Hi everyone! Here’s another Cabin Crew Profile you might want to check out. We’ve just interviewed Jet of TheseGoldWings.com about life as a flight attendant. Jet has a degree in Digital Animation but realized he wanted to have a different day every work day. He decided to apply as a cabin crew in Canada.
From this story, Jet shares very useful information when you apply for a job in the airline industry, really practical tips indeed! He also discusses the challenges and privileges that one goes through with this profession. This is a good read with helpful insights for those who are seriously considering being a cabin crew as a profession.
Thanks for the interview Jet!
Note: Photos posted are some of Jet’s favorite places during his work trips as a cabin crew. Yes, he’s shy. :)
Cabin Crew Profile: Interview with Jet of TheseGoldWings.com
Can you tell us more about yourself?
Well, my “name” is Jet, and I was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. I’m a flight attendant based out of Vancouver International Airport and I work for a charter airline that mostly flies people to sunny vacation destinations.
When I’m not flying, I’m writing about flying on my personal blog, These Gold Wings.
If I’m not occupying myself with aviation then I’m probably digging myself into some other plan to get away. I love camping and hiking, even better if I get to do both. I especially love road trips. If I can drive, that is.
Some of my hobbies at home include geocaching, skiing, reading, and teaching myself web design. In fact I built my blog’s current theme from scratch, and I’m currently working on a new, more functional design.
Where is your airlines based?
I work for a Canadian airline that operates three bases year round from Toronto, Montréal, and Vancouver. They also operate a number of seasonal bases throughout Canada and have flights leaving from all sorts of large and small cities all over the country. They also operate a few flights out of the United States.
How did you become a cabin crew? How many times did you apply?
I decided to become a flight attendant about 6 months after I completed college. I had studied in Digital Animation and by the time I graduated I had already realized I didn’t like sitting at a desk all day staring into a monitor for hours on end. It didn’t take too long after graduation to realize that I didn’t want that to be my life. That being said, I have a huge respect for the people who work in that industry. They have an enormous amount of talent that really goes unnoticed by most people.
After searching through a number of airlines and checking back on their websites almost daily, I finally found one that was hiring flight attendants and didn’t require them to speak French (A rarity in the Canadian airline industry). The company was having an open interview session about a month from when I found the posting. I spent that month learning absolutely everything about that company and about being a flight attendant in general.
The day of the interview was a busy one! I tried to show up as early as possible and the whole process still took me 4 – 5 hours to go through. There were so many people there, I couldn’t even believe it. I remember the whole day going extraordinarily well, though. I had two interviews and a uniform fitting, and I felt like I really impressed my interviewers. I was told I’d hear back either way in about 2 weeks.
In reality I think it took them 2 months to call me back with an invitation to begin training. (FYI: airlines don’t hire you until you complete their training course). I had remained hopeful that they’d still call, as I’d been collaborating with a lot of other applicants online who had also yet to hear either way. As you can imagine, I was ecstatic when they finally called to say I was successful.
In the two months I was waiting to hear back, I had applied to and been interviewed by a Middle Eastern airline that was doing a hiring tour in Canada. I was unsuccessful after completing the first two stages of their interview process. I wasn’t too upset though. It’s was a very competitive process and I know that there were people who wanted to work at that particular airline much more than I did.
In the end I take a lot of pride in the fact that I only applied with two airlines, and was hired by the first one I interviewed with.
Why did you apply for this job? – Based on your answer, were those goals justified?
When I became a flight attendant I was looking for a career where each day was different. I think my goal was to do something with my life where I would never again utter the phrase, “I don’t want to go to work today.” My problem has always been that I get bored with what I’m doing when I do it too much. I wanted a job where I would face all sorts of different challenges and it would therefore stay interesting.
Those goals were absolutely justified. Every flight is different. With each destination is a new set of passengers that have their own specific needs to be taken care of. I can choose my schedule (seniority allowing, of course). I can decide when I want to do day flights, night flights, short haul, long haul, domestic, or international. I’ll decide if I want to work a few days every week, or every day for a week and then take a week off.
And of course not everything goes according to plan. Sometimes flights get delayed, or we have medical emergencies. Sometimes we even have to land the plane for passengers suffering from medicals. There are tonnes of factors in play every day and sometimes it’ll really shake up your schedule. It’s weird to talk about that like it’s a good thing. I promise when these things happen it’s frustrating for the crew and passengers alike. But it’s when I look back at these events that I think to myself “I love my job, and it’s because this kind of craziness can happen. And not only can I manage it, but I’m good at it too.”
What’s the best thing about the job?
I’m not sure how easily I can pinpoint the single greatest aspect of my job. I suppose it comes back to the how my work is so varied, and how much control I have over my schedule. Of course the part where I get to travel all the time is a huge factor too. I think combined; those aspects are my favourite thing.
What’s the worst/hardest thing about the job?
Worst and hardest are not the same, so I’ll have to answer those as separate questions.
The hardest part of my job is working (nicely) with passengers during extreme situations. Delay situations in excess of 4, 12, even 18 hours happen from time to time at my airline (we never cancel flights). I once operated a flight where we were delayed 6 hours, and then once we were on our way we completely ran out of meals due to a catering mishap. Those passengers were MAD. You really need to handle these situations delicately to keep everyone calm, or even in some cases just to keep control of the cabin. It’s a very hard skill to learn and maintain because everyone reacts differently and you have to try and prevent a mob mentality type atmosphere from forming in the cabin to keep control. The last thing you want is for passengers to begin thinking it’s “Us vs. Them”. Them being the cabin crew.
But the worst thing about the job is a lot simpler than that. It’s simply scheduling. Sometimes you have to miss special occasions or holidays with your family because you have to work. Flights are coming and going 365, 24/7 after all. The days can be long, and they often start early. Some mornings I set my alarm for 2am. And at my airline, a 14 hour duty day in the Vancouver base is considered normal. Sometimes you can’t avoid flights where you work all night and sleep all day. We used to have this nasty little pairing where we had to work 3 red eye flights in a row. Luckily as your seniority grows you gain more and more ability to steer away from the nasty flying.
What were common misconceptions that you found out about cabin crews? Were those misconceptions proven right or wrong?
A lot of people think that being a flight attendant is glamorous. While it’s a very rewarding career, it’s not easy and it’s not always pretty either. We work long hours, handle upset passengers (or sometimes upset crew members!), often times we can’t get enough sleep and we only eat when we have time. Sometimes it’s downright gross. I’ve certainly had to do my share of cleaning up after someone’s sick kid.
That being said, there is an exception. That part when passengers watch as you’re strolling through the airport with your crew, heading to the plane, all in matching uniforms. That part is pretty great. But I assure you the glamour ends once you get on the plane.
Any favorite place/s that you always visited in your flights?
I love Isla Mujeres. If you find yourself in Cancun, be sure to take a day to hop on a ferry to Isla Mujeres. Once you get there, rent yourself a scooter or a golf cart and just explore. It’s beautiful, quiet, and is a great way to spend a day with friends, family, or even just yourself. In fact sometimes when I layover in Cancun and I find myself with a crew that just wants to lie on the beach (or if the weather is bad, just stay at the bar), Isla Mujeres is where I go.
What are your tips to cabin crew applicants?
It helps to do some research on the airline. Know the company that you’re applying to so when they ask you “What do you know about us?” you can blow them away with a solid answer. When I applied at my company, I mentioned some of the awards the company had won recently. The interviewer actually said to me, “Wow! I haven’t had anyone who’s known that yet.” I think it shows the company that you’ve done your research on them, and you’re willing to put real effort into the work that you do.
Also, just remember that the airline wants to see the real you. Smile and be your friendly shining self. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t make the cut the first time around. Just keep trying, sooner or later you’ll get it.
How long are you planning to stay in this job? Any plans of transfferring to another airline? What motivates you to keep working?
When I first decided to become a flight attendant, I wanted to work for Air Canada. It was my dream job. I loved the idea of flying on wide body aircraft around the world and enjoying flight passes on a network of airlines.
But working for a smaller, growing company has allowed me to gain seniority at a much faster pace than I ever could with any legacy carrier. I love that I know the people I work with. They’re not just colleagues, but friends. Not just in Vancouver, but all over the country. At some of the bigger airlines, (I hear) you fly with some people and never see them again. While at my airline, senior management on the other side of the country knows me by name (And I promise I’m not a trouble maker!).
I won’t say I’ll never go anywhere else (never say never!), but for the time being, at least, I love where I am. There’s so much opportunity to grow, I love the people that are here, and I have some pretty decent seniority. Now I’ll just cross my fingers that one day we’ll get wide body planes and reciprocal passes with other airlines.
Connect with Jet
*Photos provided by Jet.
Thank you so much for sharing your insights and for the interview, Jet!