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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stewardess School

Stewardess.  Air Hostess.  Flight Attendant.  Whatever you call it, it's my life.  18 years now.  I have the great opportunity to assist others along the path toward a professional career as a flight attendant about every five weeks or so.  I assist one day in each of our new FA classes.  It's called "Services Day," the one particular day where we learn how to set up carts, pour drinks, serve from a tray, sell food products from the Northern Bites cart, operate our point of sale devices.  We talk about which FA does what, which one stands where, who is responsible for what items, who picks up trash and recycling, how to mix drinks in First Class, how to avoid spilling, how to roll carts around safely and carefully in a skinny airplane aisle (a fully loaded beverage cart weighs 197 pounds), if we are permitted to serve First Class champagne in the main cabin or not, when we can offer a complimentary beverage and when we cannot, what to do with drunks, how to brew coffee on board, what kinds of wine we have, where the emergency water shut-off valve is in the galleys, how to ensure that all latches are locked for takeoff and landing, when and how to place a napkin on a tray table, when and how to make service announcements, how to properly offer and plate First Class meals, how to lift and move soda drawers (they are our single heaviest drawers and weight 19.5 pounds), what to do if they do spill on a customer, how many services are required on which flights, the extra things that are required to be done on flights to Hawaii and the East Coast, how to distribute our Inflight Entertainment Systems, which line on the cup to pour the wine up to, the differences between working with a 3-person versus a 4-person crew and and and and and and.  The learning never stops. 

It's a great day.  One of the most exciting and fun days of the entire five weeks of flight attendant training.  And yes, it is only one day.  That is far more services training than I had 18 years ago.  We like to say that we spend one day training for what we actually do 95% of our lives.  And 95% of the time training for what we may never have to do -- emergencies and such. 

I love the energy, the newness and freshness of those who have been through our very difficult selection process and have finally made it into training.  Some have big attitude and already "know it all," some have actually been FAs for other airlines in the past, but most are open to learning and ready for the challenge.  Tomorrow is that day again.  I will go up to Seattle this afternoon.  Then our team arrives at our Flight Operations building at 6:15am tomorrow, the carts (picture above) are delivered to us by our airport kitchen at 6:30am and class begins at 8am sharp.  We finish with the students at 5pm, clean up, return the carts for pickup, and then I am on the 7pm flight back to Portland.  It's an exhausting day.  But so much fun to be a part of ushering new Stewardesses into the next part of their lives in the Friendly Skies.  Be nice to your flight attendant next time you see one.  Take them a treat -- we love chocolates or other fun things and, oh, tell them I sent you.  


Mike said...

That sounds so cool! My best friend just went through his pilot training, and I'm jealous of his experience...

Ur-spo said...

I always remember to say thank you when I depart a plane ride. I appreciate any one in the service industry who works long hard work like FAs.
I even try to pay attention to the instructions to give them an audience :-)

cb said...

I prefer "Sky Waitress".


Anonymous said...

Hey mr! I'm back! Wow it's been too long! I ran into a blogger today from years ago. Hope your doing great! Sounds like you are! :)