Cabin crew success stories – Andy Yeap

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By cabincrew.com on Thursday 17th Nov, 2011 at 09:06

Welcome to the first segment of our cabin crew success stories series. Meet Andy Yeap, he has come on in leaps and bounds since he began his career in the aviation industry – in his own words, here is his story...

From Cabin Crew to being a Pilot
Is it possible to be a cabin crew first and then become a Pilot? The answer is yes and I am one of them. Though there are not many and they are the minority, I personally know few people who have chosen the same route as me.

For me, if possible, I highly encourage people to go through this route. Reason being, studying and getting a pilot license can be an expensive investment. By being a cabin crew first, at least you know whether a flying job suits you or not in terms of flying lifestyle. Of course the job role as a pilot and cabin crew is completely different but what I meant was the "crew life" such as jetlag, your routine base purely on rosters, being away and etc.

There are obviously pros and cons whether you chose to become a Pilot first or cabin crew. If you go direct as a Pilot, you get to clock your hours and the chance to promote to be a captain faster.

The transition from a cabin crew to pilot can be a tough one. Depending on the airline, to train to be a cabin crew, it takes 5 weeks up to 4 months. However for pilots, it can be as long as 3 years for a person starting from zero hours, getting type rated and finishing line training.

However fret not, if flying and controlling a plane is your passion, it won't be difficult, well at least for me. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying it's easy. I worked hard of course during my time as a cadet pilot in flying school but as I have mention before, so long you enjoy what you do, nothing seems impossible. If you do not realise, break the word impossible up and it become I M Possible :)

While I don't deny that it has better perks such as a higher salary and better benefits compared to a cabin crew, I personally feel that being a pilot is more challenging. I get paid flying a multimillion dollar machine and how many people can actually have an opportunity to do that. However there is no free lunch in this world. Better perks will come with higher responsibilities. Any error or mistakes that I do can cause the lives of hundreds of people. They depend their life on you and it can be stressful and a heavy burden for you to carry.

Cabin crews do have their challenges too. I used to face up to 400+ passengers and I can tell you 100% that out of these people, there are always demanding and crazy pax who give you a hard time. That is why some of you told me that you wanted to quit and you realise that this job is not for you and not as glamorous as most people think. My advice is, be flexible and always be ready to face challenges. If I encounter any difficulty, not blowing my horn here but to me it is no big deal as I have already expected it when I decided to go for this job.

Same goes to anything else in our life, if you always expect things to be perfect, you will be disappointed as there is no such thing except in dreamland. If you are prepared for negative events, just take it as a lesson, move on and you will end up wiser. Ok ok, I don't want to sound like some kind of philosophers and let's get back to the topic.

But I do miss being a cabin crew especially the interaction and socialising part. Instead of being stuck inside the cockpit, I get to meet passengers and make friends from around the world.

Sometimes, I am sure that you heard of someone studying piloting but end up as a cabin crew and you wonder why. You see, compared to a cabin crew, the vacancy for a pilot is limited. Take a Boeing 777 as an example. There are 16-18 cabin crews operating this aircraft but there are only two pilots up in the cockpit (can be four if it is a long haul flight). Therefore, sometimes, once you obtained your Commercial Pilots License, there may not be a pilot job for you.

In fact, one of my batch-mate’s is currently flying as a cabin crew while waiting for the opportunity to be a pilot. It is better to be in a job that is related to aviation as it will definitely be an advantage when there is a pilot vacancy. It greatly helped me during my pilot interview as I was deemed to be more experience and have the exposure to airline operations. A plus point I would say compared to other candidates.

So whichever way you chose to go, it is of course up to you. As for me, I would prefer to go from a cabin crew then to a pilot as I get to experience the best of both worlds.

Andy, the founder of Fly Gosh, shares his knowledge and experience in his website www.flygosh.com and to date has helped hundreds of people start a career in the airline industry .He used to work as a cabin crew with one of the top class airlines in the world and is currently a Pilot in Asia. You can download his eBook which contains all his tips and info by checking out the website.