Before this role, I worked as a cashier at Auntie Anne's Pretzels, and I can remember how much I hated the job. One day I gave myself an ultimatum to find something else, or I was going to quit flat out. During that time, I applied for EasyJet, having had no previous experience. They sent me an online assessment that was partly psychological, customer service-oriented, and some questions that assessed your common sense when resolving issues. It's a timed test, and my understanding is that a lot of people fail. Once I discovered I passed, I took an in-person interview. Afterward, I attended a 3-week intensive training program in a hotel airport; the schedule ran six days a week, 9-5. We had periodic assessments that we needed to complete, with lots of theory and practical training. If you survived the training program, we were given four trial flights with an experienced cabin crew team to learn the various tasks required. The following day you have another four flights and are tested and shadowed by a cabin crew trainer who reviews your actions throughout the day. Passing this final examination confirms your employment.
Typically, I wake up an hour before I need to leave for the airport, often at 3 am, I put on minimal makeup (required) and make sure my appearance meets the airline's standards. When I arrive at the airport, I meet the crew for the day, which is almost always different, and we have our briefing to discuss the plan for the day and the flight requirements. I generally have 2 or 4 flights a day.
During the flight, there are stringent time requirements, and they measure performance on this. First, we go through safety checks as a team, then we welcome any passengers and make sure they have everything they need to be comfortable before we take off. Once we're at the appropriate altitude, we set up for foodservice and serve the pilots and the passengers. We get a commission for sales, which can be fun. Once we serve everyone, we get to take our breaks and eat ourselves. You can bring your food or eat what's available. Depending on your team, you can take mini-breaks if you need them, but it depends on your team's culture. I will often forget to eat, drink water, or go to the toilet if a flight is busy. It's easy to get dehydrated in a pressurized cabin, so I do recommend drinking a lot of water. Often, I find myself eating or drinking water when there is a lot of turbulence because there is not much going on then.
Once the flight lands, we have a short window (usually 7 minutes) to clean the aircraft, and we need to clean EVERYTHING! I recommend having a strong stomach for cleaning up vomit, poop, etc. Once complete, the new passengers come on board, and we start the same process again.
Throughout the day, communication between your team is essential. We use lots of different signs when certain situations happen. The grounds crew come on board and communicate with the pilots and us; it is typically hectic. Easy jet promotes checking other cabin crew members and giving each other feedback so that we avoid mistakes. We do a debrief with the pilots and the crew and then go home.
I love my job! Being a cabin crew allows you to meet so many interesting people and have such fun conversations. If you're a people person, you will love it, and you can learn a lot. Passengers regularly inspire me, often wanting to take on more for myself.
Staff travel allows me to fly around Europe and stay in accommodation cheaply during my free time. When you're working, you don't get to see the places you're visiting, but outside of work, you can travel a lot if you desire. Having an excellent cabin crew and pilot(s) for the day is a fantastic feeling. We are always laughing; we have inside jokes, it can be a lot of fun! They encourage you to learn languages and provide resources if you're interested and I've always enjoyed that. My teams are generally very international.
I enjoy the unpredictability of the job because you never know what's going to happen that day. There's also a lot of instant gratification received from passengers, which I find very fulfilling. The organization itself doesn't see how you operate so that passengers can be a better indicator of your performance, and there are a lot of great people out there, padding you with compliments if you do a good job.
If you're looking for stability, financially and in your routine, being a cabin crew is probably not for you. Pay is dependent on the number of flights the airline allocates. I often wish I had more control over flight quantity and my ability to make extra money. Sometimes I want to work more hours, sometimes I want to work less, you can't decide. You do get a lot of time off, but a lot of it is often unpaid, and there are restrictions on flight hours traveled.
You're encouraged to sell a lot, especially boutique items, so if you don't like that aspect, it might not be a good fit. It's also harder to sell if you don't have a team that's sales oriented. Also, the passengers' culture plays a significant role in your sales numbers. Italians, for example, think most items are overpriced and don't buy much.
It's crucial to have the mindset to be at the service of others. If you're not a people person or don't have a lot of compassion, it's going to be very difficult. For example, sometimes passengers get scarred, get sick, start crying, faint, and you need to have the required empathy to deal with these circumstances. It can get quite vulnerable and emotional at times, and you need to be strong for the other passengers on board. I can recall several situations where I've had to hold a single mother's baby while going to the toilet.
I don't love the effect being on an airplane has on the body. I don't always feel healthy; my biorhythm can get messed up where I wake up in the middle of the night. When I was starting, I vomited regularly and was concerned about being fired.
To become a cabin crew, you don't need any formalized education or even a university degree. Beware of advertisements out there for cabin crew or flight attendant training programs; these are all completely useless and a waste of money. In Europe, every airline has its own training program, and many times they prefer people with no experience because they can train you for the first time the way they want to. Having previous experience in customer service can also help, as it's a good indicator that you can resolve customer complaints and problems.
Anyone can become an EasyJet cabin crew member as long as they have the correct visa and work permit. I've had colleagues from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the US.
In my opinion, you need to be open to feedback, have respect, and be confident while you're communicating. It's essential to give feedback to help others to improve. If you see something that isn't right or you don't agree with, you need to have the courage to stand up and say something. It would help if you were comfortable cleaning up things you don't want to be cleaning. You need to take your first aid training very seriously and be able to act during unexpected situations. Be prepared to be an entertainer; many customers want to chat with you; they want to see that you have excellent communication with the other crew members. Passengers always watch you and will report people who are nasty to others. If passengers see you get distressed, they will get distressed themselves. It helps to have a great poker face so that no one can tell how you are feeling internally, especially when you do not feel the best.
Being a cabin crew has taught me to be more resilient, take charge of uncertain situations, and have confidence. I've learned how to communicate effectively in different circumstances and stay positive when others are not.
The future outlook is not that great at the moment; there have been a lot of layoffs. The new restrictions will be a challenge to prevent spread and maintain hygiene. An airplane is a closed tube with many people crammed next to each other and using the same toilet. I can foresee a lot of people not wanting to travel as much. Before COVID, in many places, it was cheaper to fly than to take a train, but this is likely to change, in my opinion.
Great post!So you say you have cheap accommodation, are those special reductions in hotels, or specific lodgings for airplane staff?
Do you pay for airplane rides outside of your workday, and if so how much?