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Four months as Cabin Crew

On the ground in Santorini, Greece (ID censored to comply with airline policy).

Right back at the beginning of the year, I decided that five years in social housing management was plenty, and I embarked on a totally different career as cabin crew with a leading British airline.

After almost six weeks of training, I, along with 13 others, was sent off on my travels, flying to destinations around the world – close to home (short haul) and further afield too (long haul). Now at the end of my fourth month online, a fantastic time is still being had and new cities regularly appear on the roster. Every longer trip ends with a night or two ‘down route’, allowing us to take in the culture, sights, sounds and sometimes the smells of a city. The same is sometimes the case on the shorter flights too.

In my short flying career so far, and up to the end of July, I will have amassed an incredible 181,000 miles, flown 70 individual sectors to 19 airports in 17 different countries. Put bluntly, I’ve travelled quite far. In fact, my flights combined cover 75% of the distance to the moon. I have travelled as far west as San Diego (United States) and Vancouver (Canada), as far east as Bangkok (Thailand), as far north as Helsinki (Finland) and as far south as Johannesburg (South Africa).

After disembarking the ferry at Coronado Island, San Diego.

My only regret about this new journey in my life is that I didn’t embark on it sooner. There is nothing at all to dislike about the job. My working day is spent 10 miles above the earth in a metal tube, getting to know those on board and their reasons for travelling. Every passenger has a different reason for going somewhere and I’m always fascinated to hear their stories. Just as I am intrigued by why they’re with us, many are equally as curious about their crew, and they like to know all sorts – how long do you get to spend in particular city? Where have you just travelled to? Where will you visit next?

Getting up for work is never a chore and I always look forward to setting off for Heathrow, knowing I am seeing a favourite destination again or a city (or in fact, a country) for the first time! Some of the time, it’ll just be a flying visit, before heading home – an hour (or sometimes less) on the ground. But even so, how many people can say that their working day has taken them to the likes of of St Petersburg (Russia), Santorini (Greece) or Palma (Mallorca, Spain) and back again?

The impeccably clean Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman. The lady pictured was another crew member.

In this industry, the old cliché of “no two days are ever the same” really does apply. For a start, and unlike previous roles that I have had, you rarely work with the same co-workers from one day to the next, and it’s most unlikely that you will encounter the same passengers. Not only that but every day is a different destination, flying on a different aircraft and at a totally different time of the day – whether a 6.00am start for a there-and-back to Dusseldorf, an almost 9.00pm start for a three day trip to Doha, or anything in between. It’s a 24 hour operation and you can be flying at any time of the day or night.

There’s no denying that the job can be tiring but with generous rest times en-route, down route and again once back at home, tiredness has so far not been an issue for me – even after travelling across multiple time zones. The general rule of thumb is “if you need to sleep – sleep!” and it works for me. There’s absolutely no shame in choosing your bed over a night out when you arrive at your destination… and I often do! Now into my thirties and lacking the stamina of my younger colleagues, there’s only one thing I like to do when I reach the hotel – and it certainly isn’t to get changed before exploring the local nightlife.

Standing alongside ‘Three’ the elephant at Glen Afric in Johannesburg, South Africa. This was where the ITV drama, Wild at Heart, was filmed.

Some of the highlights of my career so far are being told I looked “a pro” by Florida-bound couple on only my second day of flying, visiting the Grand Mosque in Muscat (Oman) and experiencing near 50°C heat in Doha (Qatar). Memories are created every day, even in the most frequently visited cities. It wasn’t until my fourth trip to Johannesburg recently that I found myself stood alongside an enormous elephant at Glen Afric. Even after the experience, looking at the photographs, it all felt quite surreal, but what a fantastic once-in-a-lifetime moment.

You can follow my future adventures on Instagram.

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