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Becoming A Member of Cabin Crew

I've been meaning to write this for ages but, to be honest with you, I have just been so goddamn tired I haven't had the energy to do anything other than moan about how tired I am. But if you missed it, hey! I've become Cabin Crew!

When I got the job I was bombarded with messages from people on Instagram wanting to know how I got into it and what the process was like so I thought I would write a post explaining what I did and what the training and recruitment process was actually like.

I will begin by saying that if you want to become Cabin Crew you have to be aware that it is bloody tiring and you will work unsociable hours. Say goodbye to weekends as they won't exist for you anymore - you can also say goodbye to a normal sleeping pattern too. I've known a few people that have wanted to leave the job because of the hours and the working schedule so just bare that in mind before you apply as you won't be working 9-5 Mon-Fri that's for sure.

(note: I started writing this in July. It's now February - oops. The recruitment process has changed slightly from when I applied in 2018 but it's roughly the same.)

The Recruitment Process
If you have been around here for a while then you will know that about 2 years ago I very vaguely mentioned how I had a Cabin Crew job with a different airline (hint: it's British) but the referencing stage was taking far too long and I was so unhappy in my job at the time that I couldn't wait and I applied for other airlines which was when I saw the online advertisement for this one. I was lucky in that the process was very very quick for me. I applied on a Wednesday early February, had the interview the following Saturday, got told I had the job the Wednesday after that and I was starting my training at the end of March. So yes, it happened really quickly for me which was why I was surprised when I started the job and asked other people when they applied and some of them had applied in November the previous year and had to wait until March to start. They do start hiring again in November though so if you were interested in becoming Cabin Crew then start checking around that time :)

The interview itself was very laid back and relaxed in comparison to the other airlines assessment day. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming and I personally didn't find it nerve-wracking. You go and get your height measured then you have a group task with a few other people where you have to choose a menu for Come Dine With Me and pick famous people that you would want to attend. This is basically to see how well you work in a group and to see if you listen to other people's ideas. You then do 2 role-plays, one where a passenger is unhappy with where they are seated and the other is a selling role-play. I found the last one easy as I had to 'sell a watch to a passenger' and as at the time I was working in a jewellery shop and the watch I had to 'sell' was one that I actually sold in real life so I had an unfair advantage! We then had a break and if you were successful you were invited to stay for a 2-1 interview. Again, the interview was very laid back and relaxed and they didn't ask any questions that would throw you, nor did they try and catch you out either. Very friendly and relaxing and I was confident that I had chosen the right company for me. 

The Training Process
If I would have to describe the training in one word then I would say it was intense. We were actually very lucky in that the training was 9-4 Mon-Fri for 5 and a half weeks whereas I have a few friends who work for the 'British' airline and their training was every single day for about 6 weeks so at least we had the weekends off. It was very much like going back to school. There were tears and tantrums (none from me!) but somehow all of us managed to get through it together. The first week was very much an introduction into the company and learning what a plane was - the hard work started in about week two. There were exams and tests, you would learn something one afternoon, go home that evening and revise it, then have an exam on it the following morning before learning something else, going home to revise it, exam the following day.. repeat. One thing that did surprise me was the safety demonstration that happens before every flight. It's not as easy as it appears to be! We had to learn it and practice it - so much so that I found myself forcing my sister to watch me mime it at home!

During the training we learnt all about the safety aspects of the aircraft we are trained on, for example how to arm and disarm a door, to first aid and how to use a defibrillator, to what to do if the pilot is incapacitated. I got very excited when we had an afternoon on the latter subject as I thought we would get to practice on a real one but alas, no. We then went on a 'school trip' up to Manchester to do our practicals. This is where we had to show that we could arm and disarm the door, open and close the door, fight fires and do our wet drills. The arming and disarming and opening and closing the door in real life was very strange as we had only really 'practiced' and 'mimed' to a poster of an aircraft door so actually doing it for real, albeit on a pretend plane, made it seem a bit more real. We then had our first aid training and our service training and before we knew it, it was our wings day and we were real life Cabin Crew members.

We had 3 amazing trainers who were there through everything, two of which I've flown with since so it's nice to get to know them up in the air as well as in the classroom.

My First Flights
I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I love my job. Yes, some days I still get the "ugh, I don't want to go today" vibes but that's usually down to a night Antalya flight where the checkout is 6am the following morning. The first month of work was a strange one as me and the rest of my training course were put on standby for 4 weeks and none of us got called out as we had yet to have our 'fam' flight. So we all essentially had a month off, but you couldn't go anywhere or leave your phone behind on the off chance that crewing might call you into work that day. I will say that we didn't finish our training course and were immediately thrown into flying, that is what our 'fam' (familiarization) flight was for. You basically go on board as an extra crew member and watch how things actually happen. I loved my fam flight as the cabin manager on board was actually one of my trainers so I was already with someone that I knew and was welcomed into a friendly environment. It was also a flight to Larnaca in Cyprus which meant it was a fairly long flight so everything was chilled and laid back and there was no rush. And in fact, I didn't watch at all. I got stuck in and did a bit of everything but the best part was being able to sit in the flight deck with the pilots for take off and landing. I always think the view from any plane window is pretty cool anyway but being able to sit 'right at the front' was amazing. Plus it's great to sit with the pilots and watch what they do and ask them stupid questions when the time is right.

After a while of flying you finally get the hang of it and don't feel like a spare part anymore. I've lost count how many flights I have done now but at the beginning it wasn't all plain sailing. Two words: travel sickness. I never really experienced travel sickness as such before, especially not on a plane (with the exception of a particularly horrendous flight to Australia) but I would say my third and fourth flights were horrendous. I'm not a morning person to begin with but a 2:30am start, lack of sleep and apatite made for some particularly hellish flights. It's bad enough feeling poorly anyway, add on top of that being 34,000ft up in the air and being at work.. well, I'm glad that period is over now! A few new crew this year have had to leave because of travel and motion sickness as they just couldn't get past it so hopefully I am over that now!

Short, Mid, Long-haul
So with the airline that I work for, we do long, short and mid-haul but as I am based in Bristol, they only fly short and mid-haul to and from there. I would love to do long-haul at some point. I believe long-haul is a lifestyle rather than a job and to be honest, I wouldn't mind that life. So at some point I would love to transfer bases to either Gatwick or Manchester but for now I am happy in Bristol.
(For example, I flew with a girl based in Manchester at the start of the season and asked her where her next flights were to. She said she had 2 days off then was off to Las Vegas for 3 days, home for a few days then off to Cuba for 6 days, home again for a few days then back to Vegas. I was very envious!)

An Average Day
So, an average day will usually start with me waking up at 2:30am. At the moment I am getting a lot of early flights. Some people prefer this as it means sometimes you can be home by 3pm, depending on the destination, so you have the rest of the day to yourself but by the time I have got home, I'm so bloody tired I can't move myself off my bed fully-clothed let alone go out and see friends. I prefer night flights. It means you can have a nice lay in and get ready at a leisurely pace. Yes, it causes havoc to your sleeping pattern but I would prefer that to tossing and turning the night before a 2:30am start too afraid to sleep in case I miss my alarm. When you have a night flight it usually means that because you land so early the following morning, the rest of the day is called a rest day and you usually get a couple of days off afterwards too. (This isn't always the case though. You could be very unfortunate and have to do a flight to Cyprus on a Saturday afternoon and a flight to Turkey on the Sunday evening. By the Monday you are dead!!)

So, I wake up and spend about 45 mins getting ready for work. I then have to drive an hour to get to the airport which really makes me miss my 5 min commute to my previous job! Once at the airport I go to the crew room, check in and meet everyone else on the same flight as me. Just when you think you have met everyone there was possible to meet, a few more names you don't recognise get added to your roster! It can be very daunting having flights when you don't know anyone else on board so you have to try and make friends very quickly. You can't like everyone, and everyone can't like you, but fortunately I have liked the majority of people I have come across - and even if you don't like them, chances are you will be stuck with them for the next 5 flights you operate so you have no choice but to like them!

Cabin Crew check in an hour and a half before the flight is scheduled to leave. This is so we can have our briefing with our cabin manager and go through safety and first aid questions to test our knowledge, as well as learn how many passengers are on board and if they have any special requirements. We also get told our positions for that flight, which basically means you get told the area you are responsible for for take off and landing, where you will be sitting and where you will be working. There are 5 positions you could be responsible for as a cabin crew member so you have to know the duties and roles of each one. Once the briefing is done we then go through security and get on a bus that takes us to the plane. (A lot of people ask if you have to go though security like everyone else and yes, you do. Even the pilots get their 100ml toothpaste taken off them, just like passengers! Based in Bristol we have our security in a separate area to the passengers as we don't even go to the airport terminal.)

If you have an early morning flight when you get on the plane it will be empty so you just put your bags away and start getting prepared for the flight but if you have an afternoon or evening flight then when you get on the plane there might be crew on board from the previous flight. If this happens it can be quite chaotic as the previous crew still have jobs to do and you don't want to get in their way but also you want to just get ready and prepared for your own flight - plus your friends might be on board who you haven't seen for a while so you always want to say hello! Once on board and you have put your little cabin bag away in the overhead locker, we have to do our safety and equipment checks for our area and position. This is just to check that we have all of the equipment we need on board and to make sure there isn't anything on board that shouldn't be. We then go to our boarding positions and greet the passengers as they arrive on board, answer any questions (usually along the lines of "I'm sat in 12B but my wife is sat in 32F, what are you going to do about it???) and hand out any seatbelts and life vests for babies. Once the doors of the plane are closed, we then have to arm our doors. This is when you hear someone say "Cabin crew arm doors" over the PA. When we do this it means that we are making sure that if we ever had to land in an emergency situation, the slides will deploy and we can all get out safely. Once everyone has armed their doors and we have confirmed it with our cabin manager (the person who reads out all of the PA's and is at the front of the plane), we then go into the safety demonstration as the plane is taken off it's stand and we start heading for the runway.

The safety demo is much harder than it looks! I hate doing it as I always can never open my seatbelt properly, or I get the life jacket stuck in my hair, or I pull the mask too vigorously and it snaps in two.. Once we have done our demo we then have to secure our cabin. This is when the cabin crew member walks down the cabin checking to see if you have your seatbelt on, your arm rest down and your window blind up. (There's a reason why we have to ask you to do all of these things so don't argue it!) We can then sit in our seat and have a 5 minute sit down as the plane takes off before we start doing our other duties.

The order of service for the airline I work for is usually a bar service where we sell drinks and snacks, then the meal service followed by tea and coffee, then we sell duty free, before doing another bar service. Dependant on where we are flying to we can sometimes do three bar services but if it is a short flight then we will just do one. It's very busy and hectic and it sounds strange but you do end up forgetting that you are on a plane. It's only when you go through turbulence that you remember! You do have a good time though as most of the time you are with your friends or are busy making new ones! You do get time for a little break being cabin crew, so we always have time for a cup of tea and biscuits and a chat at the back. Before you know it, you are landing at your destination where you have an hour on the ground before flying straight back home again. In that hour the current passengers get off the plane, you tidy up, the cleaners come on board and do a quick but thorough clean of the plane and you have a quick chance to look outside, take a quick Instagram story and have a swipe on Tinder before the new passengers come on board and we do everything all over again.

Once back in the UK and the passengers have left the plane, we either hand it over to the next crew getting on or we tidy up, grab our bags and head back to the crew room. Once in the crew room we then have paperwork to do and we sort out and cash the money that we took throughout the flight before checking out in hope that our roster hadn't changed since we checked in! We then have to get on a little bus to the car park, say our goodbyes then I get in my little car and drive the hour back home before falling asleep on my bed fully clothed. When I get home from work, I have no personality left for anyone else. All of my personality has been used up at work and I have nothing left to give when I get home, lol. Sometimes I would go home from work and drive to Gloucester to see a friend or go on a night out but by the time you have got home you just want to lay in a horizontal position and not speak to or look at a single soul.

Destinations and Working Hours
A lot of passengers think once we have landed we go straight back out again.. luckily not. We don't operate like Easyjet so we don't fly 4 sectors a day, we just do our return trip and that's us for the day. Like I said, I started writing this in July and now it's February so I can look back at the entire season. I did a lot of the longer flights last summer, so I went to Egypt, Turkey, Cyprus and Greece a lot. The flight to Egypt can be up to 5 and a half hours each way so that's already 11 hours of flying, add on the hour turnaround, the hour and a half you are already at the airport before the plane takes off and the hour you stay once you have landed, as we all as my two hour commute, you are looking at a 16 and a half hour day - and that's without any delays.

You have to have a minimum rest time of 12 hours between your flights so if you checked out at 3am in the morning, you would technically be fit to work again at 3pm the same day. I was really lucky in that every time I would have flights in a row I would have just over 12 hours between each flight which was good for me as I live an hour away from the airport so those 12 hours of rest wouldn't be 12 hours of rest as they don't take into consideration your commute times. The least amount of time I had between flights was about 14 hours which isn't a lot of time but at least it wasn't just 12 hours, whereas one weekend at work one of my friends ended up working 4 days in a row with roughly 12 hours rest between each flight and he was exhausted by the Monday. You are within your right to say no to a flight if you are fatigued as you have to be alert and on the ball at all times but it is exhausting and they do work you hard.

So there's two different types of standby - an airport standby and a home standby. They are pretty self-explanatory but obviously if you have an airport standby you stay at the airport for your duty or if you have a home standby you stay at home. They can call you at anytime during your standby so you always have to have your phone with you and on loud. With the airline that I work for, we don't do airport standbys as our crew room isn't big enough and isn't practical to do so but if you work for Easyjet then they can have you sat in that crew room for hours on end as they have the facilities for you to do so. When I first started and when I had that whole month on standby, I would wake up when my standby was due to start and be up and ready just in case they called but that habit soon died and I would still be asleep well into my standby time. I would always have my phone on loud next to me and I would always wake up if it rung, although fortunately it only happened twice that I would get called off standby and would have to go into work.

Standbys last 6 hours but each time I got called into work they called me in the first 5 minutes of being on standby. Both times I was asleep when they called but obviously I woke up to answer the call! The first time they called me I had to get to Bristol Airport to be taxied to Birmingham to work out of there. You have an hour and a half to get to the airport but if you get called off standby they are really understanding and they tell you to take your time and not to rush to get there. The second time I got called off standby I had to fly to Zante. It was a Sunday morning and I went on a night out the night before but because I knew I had a standby, I wasn't drinking so I would be fit for work in case they called me. Which they did. I got stuck in traffic on my way to the airport so I think I made it to the plane a minute before the passengers got on! It was a complete rush and it was a relief to take off so I could have a cup of tea and wake up a little bit!

Roster Changes
The worst part of any working day was when you had landed back in the UK and you could turn your phone on and check to see if your roster had changed for the next day. On one flight I had last summer, on the turnaround we found out that 3 of our friends had called in sick for their flight they were supposed to be on the following day and as all of us were then on standby the following day we all knew there was a massive chance that at least one of us would end up being put on it. As soon as we landed back in the UK and were on the crew bus back to the crew room, everyone logged on to the roster to see who had been put on it.. you knew who had been put on by how many people groaned when they logged on!

They can change your roster at any time. I was on standby on my birthday and a few days before I checked out from a flight and saw that my roster had changed and I had been put on a flight instead. I didn't make any plans as I knew there was a big chance I could have been called out and just my luck that I did but I was with all of my friends and I actually had a great birthday!

Trouble Passengers
I was very lucky in that I never had any trouble or difficult passengers last summer although I expect it to happen at some point. When people find out you are cabin crew you get asked three questions. The first being "do you enjoy it?" my answer to that being yes, I wouldn't do it otherwise. The second being "where's your favourite place you have been?" again, another boring question which I tend to ignore when I get asked it on Tinder (lol) and the third and final most common question being "have you had anything exciting happen on any of your flights?" I then tell people no, not really but I mention the passenger who shouted at me because he didn't like what was being played on the In-Flight Entertainment system as he didn't think it was suitable for children - it was the Looney Tunes. I glanced at his row and asked where his children were - they were at home.

I then tell them about the passenger who somehow ended up lost between the gate and getting onto the plane. She was travelling with her friend who came on board hysterical that she had lost her friend. We presumed she meant that she had passed away so we were very sympathetic, to which she snapped "no, I mean she was just behind me and now she's gone!!" The passenger was missing for 45 minutes and we were very delayed because of her. In the end the Captain had to call the passenger on his phone, who answered straight away, and he said "Shouldn't you be somewhere?" to which she replied with "help me, I'm lost!" It turns out she decided to go back to duty free instead and she waltzed on in her own time, declaring "Hi everyone, I made it!" to which all of the passengers stared stony faced back at her. At the time it was frustrating as she had delayed us all and I was feeling poorly and just wanted to be at home in bed but I can look back and laugh about it now!

Being based at Bristol Airport you don't really get layovers unfortunately. That said, last summer we used to do "W" patterns meaning we would fly from Bristol to a destination, land back in another airport in the UK and then stay there overnight before flying back to that destination the following evening and landing back into Bristol. I loved having these little layovers as you got the chance to get to know everyone better, go out for a drink and a meal and get put up in a nice hotel with all of your friends. Plus you get paid a certain amount of money every hour you are away from your base so you were constantly earning money, even when you were asleep!

The last flight I did last summer was a layover in Egypt. We get our rosters every 2 weeks and I was actually on holiday in Ibiza laying on the beach when my final roster came out and I couldn't believe it when it said I was staying in Egypt for a night and a day. We travelled from Bristol to Birmingham Airport where we flew out as passengers and got taken to a lovely hotel. We had dinner together and some drinks then we all woke up early the next morning to sunbathe and go to the beach. Well, none of us were smart enough to bring suncream so we were all incredibly burnt by the time we went back to the airport later that afternoon! A crew from Bristol flew passengers out then we all got on and we flew the plane to Dalaman in Turkey empty, which is called Positioning so there was just crew on board. Then passengers hopped on, the crew who bought the plane out stood down and we worked the flight home.

The Best Job In The World
I love my job. I probably make it out to be more fun than it actually is as it is hard and the days are long and sometimes you just get sick of speaking to people but I couldn't go back to a 9-5 job after this. I can't imagine working in an office and doing a "normal" job now, but I also wouldn't want to. I work with a lot of women who have young children and families and they still manage to have that work to life ratio balanced well so I wouldn't say it was just a job for young, single people.

Primarily the role of cabin crew is ensuring safety on board and being trained to know what to do in all situations but from this one job I have made so many friends and met so many lovely people. Not only are the other cabin crew members lovely but so are the pilots and having the chance to sit in the flight deck with them and just have a chat is amazing. You see so many amazing views that other people wouldn't have the chance to see ordinarily!

I think I've just about covered everything, even if it did take me 7 months to write it! If you have any questions then you are welcome to message me!



  1. I love this Louise! You’re so talented! I wish you told me sooner about your blog! I love it xxx

  2. This was always my dream job growing up, it sounds amazing!

    Danielle xx