Its 3.30 in the morning. Your alarm goes off and its time to get up for your
flight to Nairobi, which is due to depart at 7.00am. You attend to your
bathroom rituals, put on your uniform and make sure your appearance is
immaculate (Even at 4.00am in the morning!). Cabin Crew need to check in
up to 2 hours prior to flight departure, so you will need to report for
work (in the briefing room) at about 5.00am. You arrive at base, park in
the car park and head for the briefing room. Dawn is just about to
You sign in, check your notices and messages, and check your cabin manual to
refresh yourself with the emergency procedures and location of emergency
equipment for the aircraft you are operating on. You go into the
pre-flight briefing and the senior crew member talks you through the
flight details. This will normally include the order in which the
services will operate for the flight, your responsibilities for the day
and if there are any passengers with special needs flying e.g. you may
be given the responsibility to explain the emergency facilities to a
blind passenger on the particular aircraft you are operating on. You
should also be prepared to be asked questions regarding safety and
Now the crew are ready to proceed to the aircraft, and may do so either on
foot or by crew shuttle bus. You will need to complete the necessary
customs and immigration formalities before boarding. On entering the
aircraft you will move to your position and prepare to start work.
BEFORE THE PASSENGERS BOARD
It’s now time for you and your team to check your emergency equipment, that
you have enough meals, drinks and duty free for the passengers, stock
all the toilets with the necessary hand towels and tissues. Now the
passengers are on their way, this is your final chance to check that
your uniform is immaculate and presentable, all that’s left to do is
smile and greet the passengers on board (bearing in mind its 6.30am in
the morning). Remember you are the face of the airline so smiles are
essential throughout the whole flight.
In Preparation of Take Off All the passengers are now seated and the
aircraft pushes back and prepares to taxi to the runway. It is now time
to perform the safety demonstration so passengers can familiarise
themselves with all the aircraft's emergency facilities. This will
include pointing out the available emergency exits and lighting, the use
of oxygen masks, seat belts and life jacket. You will complete your
demonstration by checking through the cabin ensuring seatbelts are
fastened and loose articles are secure for take off. You will now take
your seat for take off.
DURING THE FLIGHT
Once the aircraft is airborne you will be released from your seat. You will
perform your duties as discussed in the pre-flight brief. The order of
services varies from one airline to another. Some services may be
charged for. This includes the sale of headsets for the in-flight
entertainment, drinks and duty free goods.
Typical services which may be offered are the following:
Headsets for the inflight entertainment system
Meal service - including special request meals for some passengers
Tea & Coffee
Cold towels offered to passengers to freshen up after their meal
Clearing & collecting the meal trays from the passenger
Sales of Duty free goods
Handing out Immigration cards/forms
Preparing the cabin for landing.
During this time you must also remember to check the toilets every 20 minutes
to make sure that they are clean and stocked up.
You might have to deal with a number of questions and queries, but most
importantly you need to maintain the safety and comfort for all of the
passengers. Some passengers may have more flights under their belt than
you do and therefore require careful handling.
LANDING AT NAIROBI
You now take your seat for landing. Once landed you say goodbye to the
passengers and then prepare the aircraft for its return journey. (This
is referred to as the turnaround). Duties to perform during the stop
include restocking the bars for the drinks service, restock and check
the catering, restock all the toilets, take out any rubbish from the
seat pockets and ensuring all passengers have reading literature i.e.
airline magazine, safety card, in-flight sales brochure and a sick bag.
Before your new passengers board you will have to complete a security
check to ensure no one has left any items on board as this is obviously
taken very seriously. Last but not least check your appearance before
the new passengers arrive. The passengers arrive so once again you have
to greet them and assist where needed. When they are all seated its time
to begin the same emergency briefing and cabin service all over again!
LANDING AT BASE AND END OF FLIGHT CHECKS
Once you have landed back at your base airport and the passengers have
disembarked, its time to go back to the crew centre to count the money
and to make sure that the amount of goods sold throughout the flight
balances with the amount of cash you have taken. Once this has been done
its time to check your file for any changes to your future flying
programme and then you are free to go home. Congratulations - you have
completed a thirteen-hour day and you will feel like you have walked to
Nairobi and back! GOODNIGHT!