Monday, May 23, 2011

My Flight Attendant Workshop Experience in PAL

It started with a dream...

"Mabuhay at magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat. Ito po ay PR102 patungong Los Angeles."

(Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to Philippine Airlines. This is your flight PR102 bound for Los Angeles.)

Oh how I love to say this phrase every now and then. Sometimes I even imagine myself on a real airplane, wearing a Flight Steward (male F.A.) uniform, delivering in-flight announcements to the passengers in an international flight. It's a dream that I wanted to achieve, a dream that I will definitely make happen. And thus I'm now making my baby steps.

(With Philippine Airlines, Shining Through! LOL!)

Last May 9-13, 2011, I enrolled myself in Philippine Airlines Learning Center's "The Making of a Flight Attendant Workshop." It's a workshop that will definitely equip you with the 101's of becoming a Flight Attendant/Steward. It was an exciting moment for me because it's all I ever wanted! We were all wearing corporate attire during those days and it felt like I was a real professional (and I liked it!). The Philippine Airlines family was also nice and approachable. Their smiles whenever we greet each other were genuine and pleasing. Our instructors (which includes an HR and real Cabin Crews) were really fun, yet informative at the same time. We were taught series of trainings and lectures as well.

(At Philippine Airlines Learning Center)

On the first day, we had our Personality Development where we learned the variations of sitting and standing, walking confidently, and hand gestures for the ladies. It was also discussed to us how to look professional--from our looks to our stance. On the same day the instructor gave us a lecture about Customer Service. As service providers, we should not just satisfy the customers/passenger, instead we should be able to delight them by "going the extra mile." I never thought that it would be very hard to handle customers/passengers because as front-liners, we should always be sympathetic to them. We also have to be in their shoes.

The next day, we learned the History of Aviation which is kinda boring because we're like back in high school, learning history. But as our instructor said, those are "good-to-know" stuff, because as a Flight Attendant/Steward, expect that some passengers would want to talk anything under the sun. Intro to Cabin Crew Profession was also discussed to us where qualifications were laid upon us. We were told that airlines are very strict in hiring crews, but once they get in, they can loosen up a little already. My instructor, who's an International Flight Steward told us that it's not true that one should have super perfect skin. As long as it is clear, it will be alright. When it comes to the teeth, with or without crown, as long as the smile looks good, it's accepted. The height requirement was decreased up to 5'2 1/2" for female and 5'6" for male, but another instructor said that some hire 5'5" males. Weight should be proportional to height. 20/20 vision (but if you are not, you are advised to MEMORIZE THE SNELLEN CHART), and of course one should be in a healthy condition. Qualifications are very strict because it's for aesthetic(?) and safety purposes of the crew since they will work in an altitude of up to 37,000 ft. After that, we had our Power Resume Writing that will give an edge in applying for the job.

I tell you, In-flight/Boarding Announcement was one of my favorite topic because I get to verbalize the announcements made during a flight. It was fun because speaking is actually my forte, and I was able to express it like a real pro! I was actually regarded as "authoritative and pleasing to hear" by my instructor, which is good. =D We also had our Aircraft Familiarization, too bad we weren't exposed to real airplanes due to its unavailability. The instructor was fun (She was kinda like Alex Gonzaga), and she taught us the different parts of a jet type plane (usually an Airbus A320). The other type was the propeller (MA60).

We also had practical trainings such as the First Aid & Basic Life support where we learned about the Artificial Respiration (AR) & Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and when to use those. It was fun doing it to Susy (the creepy-looking dummy). LOL! In the afternoon, the Safety part of being an aerial service provider was taught to us. We had our Emergency Drills and Evacuation Procedures. And let me tell you, IT WAS F***** FUN!!! During an emergency situation on-board, an FA/S should be alert and courage enough in handling the situation. His/her voice should be loud enough in shouting the instructions to the passengers. There is only a 90-second alloted time for evacuating the aircraft including the crews. So cabin crews should be really quick and alert. The training was fun because we were able to practice the emergency evacuation. The fun part was sliding in a very large, inflatable slide (which they say can cost up to a million peso!), wearing this baggy jumpsuit. LOL!

(During my AR/CPR with Susy. Wrong hand position, I know!)

(During our Safety Demo)

(During our Emergency Evacuation Procedure.
Video c/o Anne Malapitan)

During our last day, we were trained of how to serve meals in our ECY In-flight Food Service. The golden rule in serving meals is "Always Cabin to Galley." It was fun because we did it in a mock cabin where our classmates pretended as the passengers. But before that, I discovered something. The duty of a Flight Steward is different than the Flight Attendant. Usually Flight Stewards are the ones near the galley (CA2 in an Airbus A320). They prepare the cart and they serve as the runner when coffee, tea, or water containers are emptied. Going on, serving meal is not an easy job because FA/S should always be pleasant-looking, poised, and can handle the demands of the passengers. Remember, they should not only be satisfied, they should be delighted. =D And lastly, we had our Mock Interview. IT WAS NERVE-WRACKING because it felt like a real interview by PAL's HR. (Whew! I can do this!) I tried to be spontaneous because it will make me real, who I really was. I don't want a scripted-looking kind of interview. During the interview I think I became to fast in speaking, my facial expressions were all over the place, and I stutter a little, but when I expressed myself of how eager and enthusiastic I was of the job, I became more comfortable and I was glad of the things I said. The interviewer told me of certain things I should avoid--speaking fast, many facial expressions, "modesty aside," but he told me that he can see my leadership quality in me and it made me really happy. I asked him what should I develop physically and he told me to gain more weight and improve my teeth because I look like a KID!!! Can you believe that?! He told me that I still have a lot of time since I'm still young. And that would be my mission for the next months--improve my looks. =D

(During our in-flight service)

It was a fun experience because I know for a fact that I gained not just the knowledge but also more confidence. I also made new friends! (And I kinda miss them now). Oh well, I hope that this blog can help and inspire people who, like me, dream of becoming a Flight Attendant someday. Always remember that "Destiny is not definite, not fixed. We are the ones who define it, who create it." (This is what I actually said during my mock interview. LOL!) Don't give up on your dreams no matter what because you are worthy of that dream, that goal. Hope to fly with you guys!

(Fly High! PLC "The Making of a Flight Attendant Workshop"
Batch May 9-13, 2011. I miss you guys!)

*Some images were from Loiv Cano and Zaidel Kerdi. Thanks Guys!