Here is a good insight into a day in the life Cabin Crew working a typical charter flight from Gatwick to Tenerife and back again.
03:30 Good Morning
Your alarm is going off and its time to get up for your rostered flight to Tenerife, which is due to depart at 07:00 hours. You apply your make up, put on your uniform and make sure your appearance is immaculate (Even at 04:00 in the morning!). Cabin Crew need to check in at least 1hour and 30 minutes prior to the aircraft departing, so you will need to report for work (in the briefing room) at 05:30. You arrive at Gatwick, park in the car park and catch the shuttle bus to the briefing room.
05:15 - 15 minutes to go before your pre-flight brief
Arriving 15 minutes earlier has given you time to check your cabin manual to refresh yourself with the emergency procedures and location of emergency equipment for the aircraft you are operating on for this flight.
05:30 - The pre-flight brief
You go into the pre-flight briefing which today is being held on the aircraft and the senior crew talks 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 i.e. 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 emergency procedures for that particular aircraft.
06:00 - Check aircraft
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.
06:30 - Board the passengers
Now the passengers are on the 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 as they board and help them to find their seats if needed. Remember you are the face of the airline so plenty of welcoming smiles are essential.
06:50 - Preparation to 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.
07:10 - Services 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 and now its time to start work. The order of services varies from one airline to another, however this example is based on a typical charter flight as mentioned earlier. Services offered on most charter airlines are charged for. This includes the sale of headsets for the in-flight entertainment, drinks and duty free goods. The meal is pre-ordered and paid for when the passenger booked.
Typical services that can be offered are:
- Headsets for the in-house entertainment
- Drinks service
- Meal service
- Tea & Coffee
- Cold Towels offered to passengers to freshen up, after their meal
- Clearing and collecting the meal trays from passengers
- Selling Duty free items
- Immigration cards
- Preparing the cabin for landing
During this time you will also be checking the toilets to make sure that they are clean and stocked up. Deal with any questions or queries any of the passengers may have and most importantly maintain the safety and comfort of all of the passengers.
11:00 - Landing in Tenerife
You now take your seats for landing.
Once landed you say goodbye to the passengers and then prepare the aircraft for its return journey back home to Gatwick. (This is referred to the turnaround). Duties to include are 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 suspecting packages 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!
16:00 - Landing at Gatwick
Once you have landed back at your base airport and the passengers have disembarked, its time to go back to the brief room to count the money and to make sure that the amount of duty free 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.