…But we do what we can to make the best of the situation. We dress in loose clothing (I have a special pair of “flying trousers”), we bring entertainment such as books and music, we bring eye masks to sleep… we basically do whatever it takes to make ourselves as comfortable as possible. And still we arrive at our destination tired, jetlagged, and (at least in my case) a lot less pretty then we were when we took off.
Now imagine doing this 10 hour journey, but instead of sweatpants you are in uniform. Instead of trainers you are in heels. Instead of sleeping/reading/watching a movie you are continuously walking up and down the aisle pushing food trolleys/ collecting rubbish/selling duty free products, and constantly doing whatever you can to make sure every single person on that plane is having a good experience. And you still arrive looking as flawless as you did when you set out that morning. If you think you can pull that off, then you are perfect for cabin crew!
My familiarisation flight took me on a 10 hour journey to Tenerife and back with Cabin Manager Julie and her team. During these hours I got to delve into the behind the scenes tasks that take place in the air. I quickly learnt that no day is never quite like another in cabin crew. The constant flow of new customers means that each request will be different, and as a result you have to be extremely adaptable to do this job. The diversity of the tasks dealt with by Julie and her team was, at least from an outsiders view, overwhelming, and I take my hat off to the entire team for the job they did. During the flight I had a passenger seat next to a lovely couple, who told me this was their 12th Thomson Holiday! This was one of the best parts of the flight, getting to chat to so many customers and hearing their experiences with Thomson. It was brilliant.
When we arrived in Tenerife we had to do an aircraft change. We walked across the airspace to the Thomson aircraft that we were to fly home, and I was able to get a closer look at some of the ground work like baggage loading and fuelling. During the walk the first officer, Metti, asked me if I wanted to sit in the engine for a photo. I laughed and agreed, obviously thinking she was kidding, and before I knew it I was perched up in the engine smiling at the camera!
And as if that wasn’t exciting enough, during this changeover I was invited into the cockpit by Metti and the captain, Robert, where they showed me how they prepare for take-off and I got to take some more photos in the aircraft. The experience was topped off by a little souvenir from Robert; printouts of our flight map.
So, from meeting the lovely crew, to sitting in an engine, to hearing about how a passenger proposed to his wife on a Thomson Holiday – all in all I’d say my familiarisation flight was pretty great. I think I could even go as far as to say that I did in fact enjoy my 10 hour flight!
Maja Lunsjo (UK & I Commercial Graduate Scheme)