Crew Life: Flight Attendant Q&A
You ask, I answer. 🙂
Thank you so much for the numerous questions on Instagram regarding my job as a flight attendant. This blogpost contains most of the questions you have asked me. I am planning on doing some more “Crew-Life-posts” in the future to give you a nice insight into the life of a flight attendant 🙂
So let’s get started!
How long have you been flying?
I started flying in 2010. Time literally flies and sometimes it feels like it was only yesterday I moved to Switzerland and started my flight attendant training.
What is your favorite destination?
Oh, I have so many! I consider myself more an Asia-person, as I love to immense myself in a culture that is different from the one in Europe. Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Shanghai are my favorites. But I also do love Brasil and Oman. In Europe I am a huge fan of Moscow and Barcelona. But still, I like a mix between short-haul and long-haul flights.
Are there times when you prefer to stay at home rather than flying to someplace?
As much as I love flying and being abroad, there are moments where I’m having hard-times leaving home. But luckily, this mood is usually passing away very fast. As soon as I am in my uniform and see my colleagues, I am excited for the rotation. Plus, I know that coming home always feels twice as nice 🙂
Do people ever try to grab a whole handful of Swiss chocolate from the basket?
Sometimes they do. 😉 I personally don’t mind if our guests take more than one chocolate, as long as there is enough chocolate left for the rest. Distributing chocolate is one of the most rewarding tasks. Our signature chocolate is something that makes our guests fly SWISS again and again and therefore I am very generous. 🙂
Can you purchase the signature SWISS chocolate?
Unfortunately you can not buy our signature chocolate. 🙁 But I’m sure if you ask for some more chocolate nobody will say no. 😉
How do you like the fact that every day you work together with unknown people? Is it hard to build up a team instantly?
No, not at all! To me, that is one of the best things the job offers. Every crew is different, no day is alike and challenges you in a different way. I am always amazed how fast crews form a team. We know each other for only 10 minutes and already join forces. That’s the flying spirit. We set common goals and work together to achieve them.
How long does it take to serve business class? How long does it take to move up? Can you serve first class if you are not a Maître de Cabine?
Nowadays flight attendants start on a mixed-fleet, meaning usually both, short-haul and long-haul. On short-haul you are immediately qualified for business class. On long-haul it takes some months until you are trained for business-class. Working in first class requires a special training, but you don’t have to be Maître de Cabine for working in first class. Generally it goes quite fast to move up, compared to other airlines. Work well and take opportunities and you can achieve a lot. There are so many possibilities!
How do you balance work and relationship?
To me a good work-life-balance is essential, especially when constantly on the move. This applies for family, friends and in a relationship. When you are a flight attendant, organization becomes super, super important. Whenever the schedule is published (around the 23 the previous month) I try to schedule my private life around it. That means I plan date nights with my boyfriend, movie nights with friends or appointments at the hairdresser and – most important – make them a priority and stick to them.
Cs tipp: I can only recommend to everyone who is flying to send your schedule to your family and friends and explain it to them. (flight attendant schedules may look intimidating in the beginning.) It might take some time until they know how to “read” it but trust me it makes your life so much easier 🙂
Is it possible to work as a flight attendant at the same time as studying?
In aviation there are a lot of changes and things that were not possible for years are possible again and vice-versa. Right now it is possible to reduce your working-hours and fly under a freelance contract. Nevertheless you have to gain experience in advance and therefore you have to fly for at least 2 years full-time before reducing. But it always depends on your university. There are flight attendants who work full-time and still go to university besides.
Will you completely be back in aviation and leaving university?
My primary goal is to finish university, because that is the reason I reduced my contract. But I cannot imagine stop being a flight attendant anytime soon. Therefore I hope to be able one day to combine flying with journalism 🙂
Is necessary to have a EU or Swiss passport to apply as a flight attendant?
Yes, it is necessary to either have a Swiss or EU passport. On carreers.swiss.com you find a detailed list with all requirements.
Why did the person at the cabin crew day pick people that are generally hold back?
It is hard to make a guess from far away. I personally think that a good mix between being decent and active is the key to success to become a flight attendant. But the decision depends on a lot of factors. Don’t give up and give it another try! 🙂
Is it possible to live in Bern? While on call?
As a flight attendant you can generally live wherever you would like to live, which makes flying unique. 🙂 When you are on standby and you are living more than an hour away it is recommended to be in the vicinity of the airport. A lot of colleagues combine their stand-by duties with visiting friends or family in Zurich or come to the airport when their standby duty begins.
How do you manage your proceeding and is it paid by your company?
Commuting is an issue for its own. For some people it is no problem to live in Shanghai and commute and for some people Bern is already too far. 🙂 To me it is a question of attitude: When going to work, I usually arrive the evening before to avoid unnecessary stress. And I always know that I am not yet at home when landing in Zurich. As I am based in ZRH it I have to pay for my tickets. But we fly on a discount rate. 🙂
Do you have to work on holidays like Christmas? Would you have to fly too while studying abroad?
With my freelance contract I have to fly a certain amount of days per year. Mostly peek periods such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Easter and summer holidays. I can choose semi-freely where to put these days. This year I will fly mostly during summer and maybe one week during my Christmas holidays.
If you still have questions my job as a flight attendant, just drop me a message or write a comment below. I will answer some of your questions (beauty routine or how to prepare for the recruitment day) in an extra post, as would like to answer them with more than just a few sentences. And if you are interested in how I deal with jet lag have a look at THIS post.
Disclaimer: These answers are based on my personal opinion. It might be that you have heard or experienced something else. Furthermore I cannot guarantee the correctness of the answers, as regulations might change or might be modified.