An airhostess’s primary job is to ensure the safety and security of passengers and she is specially trained and certified for safety and first-aid situations. She also has the added responsibility of making every passenger’s flight comfortable in terms of customer service. Her tasks involve welcoming passengers on board, providing in-flight information, demonstrating emergency safety regulations and assisting old and sick passengers. An airhostess is expected to help passengers during critical situations calmly and patiently. There have been instances of airhostesses displaying exemplary courage and even laying down their lives for the sake of their passengers. It is an airhostess’s responsibility to evacuate passengers from the plane during an emergency
What do they do?
As a high school teen, Anjali Menon thought it would be “really cool” to look smartly groomed and travel the world in high heels. She was captivated by the idea of visiting exotic lands and getting paid for it.
Now 23, Menon is living her dream — she is an airhostess. She shops in New York, buys cheese in Amsterdam, samples chocolates in Frankfurt and gets her weekly stock of noodles from Tokyo.
Before joining a renowned international airline, Menon, a hotel management graduate, worked as a guest relations executive in a hotel. “I knew from the beginning that I had to join the aviation industry,” she says. “So I looked at the hotel industry as a stepping stone. It also made my CV look good, compared to students who came from a non-hospitality background.”
“The entire experience is great and the travelling is the best part, but one has to forego a major part of one’s social life,” Menon says. It can get lonely, being away from home for long periods, “but flying with colleagues makes it so much easier and makes work enjoyable”.
For cabin attendant Neetu Suri, who works for Spicejet, “this is one of the very few jobs that allow for frequent travel, seeing new places and meeting people from varied backgrounds”. She feels this is a great way to develop as a person, and it doesn’t hurt that the pay is good and the job is glamorous. “There is a lot of hard work, but I enjoy doing what I do,” she says.
The scope for career progression in this field has improved as more airlines are allowed into the country. One can become senior cabin attendant after two or three years on the job, and then, if they so wish, move into administration or base operations. The other option is to be a trainer in technical or customer services, etc.
The job has its challenges, the biggest being “handling customers and effectively solving their problems with limited resources”, says Suri. Also, job timings require a great deal of setting and resetting of the body clock. “There are phases of very intense physical activity, followed by breaks,” Suri adds. “We have to constantly adapt to different time schedules, which means altering meal times and sleep habits. Quality time with family and friends must be planned as per the roster."
. Ability to remain pleasant and presentable no matter how much the pressure
. One has to stay fit. Good skin and good eyesight are must
. Functioning as a team player
. Handling difficult situations and the ability to deal with them independently
How do I get there?
The minimum qualification required is 10+2. It pays to be a graduate in any field or in hotel management. Knowledge of foreign language is a plus. Some airhostess training academies help you learn the ropes