By Patricia Green
With so many recent events in the airline industry as well as political unrest, war and deadly diseases, you would almost be forgiven in thinking that taking a Cabin Crew job is quite risky. Many of us travel long haul routes worldwide and up until recently we felt safe in our friendly skies. But times are changing and many are asking: Is it still safe to fly as Cabin Crew?
Primarily, the answer is yes, but you do need to be aware of the hazards as well as putting them in perspective.
This is one of the biggest problems for Cabin Crew
as we have to relatively fit to do our job and being off sick is often frowned upon. We do get vulnerable to colds and flu, especially when fatigued and maybe eating at different times of the day and night. Over the years the links between cosmic radiation and the risk of getting cancer has always been there and that’s a chance we have to take, it is probably no more a risk than most jobs.
We should take precautionary measures in order to take care of ourselves in certain areas of the world to avoid things like malaria (cover up and use repellant) and things like stomach bugs (drink bottled water, don’t have ice or anything that may have been washed in unsanitary water).
Every few years there seems to be a worldwide epidemic of some sort - currently the Ebola virus and mostly these things are not contractible as easily as first thought and you would have to be in very close contact with someone with the disease to catch it yourself. These topics are covered during most airline training courses and your colleagues will know the latest company advice, and also be willing to advise.
Accidents and unfortunate events have been major headlines recently, but it is still extremely safe to fly. It is fact, that you are more likely to get kicked to death by a donkey than be involved in such an incident. We are highly trained to do everything we can in an emergency situation and if possible have as many survivors as possible.
Recent events have been unthinkable and uncontrollable, but are thankfully incredibly rare, one in billions. Remember that the most dangerous part of your journey is the drive to and from the airport, especially when fatigued, and that is fact.
Political Unrest and War Zones
Most airlines will detract or postpone a route from their network if there is a perceived safety threat. If the situation is volatile in a city for example but safe to travel there, the airline will advise the crew of precautions to take – avoid this area, do not go out alone etc. If there has been a recent event which could endanger a crew at the airport or hotel, either the crew will fly straight back after turnaround or the route will be cancelled completely.
With so many areas of unrest at the moment, many airlines are choosing to re-route away from some countries airspace entirely, which negates the potential threat of flying over areas of conflict.
It is advisable to ask your colleagues about any down-route layovers that you are wary of as they will probably have flown there and know the drill! You have to be aware of your personal safety in some cities and you will get used to certain behaviours and know how to react to unusual situations.
Things like local scams to be aware of (taxis, pickpockets etc) and situations to avoid become well known to most crews, so it important to make wise choices.
Unfortunately, we are very visible and locals often know what time we get to a hotel, places we go, when we leave as we have a very visible presence (e.g. uniform) and a particular routine (a group of people, different cultures and sexes, same age range going out at the same time, for example).
This can make us unfortunate ‘targets’ so it is important to be very self aware and look after your colleagues too.
Job stability is slowly getting better in the aviation industry and contracts are relatively safe unless the airline goes bankrupt or never gets off the ground! If you are made redundant from a new or under-performing airline it is unlikely you will be covered in any way, so be prepared for a change of career or have back up funds if you think there may be difficult times ahead.
Wages for Cabin Crew are not increasing at the current time and salary is variable, so for someone who needs a regular stable income and is thinking of leaving a good job, being Cabin Crew may not be an option, without the right back up plan.
On a Bright Note…
For anyone thinking about the Cabin Crew role
and is concerned about the risks, put things in to perspective and think about the big picture, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Is this ‘risk’ big enough for you to lose the opportunity of a lifetime? How much do you want the job?
Do you have a back up plan if things don’t work out as you hoped? Think about it and calculate the negatives and positives… the biggest risk of all, is that you may love the Cabin Crew job so much, that you never want to leave or you resign from a position as Cabin Crew and then miss it all the more and want to return to flying.
About the Author
has been Cabin Crew for major airlines in the UK and Middle East for seven years and also an SCCM. She has also worked as a VIP Flight Attendant working for very high profile clients and world leaders on their private jets.
More recently 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. She advises potential crew how to get their dream job and helps 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