Due to many enquiries from some of our SIA Steward/Stewardess wannabes, I have decided to post the following:
Singapore Airlines has always been the airline to fly with. The Singapore Girl is the epitome of beauty, elegance, and premier service. What does it take to become a Singapore Girl? Find out more about the hard work that goes into making every flight a great way to fly.
Singapore Airlines …a global brand and arguably the best airline in the world. Synonymous with Singapore Airlines is the Singapore Girl. Mention those two words and immediately a picture of a slim, sweet, smiling Asian girl in a sarong kebaya comes to mind. Her internationally recognised uniform, designed by French couturier Pierre Balmain, is associated with unparalleled service standards – service with a smile, whatever you ask for you will get, no questions asked.
The Singapore Girl has always been perceived as a glamour job reserved for the elite - beautiful women, impeccably groomed, jet-setting the world. But has that changed? With the rapid take-off in the air travel industry and increased competition by other major airlines, is the Singapore Girl still the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, the job that all women are eyeing?
60 years ago, Singapore Airlines started with 3 ﬂights a week but today, their route network reaches 62 destinations in 35 countries with on 6 continents. The company employs around 7,000 cabin crew to man their ﬂeet of 107 aircrafts. With this great demand, the airline has had to employ cabin crew from around the region – so the Singapore Girl is not always Singaporean. In fact, the majority of the stewardesses hail from Malaysia, with others coming from Taiwan, Indonesia, China, Japan, Korea and India. This is also advantageous to the airline since stewardesses will be able to communicate with Asian passengers in their native language.
Obvious beneﬁts of ﬂying for Singapore Airlines are the opportunity to travel, experience different cultures and meet people from all over the world; not to mention the prestige associated with being a Singapore Girl. Cabin crews enjoy free entry into many popular night spots. Other advantages include a monthly salary of about S$3,500, which is signiﬁcantly higher than the starting pay of fresh university graduates. In addition, there is also an annual wage supplement of one month’s basic salary, a proﬁt-sharing bonus and a medical co-payment scheme. Each staff member is also entitled to a free ticket to any Singapore Airlines destination once a year, with discounted travel at other times. Spouses of married staff will also be entitled to a free annual ticket. With at least 21 days of paid annual leave (senior and supervisory staff get more) all these perks contribute to make ﬂying with Singapore Airlines a very attractive career prospect.
Being a Singapore Girl is a lot more than just smiling and looking pretty though. The hours are long and ﬂying all over the world through different time zones can be very exhausting. A typical month usually consists of 1 long ﬂight, a few 3-day ﬂights and some turnarounds (i.e. ﬂying to a destination and back within a day). Long ﬂights are to destinations in Europe, the United States or the Middle East. Mid-range ﬂights are regional – Australia, Japan, China or Taiwan. Turnaround destinations include Indonesia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and Malaysia. Long ﬂights will mean 4 to 9 days away from Singapore, including a few days to rest. Cabin crew are then entitled to 2 to 3 days off after they return from long ﬂights before having to ﬂy again, which works out to about 15 off days a month.
A typical ﬂight would require cabin crew to report for a brieﬁng 2 hours before take-off. They will then have to prepare the aircraft for passengers to board. Upon takeoff, the focus is on taking care of passengers’ needs, from meals to duty-free shopping to keeping toilets clean and handling any request, however unusual it may be. One stewardess was even asked to separate a passenger’s mixed nuts, just because he did not eat brazil nuts!! Needless to say, it was done … with a smile of course. Attending so diligently to the passengers is hard work but there are rest areas for crew onboard the aircraft to take a break or even a quick nap.
Singapore Airlines pride themselves on offering service of the highest order. With passengers also getting more and more demanding, what qualities does the Singapore Girl have to possess in order to be successful? “Patience” was the answer given by one ﬂight steward, who has been ﬂying with Singapore Airlines for the past 10 years. To him, the most rewarding part of his job is the satisﬁed smiles on passengers’ faces as they disembark from the aircraft. On the ﬂipside, the hardest part of ﬂying is the physical toll on the body as a result of irregular working hours, changes in time zones and jet-lag.
So do you have what it takes to become a Singapore Girl? Application requirements for Singapore and Malaysian applicants are 5 O-level credit of which one must be in English. Applicants from other Asian countries need an equivalent of a Degree. In addition, females need to have a minimum height of 1.58 meters and males 1.65 meters. Preference is given to candidates who are able to speak foreign languages or with experience in customer service.
Some candidates are also required to wear a sarong kebaya to see if they ‘look’ like Singapore Girls. Once candidates make it pass the rigorous rounds of interviews, they go through about 4 months of training which includes basic service and safety, English diction, social etiquette and makeup. There are several tests interspersed throughout the training but the critical ones that have to be passed are ﬁrst aid, safety and evacuation procedures. The emphasis that Singapore Airlines places on safety is very clear as these tests have to be passed annually in order for cabin crew to keep ﬂying. Before graduation from training, candidates take part in ‘wet-runs’ undergoing on-the-job training on actual ﬂights. Upon graduation, they have to sign a 2 year compulsory service bond, with a 6 month probation period. They are also offered renewable 5 year contracts which pay out a generous lump-sum on completion.
The Singapore Girl has always occupied the limelight, but what about the Singapore Boy? Does he exist? Theanswer is, Yes! 30% of cabin crew are male stewards and there is no gender distinction. They enjoy the same beneﬁts and perks that the Singapore Girl does and have to go through the same stringent selection process and training.
Upon securing a permanent position with the airline, what do advancement prospects and career progression look like for cabin crew? There are 4 ranks, indicated by the colour of the uniform. An entry-level stewardess wears the blue sarong kebaya. One level up is the Leading Stewardess who wears Green. A Chief Stewardess is clothed in a red kebaya, while the In-ﬂight Stewardess wears Purple. The stewards’ ranks are distinguished by their neckties.Their jackets are navy blue in color. In order to maintain the high level of service which Singapore Airlines is well-known for, service rules and regulations are very strict. Cabin crews are continually assessed throughout the year, via evaluations which are conducted on-ﬂight by different supervisors. A performance report will be given to them after the ﬂight and the crews are not told in advance which ﬂights they will be evaluated on.
In summary, if you want to be in the service industry, enjoy traveling and meeting people, are not prone to air-sickness, have a adaptable body clock and just happen to have a permanent, megawatt smile, it looks like a career ﬂying the skies is for you. Almost 60 years of innovation and service have pushed Singapore Airlines to the forefront of the industry, so it looks like the Singapore Girl (or rather, Singapore Person) is still a great way to ﬂy.
SIA cabin crew interviews are usually held as "Walk in" (held in Hotels or "Write in" types ( at SIA Training Center or commonly known as STC).
Sequence of an interview.
1) Self-introduction to a panel of cabin crew
executives (2), in groups of 10 candidates each.
2) Skin check for girls and skin checks for guys.
3) 2 groups of candidates of around 4 to 6 in each group. They may be asked to debate/discuss a topic as well introduce their fellow candidates to the panel of interviewers.
4) Two interviewers to one candidate This round may involve reading of a passage, ask random questions etc.
5) Kebaya rounds and skin checks again for girls. Boys are also given a thorough skin check.
After you've passed all the above you will be sent for a medical check up.
After getting a clean bill of health,you will then be sent for training at STC.
Luke's talks/seminar for cabin crew wannabes click here