Here at Fireblade Aviation we pride ourselves on our world-class staff who feel more like family, and we love shining a light on the unsung heroes, like our phenomenal flight attendants, who work hard behind the scenes to make our standard of aviation excellence possible.
While considered to be a highly glamorous career for decades, being a flight attendant is a demanding and vital part of aviation travel, and these highly trained individuals work incredibly hard both face-to-face and behind the scenes to look after the complex logistics of each and every flight. While circumnavigating the globe and being prepared for any eventuality, the job is characterised by rising early, staying late, and remaining alert throughout the flight to provide comfort and care to guests and pilots alike.
May 31st is International Flight Attendant Day and here at Fireblade Aviation we’re thrilled to celebrate the people who are such an integral part of our team, ensuring guests enjoy a safe and comfortable journey no matter where they’re going.
We spoke with Fireblade’s in-house flight attendant team members Anne-Mari McLeod (who flies on the Global 6500) and Nicky Foster (who flies on the Challenger 350) to learn more about this important career.
WHY DID YOU BECOME A FLIGHT ATTENDANT?
Anne-Mari: I was looking for a change and some adventure!
Nicky: At a very young age I developed a fascination for aircraft and flying. The first time I flew as a passenger was at the age of seven when my family emigrated to South Africa from the UK. From that day I was hooked! At the age of 16 I announced to my parents that my dream was to become a flight attendant and to travel the world. The rest is history.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF BECOMING A FLIGHT ATTENDANT LIKE?
Anne-Mari: I applied at SAA (South African Airways) back in 1992 and you had to go through vigorous screening. Once your initial application was accepted you would go on to a general interview, full medical examination and then six weeks of training.
Nicky: The initial training program to becoming a flight attendant and to receive a cabin crew member license is a six week course, which includes aircraft familiarisation, emergency procedures training, evacuation procedures (on land and in water), fire fighting procedures, dangerous goods training, aviation security, aviation medicine and crew resource management. These qualifications have to be renewed regularly to maintain the license.
Anne-Mari: After passing all relevant exams, you have a beautiful ceremony where you receive your “Wings”. This is very symbolic, once you’ve received your wings it means that you’ve become a successful candidate, you’ve passed all measures and are ready to start flying.
WHICH PART OF YOUR JOB IS YOUR FAVOURITE?
Anne- Marie: I absolutely enjoy every aspect of what I do. From the menu-planning, what stock is needed for upcoming flights, packing my bags, prepping the aircraft, welcoming passengers, to preparing food on-board and ensuring everybody’s comforts are anticipated. An added bonus would be to arrive at a new destination and having some spare time to quickly explore. There is never a dull moment.
Nicky: Being a corporate flight attendant is an unparalleled and incredible experience – from the people we are privileged enough to meet and look after, to the places we get to fly to – every flight is unique in its own way.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ANYONE LOOKING TO JOIN THE AVIATION HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY?
Anne-Marie: If you have a vision of where you would like to go I would say do it immediately! This is one of the most adventurous professions to join in the world. It’s fun, exciting, eye-opening and beats sitting at a desk, (said with all do respect). If you can live without a routine, being away from family and friends sometimes for lengthy periods of time, can work on public holidays (including Christmas), do not have difficulty sleeping for very short periods of time (sometimes with one eye open), don’t mind having a bite to eat whilst standing up, put the needs of everybody around you first, and can walk with a smile even when the wings of the aircraft have fallen off, then I would say this career is for you.
WHAT SETS FIREBLADE APART FROM OTHER AVIATION OFFERINGS?
Anne-Marie: Our facility is in a different league, I have never seen another one that compares. Not only do we offer a service of high standard, but because of our friendly nature and the fact that we “go the extra mile”, we draw people and potential clients in.
Nicky: Being offered the position of Flight Attendant at Fireblade was my ultimate dream come true – to be a part of this incredible “family”. The professionalism, kindness, and genuine passion of everyone at Fireblade is unlike any other, and the pride I feel being a part of this amazing team is indescribable.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL FLIGHT ATTENDANT DAY?
Anne-Marie: The pilots are a very important part of the aircraft operation, but I think it’s easy to forget that the entire cabin interior, including the bathrooms and even the cargo hold, is where a flight attendant plays an integrated part in the smooth runnings, upkeep, general good order and tidiness of the aircraft as a whole. We then also attend to passengers and crew, anticipating needs and comfort and ensuring overall safety.
Nicky: Many folks are of the opinion that flight attendants are onboard to attend to passengers comfort a service, which is an incredibly important part of our job, and we take extreme pride in offering exceptional & excellent service. However, Flight Attendants also play a vital role in ensuring the safety of passengers onboard, and celebrating International Flight Attendant Day recognises both of these roles.
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