How is it - to be a flight attendant
Below - the story of Mary, a flight attendant with experience of more than three thousand flights. Since the airlines operate fairly strict NDAs regarding these stories, she is not sure that she can write the post herself - without semi-annual approvals. And we just slightly changed the details so that she definitely had no problems. In the photo from Wikipedia, of course, not she.
You probably think that the flight attendant’s job is to smile and deliver food. From the outside it looks like it. In fact, we still need to be able to provide first aid, accompany children, be sure to work as psychologists and reassure passengers, we solve all the issues of loading additional equipment. Pilots are aircraft, their task - delivery. And we make it so that the journey goes as organized and well as possible.
How does the working day begin? Well, it's usually a short round trip flight. Therefore, I wake up in the morning, at 3-4 o'clock. Departures are usually early, but I have to be at the airport 2 hours before departure, it is iron. Plus it is better to already be there beautiful, that is, with makeup and hair. Under no circumstances should you be late. To call and say that I’ll stay a little late is not an option: discipline is like that of the military. Three late for at least a minute in his entire career - dismissal. If you are ill - you need to warn not after the fact, but at least 4 hours before departure. If emergency circumstances fail to call, no matter what happens, either you go to work, or you take a sick leave, or this is one of the three late arrivals.
I come to the airport, there you have to go through a doctor. He usually speaks a little (asks for the date of flight, measures his pulse, looks into his eyes, at the color of his skin, and so on) - in general, he is convinced that everything is fine with me. If I look at least a little wrong (tired, for example, or did not get enough sleep), he conducts a more complex examination on all diagnostic devices, sometimes he goes to rapid blood tests. The doctor may remove from the flight, and this happens more often than usual.
There are girls who clean up themselves at the airport: they arrive in 2 hours and 15 minutes, they quickly pass an inspection and at least half an hour they take care of themselves. In general, yes, the flight attendant should always look perfectly fine, this is part of the requirements. In the sense that well-groomed and neat. I do not like to prepare at the airport, so I do everything in advance at home or in a hotel.
An hour before departure we must be on the plane. There are exceptions, but usually our ship is already at the airport. The minimum length of time on earth at our airports is about 40 minutes (in other countries, foreign airlines may have 15 minutes for small aircraft). Therefore, 40 minutes before departure, we begin to check the emergency systems. Check emergency exits, for example.
Then the landing begins. We meet, we consider people, we help to be placed. When the flight attendant stands at the entrance with his hands behind his back, there is a counter, it is necessary to press it. Then the number of clicks on the scoreboard is compared with the number of tickets. I have no cases of discrepancies, but we know that they happen. One day a grandmother came to her friend who was flying another flight. Grandma said: “I just came out of the airport to land, and then there was a line on the bus. And in general he is full, the people on the glass are flattening their faces, honey. And there is another bus behind him, almost free. Well, I went there and sat down. ” That is, both flights should not take off: on one vessel the passenger is superfluous, on the other - not all were taken on board. This story helps me a lot to explain to passengers why we check coupons at the entrance to the plane. There are situations when people come on the wrong plane and fly the wrong way. And they are far from single, because there are a huge number of flights in the world. In aviation it is better to make sure once again, and this is the rule.
As the passengers entered, a number of procedures are carried out. We need to offer the press, children's kits for children. At the landing, there are often requests from passengers: bring water to someone. Next, we show emergency equipment - this is a passenger briefing.
Then we prepare the ship for takeoff. We control the fastening, chairs, curtains, tables - but you already know everything. We check that the children are fastened too.
Then you have to get on the station. The station is the place where the flight attendant sits. They are different, in small aircraft, even near the pilot, right in the cockpit. But in ordinary passenger liners this is a place in the cabin or in the kitchen. Made so that you can see the passengers (that is, where possible, facing the cabin). There is no rigid anatomical back, as in ordinary chairs, so five-point belts are used. The station itself takes up less space than a regular chair, it folds up, there are no armrests, there is less support. Therefore, we must be very well fastened. The stations have internal intercoms so that we can talk among ourselves or with the pilots.
Then the flight itself begins. The most difficult thing about him is working with people in non-standard conditions. Closed space, low blood pressure, oxygen starvation - all this affects a person. We have a theory with explanations why this is happening, but the most important thing is that a person begins to behave differently than in ordinary life. More nervous, otherwise he makes decisions, reacts differently to different situations. Some passengers become more irritable and aggressive.
The work of a flight attendant is not only bring a tray, feed, pick up trash. Often you need to sit and smile. It happens that we sit and hold the passenger by the hand almost until takeoff: tactile contact is very important for many. If a person is just afraid of flying in panic, but it’s necessary to fly, it’s hardest with him. Everything is sitting in my head. You can say ten times that it is safe to fly - if he decided that he was afraid, then he will be afraid. There was a case when a girl grabbed her hand: “I’m afraid to fly, do something.” I took her to the kitchen, poured her tea, tried to talk about abstract topics. She told about the work, why flies and where. She had enough of the fact that I am sure that I said: "Do not worry, nothing will happen." Of course, she continued to be afraid, but already less. Someone needs to talk a little longer. Sometimes we offer light sedatives from the on-board first-aid kit: grandmothers often ask for valerian, drip. Then other grandmothers smell this and also ask. Also dripping. By the way, there are no potent drugs in the modern on-board first-aid kit, there are no sleeping pills either. But often asked.
Even during the flight it is necessary to accompany the children. Children from 5 to 12 years old can fly unaccompanied. Usually, parents are brought to the airport, a ground service officer meets there, escorts to the plane, where we meet. After landing, we transfer it to an employee of the ground services, at the airport he transfers to the person meeting, for example, the grandfather. In flight, children need help, escort to the toilet, if necessary.
In emergency situations, we work as lifeguards, for this we also undergo training, including psychological ones. If something happens, we internally, of course, will be frightened, but you will not notice it. And we still keep the ability to think soberly. Probably. We coordinate actions with the flight crew, with the pilots.
In any incomprehensible situation, people look at the flight attendants and do everything they say. When it starts to shake badly, they look at us in a very special way: either they are waiting for instructions, or just want to make sure that we don’t run around the cabin. They see that we are calm - they calm down too. As soon as the “button up” board is turned on, you can not pronounce it, everyone is fastened. But we are talking. Therefore, I am sure that if something happens, most people will react correctly.
I had one passenger who drank and started to make a row. They called the police on the ground, they took him away.
For all my practice, there have been no emergencies for many years in a row. Only teachings.
We are prepared in all possible situations. Every year it is necessary to refresh knowledge, to undergo retraining. Then an analysis of incidents for the year (if they happened). Be sure to pass the exam in medicine. Our medicine is first aid. That is, we can help with bleeding from the nose, we can take delivery on board, we can, as a last resort, intubate the trachea (at the very last), but do not do any operations, of course. We work according to the Russian standards of catastrophe medicine - for example, a couple of years ago we updated the protocol on indirect heart massage: we no longer deliver a precordial blow, but still do artificial respiration (there is no longer any course for civilians and we just need to support the patient with a massage - it is believed that it is better to give one simple technique that everyone will do than to learn difficult,
If, due to a medical incident, the aircraft commander (FAC) decides that we need a forced landing, then someone constantly monitors the person (or gives him a heart massage before the ground crew arrives), someone else contacts the ground and receives instructions . At the airport there is always a medical service of the terminal and an ambulance team, which is on duty now and belongs to this airport.
I had a case on a flight to New York. An elderly passenger over 80 years old was flying. Already on landing, he became ill, lost consciousness. On board was a doctor, flew to the conference, and two American police. They have police officers who also undergo an obligatory course of first aid, and they, too, are constantly refreshed with knowledge. If they do not help in this situation, they are judged.
The doctor almost immediately noticed everything himself and began to help. Before the arrival of the doctors, the passenger was supervised, then he was taken to the terminal. What ended, I do not know, but the doctor confidently said that everything will be fine.
During the flight I had several occasions when a person lost consciousness. We have oxygen tanks on board, and in most cases they save us. The root cause of fainting is usually a lack of oxygen and low blood pressure, which cause different reactions in different people.
Then landing. Once again we are convinced that everything is ready for landing (tables, curtains, belts), then we prepare the kitchen: we fix the equipment, turn off the power. If hot drinks were on the flight and remained, they must be poured.
We help with landing.
Further, if it is a short flight up to 5 hours, it may even be a turnaround, that is, we stay on board. Arrived, stood an hour, returned. If longer than 5 hours, then they give rest 24 hours, extremely rarely - 12 hours. There are “overnight” flights: in the evening you can fly there, spend the night there, in the morning return to Moscow. Because it is better to fly in the morning than at night after the turn, - more tickets.
Immediately after disembarking all the passengers, we check the cabin so that nothing is forgotten, we go through formalities, we rent out the equipment for the flight. If something is left, we transfer it to the representative of the airline, he is looking for the owner - for example, he advertises at the airport. In the plane, almost nothing is stolen: every inch under the cameras and the offender is very easy to find. I have no cases.
After the arrival, we have about an hour at work. I usually leave the control room in an hour and a half.
If we go to the ground, then we have our own buses, which carry the crew. It has its own control room, its own passport control, its own border service. We do not intersect with passengers. In hotels we have minimal sets - gels, soaps, shampoo, toothbrushes. In turning flights, I do not take anything with me, just a cosmetic bag. In long - a suitcase with civilian clothes and everything you need.
Then they can do disinfection. Disinfection is done by special services - disinsection, disinfection. In the summer every 2 weeks, in the winter once a month. But if suddenly we noticed during a flight or on the ground that a fly flies through the cabin, then we make an entry in the journal. Then the health officials investigate. Most often carry out additional processing.
There is also a treatment before flying to certain countries and a treatment before departure from these countries.
Ground services are involved in wheelchairs and luggage. If the wounded or hospital patients are carried on a stretcher on a stretcher, then there is a special procedure with them.
On holiday, I still fly. But not in new places, but in those where there was a day and I liked it, where I wanted to spend more time. There are plans to visit countries where we don’t fly, but they are usually far away, and you don’t always want to take another flight for this.
Why became a flight attendant? My parents flew. Romantically, beautifully, mother took with her on business trips. Then they were different. Now the frequency of flights has increased. It used to be calmer: long departures were 2-3 times a week, the crew stayed for a couple of days. I flew with my mother and thought: “How great, but you also get paid for it, fed and settled!”