Oh I’ve always wanted to be a Flight Attendant! 🌎

I hear this line quite often from people when they ask me what I do for a living… 

The thing is, it’s not always as amazing as it sounds! Don’t get me wrong here, in my 6+ years of flying, I’ve seen and heard quite a lot of things that make me think, “Yes it’s an exciting job but it’s not forever!”

Quite surely I can say that it’s not a career in the Middle East Airlines. I started when I was 23 and now I am 31 and I feel the difference! We usually work 12 to 14 hour duties from sign in, have multiple flights a week with only 11 hours legal rest in between. Yes sometimes we get 5 days off in a row but in my case, as I fly mostly the 320, I’m constantly living in my uniform and it started to mentally and physically drain me.

My usual routes are India, Pakistan, Africa and the Gulf Countries. Sometimes I try to be positive and say well I get to sleep in my own bed tonight but then, when I get back home at 2am and know that my next duty starts at 14:00hrs, it makes me think is it worth it?

My body is having more of hard time adjusting to my busy schedules which involve Late night Turnarounds and 4 sectors a day most of the time. Yes we look pretty and are smiling to the guests, but they don’t really know how we feel on the inside and they shouldn’t as we chose to do this on our own. However, as an advice be nice to us when your getting on the plane! If we greet you, just say hi back!

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This is my lucky charm Minion Captain in the Flight Deck!

It is a constantly demanding job. You have to please everyone even if they’re shouting at you because they didn’t get their meal preference or the person in front of them reclined their seat. We have many duties to fulfill in just 1 flight. We secure the cabin, serve meals, collect the trash, attend to First Aid cases, sell duty free, do walk arounds, clean the toilets and Oh boy, that’s fun! (Yes that’s sarcasm talking). Whenever we are about to sit to eat after running around like headless chickens, there’s something that comes up and there you go to attend that call bell that is only for you to pick up leftover trash.

Being a HUB, the area where I work is mostly for connections. We deal with people from different cultures, manners and beliefs. It is hard to please them all! I remember once, I cried because I felt so insulted by someone that I couldn’t take it anymore. Yet we wipe the tears off and come out with a smile.

Do I regret leaving what could’ve been my long term job as a Journalist to travel the world? Absolutely not! But now I’m in the middle of a 30’s life uncertainty. What will I do next?

Eight years living between Doha and now the UAE started to feel like its time for me to move on. Being alone and so far away from family makes you think a lot about it!

If there’s anyone out there who’s been flying and decided to leave the job for good, share your insights with me! Advices from fellow colleagues are always welcomed!

Ready, Set, Go! Training starts

After 2 days of relaxation and getting mentally prepared for the following weeks there I was, sitting at the first day of training.  I can still remember the faces of the other 15 girls who like me, felt fear and excitement at the same time for what was yet to come.

Amazed at how diverse our group was, I was eager to know where they were all from. One by one we stood up and introduced ourselves. We were coming from South Africa, India, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, The Philippines, Slovenia, France, Rumania, Lithuania and finally Mexico and Costa Rica. Our Service trainer was from The Philippines and the Safety one was from India. They were both ladies, perfectly groomed but with a serious yet charming flight attendant personality.

We were told our batch would be named AB 629 and all our classes were going to be from 7:30 am until 2pm.

After the introduction, the trainers started mentioning the drill of the following 7 weeks: They strictly mentioned that tardiness was not going to be tolerated, we would have breaks between 15 to 20 minutes and a lunch break of 40 minutes.

If we fell sick, we would have to go to the Airline’s medical center to be evaluated. Under no circumstances were we able to go out past 10pm during Initial training. Even during the weekends which we had off.

We were bound to read, study and learn the Manuals by heart. If we failed the oral or practical exams we would not graduate and would be sent back home.       Training days were absolutely intense! Countless nights of reciting word after word the evacuation drills, drawing maps about all the aircrafts we were about to fly. They were Airbus 320, 321, 330-200/300, 340 and Boeing 777-200 and 300. For someone like me who never knew anything about aircrafts it was perfect panic…

Looking back at how this airline trains their crew, I must say hats off! One of the best trainings I have ever got! I still remember some things. Those days of crying during practicals paid off. They made the training in my current airline way easier!

 

Goodbye West, Hello Middle East!

There I was, after 2 months of sending papers back and forth, waiting for the Airline to send me notifications of my DOJ ( Date of Joining) and a serious case of jitters. I finally received a One-Way Ticket that will let me embark on 20hrs of traveling via Houston to my final destination Doha, Qatar.

I remember the time I landed into Doha and stepped out of that enormous metal bird, which I know identify as a Boeing 777-300. I was wearing reading glasses which I used to watch movies, the humidity suddenly covered my lenses and I was unable to see for a few seconds. The air was so sticky that I felt it right in my lungs.

Once at the arrivals, there was a lady with a board filled with names. I quickly identified mine and joined the group. We were about 10 girls, some of us had a farther journey than others. We looked like a committee from the United Nations, so diverse…

We got our suitcases, a welcome bonus and a paper that stated our new flat mates. To my surprise, mine was from Mexico so I quickly felt calm since I wouldn’t have to struggle in getting along with her.

We reached our compound. It’s name was “My City” it was a girls only accommodation. Six buildings, a common gym and a roofed pool (unfortunately). Our apartment was 2 bedroom with 1 and a half bathrooms, a medium sized living room and a small kitchen. Yes we had to share the shower, it sounds crazy but we managed.

Everything was brand new, we got cutlery, plates, glasses, towels, sheets & pillows. Later on we just customized the rooms according to our taste. One thing I must say is, don’t go wild with the decoration and other things, because when it’s time to leave, you’ll end up with a bunch of unnecessary things! LESS is definitely MORE!

It was time to decompress from that 16.5 hour trip and relax. Looking out through my window all I could see was sand, a few not maintained buildings and at far the majestic area of West Bay, where all the fancy buildings of Doha are. At that moment  lots of thoughts crossed my mind, what if I don’t like it here?, how will I survive being so far?, I don’t know anyone, Will I feel lonely?…

There I was a girl from Central America, who was about to spend her first night of many in an Arabic Country.

How it all Started

Hi there and welcome to my blog! This project is my personal story of how I decided to adventure myself in the outside world and attend an Open Day that would end up changing my life!

I would like whoever reads me to feel identified in my journey. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment!

My story began in 2011. I was a vibrant, energetic 22 year old girl who had come back to Costa Rica after living in New York City, where I completed a Certificate in Digital Journalism at the New York Film Academy.

When I got back home, I didn’t feel at ease with myself. Coming from such a crazy and lively city back to the Tropics to try and find a job in Journalism. One day while I was interning at a News Channel, I read an ad about a Middle East Airline coming to recruit cabin crew in Costa Rica. I said to myself oh wow! I wonder where this country is and what it must be like!

The Requirements to attend where: Customer Service Experience, Able to reach 212cm on tip toes and Good command of English. All of a sudden, I got an exciting feeling and decided to attend the event!

On the big day, around 200 people showed up. We saw a presentation of the country and the airline, got some questions answered and then we proceeded to some games that involved role play and decision making.

It was a long day, we were all exhausted and nervous because as the day advanced, they started eliminating people. I always had a feeling that I would make it through and so it happened. Finally we were down from 200 to roughly 10. Later on, I came to know that only 3 of us embarked in the adventure!

Looking back now, I do not regret what I’ve done, I have lots of nice memories and amazing places that I’ve seen but I believe that if you want to do this job. The earlier you start, the better. Because it is mentally and physically demanding. Yet one experience I will never forget!

Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at all. — Helen Keller