Wish you could be travelling all the time? Time Out speaks to an air hostess and gets the truth about life in the skies
Time Out Bahrain staff
I was five years old when I decided to become an air hostess. Why? It was simple: air hostesses are beautiful, they speak many foreign languages, look professional, and most importantly they travel. When my childhood dream came true I realised that there’s actually a lot of hard work involved, and it can often feel strange and disorientating living out of a suitcase. A lot of crew have it just next to the bed, either open or closed, ready for the next flight. The suitcase gets broken and fixed at least twice a year; mine recently lost a wheel.
But look at my wardrobe and you will find clothes and jewellery from all over the world – a scarf from Moscow; a necklace from Manila; shoes from Paris; a dress from Bangkok. In my house you will find masks from Africa, DVDs from Shanghai, vitamins from Australia and Manuka honey from New Zealand.
I have to be flexible and force myself to sleep in the afternoon or early evening; so many times I have to get ready for a flight departing at 2am or 4am. If I sleep, then good, but if I don’t I still go for a flight – that’s when the fun starts.
My first stop is the briefing room, where I look suspiciously at the faces of colleagues I have never met before – each flight usually means a completely different crew. We then listen as the in-flight manager gives a small talk about safety on board.
‘What would be your first reaction if the passenger faints in the gallery?’ he will ask. ‘I would tap his shoulders and shout into his ear,’ someone will reply. ‘Which ear?’ the manager asks. ‘The one that is closest to me.’ ‘Wrong! We always shout into both ears.’
The briefing completed, we board the plane and greet the passengers. Boarding can sometimes feel endless and you have to say hello to everybody – and if there are delays, people can be unhappy.
With the passengers seated, it’s time to give out the towels and menus. If everyone is settled we can finally take off.
My section consists of nearly 100 passengers, and once airborne we start to serve the drinks and meals. That means I will ask 100 times, ‘Chicken or fish?’ Sometimes I might have a problem, if we run out of what the passenger wants and they blame me personally. But of course it’s not really my fault.
After the food, we clear the cabin; not always easy, as some passengers have recreated Mount Everest on their meal trays. Then there are questions to answer: ‘Can I have water?’; ‘Can I have a blanket?’; ‘When we will be landing?’ The list goes on.
When we do land, I no longer feel glamorous, but I bid farewell to my passengers with a smile. I’m happy to have landed safely, and my thoughts are of sight-seeing before my next flight. Thoughts? Comments? Go to www.timeoutbahrain.com.