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Sunday, 25 March 2007

Life as a Young and New Flight Steward.

It was a long time ago when I became a flight steward. I was in my early twenties then and to be a cabin crew with such a well known airline like MSA ( Malaysia Singapore Airlines), the predeccesor of SIA , was a big deal.
With an equivilent of an O level education ( Senior Cambridge Exam),one could be a police inspector, a school teacher, an army officer,a civil servant, a nurse or even a pilot. But I chose to be a flight steward.
To be an air steward or stewardess was better,at least in my opinion, than the others. The take home salary was double that of a teacher or a police inspector.
Of course being a pilot was even better but one has to be a science student.
When I first arrived at the cabin crew training department ( it was a little office at Paya Lebar Airport), I was astonished to see more than a dozen sporty cars parked along the road, next to the three storey MSA catering building.
The cabin crew office with a few staff was housed in that building.
Those flashy cars like BMW,Mercedes Benz,Jaguars, Alfa Romeo etc. etc., I found out later on,belonged to the cabin crew. The Japanese cars were not as popular or classy and they were much cheaper than the European made brands.
The cabin crew with a salary range of between $500 and $800 could live quite
comfortably. If I am not mistaken,the salary of a Singapore minister was about $7,000 to $10,000 and so was the monthly salary of a MSA captain.
The cost of living was pretty low.The 2 bedroomed corner terrace house in which I lived in cost around $15,000. It had a land area of 2,000 sq ft.
A bowl of dry "mee pok" cost 50 cts. and the average cost of a bus ride from Paya Lebar Airport to the city was about 30 cents.
Besides, not many people get to see the world for free but being an air crew,you could.
The passengers were mainly people of some means who could afford to travel. Most passengers were well dressed and we did not have people who travelled in shorts,slippers and dirty clothes like we have today.
There were no cheap tours,no budget travellers nor backpackers on the flights.
Most passengers were civil and courteous and they respected the air crew. These days, one would pay for a cheap ticket of a few dollars and abused the poor crew.
Today,being a cabin crew is not easy.You have all kinds and types of aircrafts to work in. You have a thousand of "do's and don'ts" rules to follow. The night stops are shorter and you have to know how to operate all those electronic gadgets on board.

3 comments:

pete said...

interesting post.

i wonder if you knew a cabin crew named Raymond (loke Wing Choy) who i knew many years ago on singapore airlines. i would like to get iin touch again

thank you

ultima1682003@yahoo.co.uk

boh tong said...

Pete,sorry I dun know Raymond leh...do u want me to advertise for u in my blog?

Liam Crawford said...

Hello, I would alos be very interested to lnow if anyone knows or has heard from Raymond (loke Wing Choy)of SIA. I knew himwhen I lived in Hong Kong and would be great to hear from him again. My name Liam and my email address is liford@talktalk.net
Thank you