Friday, May 24, 2013

Some Friendly Reminders When Traveling By Air

1.) Be sure to prepare all necessary documentation needed for your travel such as passport, visa, and plane ticket before going to the airport.

2.) READ your plane ticket/itinerary beforehand. It's better that you know the details of your flight.

3.) Arrive early at the airport. Rule of the thumb is to arrive 2 HOURS or earlier before your flight. This is to prevent any flight delays or offloading of passengers.

4.) If your ticket says that you are only allowed a certain Free Baggage Allowance (FBA) for your check-in baggage, FOLLOW IT in order to prevent any inconvenience of re-packing or paying excess baggage. Make sure to weigh your baggage beforehand.

5.) Prepare extra money if you THINK that you will have an excess baggage, and DO NOT get angry with your friendly Ground Attendants when you discover that you exceeded your free baggage allowance already. It's not their fault that you have an excess baggage.

6.) Not all destinations are 'per kilogram system', others are 'per piece system' (e.g. 2 pieces, 23 kilograms each). Remember to double check your ticket again.

7.) Pooling of baggage MAY BE ALLOWED if you are traveling as a family or as a group. But pooling your baggage with other passengers you don't know at all will not be tolerated. This is for security reasons.

8.) Carry-on baggage or hand-carry bags should not exceed 7 kilograms and it's size should fit under the seat or in the overhead compartment. However, some airlines give consideration up to 10 kilograms if you are bringing a laptop with you.

9.) Items that are NOT ALLOWED in your carry-on baggage are liquids, gels, and aerosols exceeding 100 ml; sharp metal and pointy objects such as Swiss knife, nail cutter, scissors, razors, mani/pedicure set, umbrella, etc. If you're in doubt, ASK.

10.) Please (PLEASE!) remove the jacket/cover of your passports (especially Philippine Passport) when you check-in. Your passports will be swiped and it's going to be hard for the check-in agent to swipe it if there's a cover or jacket wrapped to it. It will help a lot if you remove it beforehand.

11.) If you are a family or a group (of 10!!!), please have extra patience at the check-in counter. Imagine processing 10 passports and visas at the same time, it definitely requires more time! Unless it's okay for you to be checked-in one by one.

12.) When your friendly Ground Attendants ask you some necessary things or some security questions, make sure to ANSWER TRUTHFULLY. It's for your safety as well as the other hundred passengers boarding the same flight.

13.) In addition to reminder no. 12, BOMB JOKE is a serious crime and it is not a joke! It will not be tolerated.

14.) Your friendly Ground Attendants always make sure to greet you with a warm smile. As a courtesy, it won't harm to reply with a greeting and/or with a smile. It means a lot to them.

15.) If you want to be respected, RESPECT your friendly Ground Attendants. A cocky attitude is very disrespectful (Yeah, we know that you are a business class passenger or that you are a frequent flyer. You don't need to brag about it and to slap it on our faces. And just so you know, it doesn't really matter to us.)

16.) If there is a delay because of the bad weather or some mechanical problems, try to CALM DOWN. It's not the fault of your friendly Ground Attendants that the flight is delayed. Would you expect him/her to have some superpowers just to create a typhoon? Or that he/she destroyed the plane so that the flight will be delayed? Sometimes it won't harm to analyze the situation. Being outrageous will not solve the problem.

17.) ALWAYS LISTEN to announcements. You never know if it's a 'change of gate' announcement, or a 'delay' announcement. Trust me you're not just helping yourself, you're also helping other passengers who are inattentive and also your friendly Ground Attendants.

18.) Last reminder, it won't harm to follow your friendly Ground Attendants. They will help you if you let them help you. 

"Thank you for flying with us and we wish you a safe and pleasant flight to your destination." ;-)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Life Transitions as a Ground Steward

Wow I can't believe that it's been seven months now since I wrote my last blog. I guess I've been really busy with work that I didn't have time anymore to write stuff. Thank God for giving me this break (well it's not really a vacation because I'm on a sick leave for a week!). And since I'm stuck at home for my recovery, I decided to write about the changes in my life not being a student anymore.

I've been working as a Customer Service Agent (aka Ground Steward or Airport Staff) for nearly six months now at NAIA Terminal 2 under our flag carrier. And all I can say is that ever since I started stepping my foot on that world, my life has completely changed.

(photo courtesy of Ms. Angel Lantin)

Firstly, my schedule is insane. I usually wake up at 11:00 in the evening because I have to be at the airport before 2:30 am. Yeah, I'm on an early morning shift from 2:30 am to 11:00 am. It's no different with those who are working in call center companies. But what can I do, right? It's an industry where it is operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At first I was not used to it; I always felt restless and disoriented. My body clock was just against it! Also, I had to refresh my driving skill as there is no way for me to get to the airport from home but to drive early in the morning. Good thing I have my two buddies with me to help with my gas and parking ticket expenses (we're carpooling!).

I only have one day off which kinda sucks (I hope they'll do something about it) especially that my sleeping pattern is different from everybody else at home. Whenever I wake up, my family is asleep and whenever I get home, they are at work. Sometimes, we even don't see each other for some days in a row. Sad, right? Also I don't get the chance to attend Sunday masses anymore with my family because I'm at the airport, working my butt off. My current day off is every Wednesday that's why if I ever get the chance to visit church and pray every Wednesday morning (after my usual morning jog), I do so. I actually got the hang of it already, you know, my daily routine.

I honestly love my job. It's something that I envisioned doing as a kid--being in the airline industry. Although my goal really is to become an international cabin crew, I know that what I'm doing now as a ground steward will greatly contribute to my success in the future. In the present, I know that I've changed a lot. I became more confident in talking to different kinds of people. I also learned to handle different kinds of situations with the right approach. And most importantly, I realized that a warm smile and a positive attitude greatly affect the people I encounter everyday. It actually means a lot for them.

Every time I'm driving, I always ponder on things. Sometimes I even question myself--is this what I really should be doing? I feel that I've sacrificed many things because of my job--my time for family and friends; my hobbies such as writing, swimming, watching movies, and reading books; and my health as well. But despite that, I have to accept the fact that this is my life now. And that I have to be grateful for the blessings that I receive everyday. I may still not have my 'envisioned' life yet, but as the saying goes, just enjoy every moment of life. I know that someday my efforts, dedication, and willingness to learn will bear good fruits and bring me to greater heights.