What did your average work day involve?
My average work day consists of checking in 1 hour and 15 minutes before our schedule departure time and attending a brief with the crew to discuss details of the flight we are about to work on. The discussion is mainly focused on safety, medical and emergency aspects, as well as discussing the layout of the aircraft, crew positions, and passenger information. After an update from the flight deck on flight times and routes, we proceed through security and make our way to the aircraft. Once we are on the aircraft, we follow routine safety checks, ensuring all equipment is present and correct, the cabin and toilets are clean, and prepare the galley. Just before passengers are about to board, we go through a security check which involves checking the entire aircraft for any suspicious items.
Once this is done, we board the passengers. Once everyone is sat down, we close the doors, complete the safety demonstration and then secure the cabin for takeoff. After takeoff, we start preparations for our inflight services, which is a drinks and snack service followed by duty free. If you are the crew position that looks after the flight deck, you pop into the cockpit every 30 minutes to check on them, feed them, and provide them with any drinks they would like. While doing this, we are also ensuring the safety of everyone on the aircraft at all times.
Once we begin our descent, we start preparing and securing the galley for our next sector (a ‘sector’ is a section of the journey, the common American equivalent is ‘leg’), as well as filling out any necessary paperwork. When the seatbelt sign comes on, we pass through the cabin to check that it is secure for landing, we pass the check on to the cabin manager who sits us for landing. Once landed, we then disembark passengers and conduct a lost property check.
We then have around an hour on the ground, preparing the aircraft for the next sector (and if you're lucky, get to see some sun for five minutes!) before boarding again. Then we do the same routine again for the sector back. Once in the UK we disembark, conduct a final lost property check before handing over the aircraft to the next crew and head back to the crew room to post money taken during the flight as well as any paperwork needed.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
My favourite part of the job is genuinely being on the aircraft, being around the aviation environment and visiting new and different places. I also like the fact that I made a family of friends through my time with Monarch, which makes the flight go by very fast! Being a bit of a plane geek myself, I did enjoy being able to sit in the flight deck taking in the views, grabbing a headset and being able to quiz the pilots about any questions I may have.
The views are another favourite of mine, there really isn’t any other office like it! You can witness a fantastic sunrise or sunset, get a birds-eye view of the Pyrenees or the Alps, and sometimes at night you can even see the Eiffel tower!
What are the challenges of the job?
Dealing with a different lifestyle is a challenge, which isn’t a negative point but you do adapt to having different meal times and sleeping patterns than the normal 9-5. My first experience of waking up at 01:30 in the morning was interesting! Another challenge is adapting to different situations when needed. It is definitely a job where no day is the same and you need to prepare for whatever may come next.
What fact about your job would surprise someone who isn’t in aviation?
We don't just serve tea and coffee; the cabin crew can wear many hats all at one time to ensure your safety and security on board.
What’s your advice to young people who want to become cabin crew?
It is a great job to have, I would recommend it to anyone. Customer service experience is the best thing to have under your belt, even if it is helping out at the local cafe, it all helps when applying. Having an open mind and flexibility is important as you do lead a different lifestyle and it can reduce your social life - but the satisfaction of the job is incredible.
Which do you prefer: long or short flights?
This is a hard question to answer, short flights are quite rushed but some days it can be nice to be back home before lunch. I did enjoy using the phrase “I’ve been to Portugal and back, what have you done today?”
Other times long flights are nice because they're more relaxed and you have more time to break. But sometimes longer flights are more exhausting the next day.
What’s the funniest thing a passenger has said to you?
I had a passenger who stood up to go to the toilet when the seatbelt signs were illuminated after takeoff, I approached the gentleman to ask him to sit down and ensure his seatbelt was on. He then chuckled “I’ve never had someone tell me when I can go to the toilet before”. Always make jokes - we appreciate them!
What is your favourite destination?
Gibraltar. By far the best place I have flown to. It is incredibly beautiful and unique; it seems to have this pull that makes you want to explore. I love the fact that they have a road that goes over the runway too, it’s crazy!