It's been five or six months now since I underwent my on-the-job training at the airport (NAIA Terminal 1), under the company of Gulf Air, which is the flag carrier of Bahrain. And I can really say that it is one of the best things that ever happened in my life during college.
Throughout my first three years in college, I eagerly wanted to have my practicum/ojt at the airport because I've always been so enthusiastic about air travel. The image of airplanes flying is such a beautiful thing for me. Since I was young, I always fancied being a cabin crew myself and knowing that I'd be seeing a lot of them in the airport, it made me excited even more.
When I started my training in Gulf Air, I was always high-spirited and excited. I met other co-trainees and eventually became close to them (I suddenly miss them!). Most of the agents were also nice and friendly. What I like about being a student trainee there is that we were always well-groomed and uniformed. We even had a name plate just like the agents and cabin crews which of course added to a more professional look. Guidelines for student trainees were pretty much strict because upon stepping in the airport, we are already considered as someone who represents the airline and not as mere students anymore.
(A Filipina Gulf Air Cabin Crew. Noticed our matching name plates? Hehe!)
Training was intense and tiring, yet really enjoyable. We were able to experience the different positions during operation from arrival to departure, even as an admin. But one thing's constant when it comes to performing our duties: CUSTOMER SERVICE.
I did not expect customer service to be that challenging. I always thought that all you need to do is to smile, greet, and assist passengers. WRONG! In order to be of service, one must be observant, empathetic, a listener, a problem-solver, and should exude confidence, poise and grace no matter what the situation is. That's what I learned from college, but discovered during my training in Gulf Air when I experienced it myself.
I like mingling with the passengers, I learn from them. I'm a people-pleaser and it was definitely a challenge for me whenever I have to say "no" to them. I did have a dispute with some passengers because they don't want to follow procedure set by the airline company. I always tell them, "I'm sorry (sir/ma'am) but you are not our only passenger, and to be fair with the others, you must follow the rules. It is for your good." The golden rule in customer service is always to listen, empathize, apologize, and to offer solution.
Until I was appointed as an officer-in-charge for ojt (together with a female counterpart). It was really humbling that they believed in me as a leader. It was such a big responsibility because my partner and I were in charge of handling our co-trainees. I even regarded myself as the "grooming coordinator" because I was really particular when it comes to the appropriate and professional way of grooming. We were also given the privilege to roam around during operation to check on the performances of our co-trainees. In the end of my term, I got the chance to train my appointed next officer-in-charge (which I want to do in the future--to be a trainer/coach,/mentor of future cabin crews particularly).
I can say that I did gain a lot of experience as well as the confidence to handle people during my training in Gulf Air. It has honed me to become a better professional and a more effective leader. Now that I'm on my own, catching my dream (yes, I'm still a bum but working on it! Hehe!), I'll make sure to apply all the things I learned from Gulf Air in my future endeavor. 'Til we meet again, Falcon!
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