. This is where you let the passengers know how to use their seatbelt, oxygen mask and life jacket and also to inform them where the floor lighting is that will guide them to the nearest exit, which you will point out. So, now you do your final checks and you must ensure that all luggage is correctly stowed away, seatbelts are fastened and the cabin is ‘secure’. Now, take your seat for take-off.
08.10 – 11.45 In-flight service
Once the aircraft is airborne and the seatbelt signs have been switched off, you can start the in-flight service. This will differ from airline to airline and depending on whether all items are sold or are free as part of the service. Also, the service will be different if your airline has business or first class.
Here are some services you may provide
*Headsets for the in-flight entertainment system
*Tea and coffee
* Clearing passenger trays
* Duty Free sales
*Handing out immigration cards
During this time, you will also check the toilets for security and cleanliness and also deal with any passenger enquiries or first aid.
11.45 – 12.00 Prepare for landing
Time to land, so once again we do our checks that all seatbelts are fastened and all luggage is stowed and cabin is ‘secure’ and ready for a safe landing. Once this is complete is time to return to your crew seat.
12.00 – 13.00 Landing in Athens - Turnaround
The passengers can now disembark and you help them with luggage and say goodbye. Once all passengers have left the aircraft you must do another security check of the cabin and make sure no items have been left behind. New catering will be loaded, so once again you check if there is enough onboard and also you have enough drinks onboard. Also you may have to clean and restock the cabin and toilets – this depends on each airline. Again one more check of the cabin for security purposes and get ready to board the passengers, show them to their seats and get ready for the safety demonstration.
13.00 – 17.00 Return flight to Heathrow
Do it all again!
17.00 – 18.00 Landing at Heathrow
So, back on the ground once the passengers have disembarked, it is the final security check of cabin and maybe some cleaning. From here crew transport will take you back to base and then you can pay in duty free monies and check your rosta for any changes. Then you are free to go home!
About the author:
Patricia Green has been cabin crew for major airlines in the UK and Middle East for six years and also a SCCM. For the last 6 years she has worked as a VIP Flight Attendant working for very high profile clients and world leaders on their private jets. Last year Patricia moved to flying on a freelance basis in order to concentrate on working as a freelance instructor as well as setting up as a Cabin Crew Consultant, advising potential crew how to get their dream job and help experienced crew move from commercial to corporate flying. In response to many requests from fellow crew and students, Patricia has written a series of E-books
to help guide new crew with lots of insider advice and useful hints and tips.
For more information please visit www.cabincrewconsultant.weebly.com
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Photo: Air France