Happy International Flight Attendant Day!
Every year on May 31st, many around the world make a special effort to celebrate and recognize cabin crew. Some sources cite that the first World Congress of Flight Attendants took place in 1973 in Rio, and that the final day of the event closed out on May 31, giving way to this annual holiday. The hard work of flight attendants can often go unnoticed, as most fliers’ interactions with them are limited to cabin service. However, a flight attendant’s primary responsibility is to ensure passenger safety on the aircraft. Flight attendants are highly trained professionals who are expected to be prepared for various emergency situations, from administering first aid to putting out fires.
This year, we got a head start on celebrations by inviting a few app users from the community who work as cabin crew, to share their stories on a Clubhouse panel event. App in the Air’s Director of Growth and Strategic Partnerships, Andy Palacios, led the fun and informative conversation.
Meet the Panel
Luis is a flight attendant for a low-cost Mexican airline called Viva Aerobus, for which he has worked during the past year and a half. He recalls seeing a photo of his friend handling luggage, and learned that she worked as a flight attendant and flew on a plane every day. It was during that moment that he realized that was exactly what he wanted to do as well. Luis is especially passionate about how as a low-cost carrier, his company empowers people to travel without money being a major barrier. To learn more about Luis, check out this feature we compiled from an interview with him last year.
Our (Viva Aerobus) mission and vision is that people can travel with less money. So I get really excited when I see people traveling for the first time.
Evelin is based in Tallinn, Estonia, where she works as a flight attendant for SmartLynx Airlines, an ACMI, charter, and cargo operator. She shared that she felt it had always been her calling to become a flight attendant. In high school, she dreamt of a career in aviation alongside her friend (who is now her husband!). She knew that the typical 8–5 job lifestyle wouldn’t be a good fit for her, and so she pursued a higher education degree in logistical supply chain management, with a focus on transportation. Today, she has worked as a flight attendant for the past four years, and her husband is now a pilot!
I never say that I’m going to work. I always say that I’m going on a flight. For me, it’s a lifestyle, and you also get paid for that!
Roberth is a purser, otherwise known as a lead flight attendant or cabin manager, for Xfly, a capacity provider to European commercial airlines. He is based in Stockholm, Sweden. Roberth began his career in cabin service in 2011, and has since spent about over 5,000 hours (that’s more than 208 days!) in the air. He shared a special childhood memory in which a neighbor gifted him a model aircraft, and willed the dream that one day, Roberth would have the opportunity to experience the inside of a real aircraft. Today, Roberth has worked as cabin crew for the past ten years, which many view as a lifetime in the aviation industry.
When you see a smile from a passenger, and they reward us with a comment that is really good, that can make my whole day.
Throughout the event, we covered various topics ranging from each panelist’s unique path to cabin service to hearing the good and the bad of life as a flight attendant. We also made sure to ask the important questions…
What is a tip or trick you learned on-the-job that you now use in your personal travels?
Evelin: Don’t rush to board first on the plane because if you come last, you can see the free seats that are left and you can always ask your flight attendant if you can occupy one of them. Oftentimes, it will end up being more comfortable for you.
Is it true that flight attendants have a specific language to communicate with each other?
Evelin: Yes, when there is no chicken left on board, we just shake our hands like chicken do.
Roberth: We do the chicken dance… also, we read lips. Every passenger, we can always see what they’re saying to each other because we’re the best in the world at reading lips.
What gifts have you received from passengers? Is there anything you would recommend to a passenger flying soon?
Roberth: It’s a security risk and it’s quite hard when you receive stuff from your passengers, and you don’t know what it is because safety is the highest priority. So if you’re going to give something to the cabin crew or the captain, it should be from a brand new package that hasn’t been opened. Otherwise, we have to throw it away. Gift cards are much better, but it should be to somewhere international because we are everywhere. We love the gifts, but we are just happy to have them on board, especially during the pandemic.
You can join us for more conversations like this one by following the App in the Air Community club on Clubhouse. Send us a message at [email protected] if you’re looking for an exclusive invitation to join the audio chat platform.