October 6th 2018,Los Angeles
When I joined, over a decade ago, low-cost airlines had no presence in India.During those days career in an airline was uncommon, and working as an Air Hostess was considered exotic and glamorous.There were few private academies for training crew members in country, but all limited to metro cities. I was the only one in my family and in the city who had the wings to fly, so in social gatherings,common questions for me were, What I did to become an Air hostess? or why I choose this profession? etc. etc.many times.
Didn’t really planned, it just happened!
It was holiday break after completing my graduations, when it all started. I was enjoying my morning tea with ‘The Hindu” my eyes stopped on the section for “Indian Airlines Cabin crew recruitment”. Read it with interest, realized I met all the criteria and felt like applying and I actually did. Being in an age when action speaks first and louder than thoughts.
Later, I realized that neither did I flew in an Airplane nor did I met or saw any flight attendant before, basically knew nothing about this job. The closest encounter was limited to seeing the plane in the sky and gazing them and saying “Bye bye” until they disappeared in the clouds.
THE TRAIN JOURNEY
Dad would have afforded the Air tickets for our family vacations but he preferred train over plane. He use to say , let’s not rush to the destination. For those journeys we used to pack our bags full of clothes and tasty snacks, which was always shared with the co passengers. I have packed countless bags with my childhood train memories, for life, in which I made many friends on the train, played games with co passengers, brought almost everything from books, to toys, cakes and what not from the vendors in the train or on the platform. Being here, in America I miss those family train rides, with my family.
IT IS BOEING 737 –200
After the rigorous classroom and practical training of almost 8 weeks which included Technical knowledge, personality-development, grooming, Voice modulation, Safety, First Aid and handling exigencies,all of us were ready. We were trained on Boeing 737-200 type of Aircraft.
“Boeing 737 aircraft is a short to medium range narrow-body airliner developed and manufactured by “Boeing Commercial Airplanes” in the United States.Originally developed as a shorter low-cost twin-engine derived from 707, 727 and 737 has developed into a family of 10 passengers models having the siting capacities from 85 to 215 passengers”. This was the introduction of Boeing 737 which we got by our Technical head”!!
BOEING OPERATION IS WORLDWIDE AND IT’S FLYING SINCE 1968.
The 737 is operated by more than 500 airlines flying to 1200 destinations in 190 countries worldwide, over 4,500 in service in which averages at any given point there are on average 1,250 airborne s worldwide ✈️.On an average , somewhere in the world 737 took off at every 5 seconds in the year 2006.Since entering service in 1968 the 737 has carried over 12 billion passengers over 74 billion miles and has accumulated more than 296 million hours in air.Though as in March 2018, the 10,000th has been withdrawn as many orders were pending.
After attentively listening to this heavy introduction, we all were eagerly waiting for our first flight on this beautiful airplane.I wanted to feel the walk and work in “MY FLYING OFFICE” .
After reaching back home, with my evening tea and snacks with family i used to narrate / share all the important scripts of the day with them, without thinking 🤔 if really they are interested .😃 Boeing introduction was a 15 mins walk behind my Aunt in the kitchen while she was busy preparing the dinner , I made sure to follow her everywhere from the ,sink to the cooking stove to the dining table and back to the stove and I was satisfied to see that neither a single expression nor a head nodding was missed by her after my each and every pause😃. The same stories I use to tell to my mom and Dad over phone every night . In short these people ( my mom and aunt )were also under training with /by me😛.
TRAINEE (Familiarization/FAM) FLIGHT
We were suppose to have two TRAINEE Flight by A CHECK CABIN CREW, a senior cabin crew who ensures and we know every details of the service, emergency checks, announcements , passengers services, toilets , first aid box, catering , oven , galley, everything from boarding till deplaning. The another and the final certificate was given in “THE CHECK FLIGHT” by a check crew in which a test was conducted by her and if we pass we get the certificate to fly as a team member by signing our “ Training proficiency record(TPR)” . Further the TPR was signed by the Captain of the flight and henceforth “ Meter Down”!!
So with few girls of our batch familiarizing everyday , my call from the “CREW ROASTER DEPARTMENT” for confirming my first Delhi-Raipur-Delhi flight came after a week followed by call from “Transport Department” to confirm my address. I picked up the phone and confirmed my flight with full confidence and noted the departure time ,and check crew name twice, before I could say thankyou the other person disconnected ( i guessed may be she doesn’t know that it’s my first flight ).
We were very happy and within an hour most of our relative and neighbors had my flight details 😛.My mom and dad reached very well on time and so I was even more excited to show them my New Avatar with new “uniform, make up and wings and a trainee batch.
My mom kept them safely in her closet and shared pics with me when she read my post The “Wing ceremony”!!
Training flights can be an overwhelming and daunting experience,even when one is extremely prepared. It’s a new environment; with new people, in a new place. For me , this “test stress,” was most often unnecessary—as I was pretty much confident of my answers !! But still test is a test. During dinner I wanted to eat light as I wasn’t sure of my body’s reaction for this early morning flight.Until now, I have never ever got up so early and that too for work and the work which demands me to look fresh and be alert all the time.The departure time of my first flight was at 8am and my pick up time was 6:15am as crew has to report 45 mins prior to the departure time. Counting the numbers of morning chores I decided to put the wake up alarm of 5 am in my phone, 4:45 am in my mom s phone and to be on safer side 5:15am in dads phone,in case if one alarm fails the other and so on.
As I couldn’t eat dinner properly and tomorrow was a big day , for all of us,so mom and dad came to me with a glass of milk and gave me enough courage to hold myself “You know the information, and you deserve to pass. Always work hard, study, be congenial and teachable, but assertive and confident, and you will do just fine. Let go of your fears, worries, and concerns, and do what you came here for— to adventure the world as a flight attendant.” These words still echo in my ears whenever I feel low and they have kept me going always 😊.
My crew bag with all the mandatory things like Flight Attendant manual, First aid book, Announcement book, a pair of change and a toiletries bag was ready .I choose the red one over blue and neatly ironed uniform saree, all the makeup, my hair pins were properly organized beside the mirror, just the clock has to do its job right on time now.
I was mentally prepared, hugged my mom and tried settling my restless mind, and moving eyes tightly, I wanted them to sleep tight and get up fresh on time.
You have complete control over only one thing – your believe in yourself – So be positive be inspiring!
Did I got up on time ? Did my office cab reached the right address? How was my first day at work? A lot more to come !!
Seat belt signs are still on, stay strapped and keep reading “ My sky diaries “.