Friday, 11 March 2011
It ain't easy to be a cabin crew but applicants abound
The salary after all is not fantastic. Most of the income are derived from things like meal allowances, inflight incentive allowance, transport allowance,uniform allowance, bonuses etc. If one is on leave, be it annual leave or medical leave,one would not be paid those allowances. So cc will be paid only basic salary under those circumstances i.e. ranging for a little over $1,000 to $4,000 for the most senior crew.
The work is hard and the hours can be very long. Take the non-stop flight from S'pore to New York by the A345. All in all the total number of duty time from reporting for work until you touch down at New York would be about 22 hours. Imagine cc has to be subjected to different time zones and breathe in oxygen that are thinner than on earth.
Discipline is also very strict. One has to be punctual, neat in overall grooming, respectful of the seniors etc etc. Medical leave (MC) especially "casual" ones are frowned upon. If one was to report sick for a tedious and unpopular turnaround flight then the same crew would be rostered again for such flight. Taking too many MCs would jeopardised one's chances of getting promoted. Then you have to be careful not to invite complaints from the passengers, the general public as well as the seniors or your juniors.
Medically, a cabin crew in general would not be as healthy as an office worker. Why? It's because of the lack of sleep, frequently suffering from jet lag (no such thing as getting used to it), having meals at irregular hours, fatigue,exposure to cosmic radiation etc. In the long term,life span would be shortened due to sicknesses like cancer, heart problems,diabetes, severe backaches etc. The longest a cabin crew has ever lived was 69 years old (I did not include those who flew for a short while and then worked in the office eg. managers and cabin crew executives). (The average life span of a Singaporean is 81.6 years but cabin crew is 58 years). He just passed away 2 weeks ago. Most died around 50 plus and they had flown for an average of 30 years (IFS & Chief and mostly male). The stewardesses cannot be included in this group as they would average about 8 to 10 years of flying. Most of the IFS and Chief died of cancer and heart problem. Examples of those who died within the last 5 years were IFS Justin Choo, IFS Rex Pek, IFS David Chan, IFS Kenneth Chan, IFS Derrick Isaac, IFS Philip Voon, IFSs Shirely Wong, IFS Paul Foo, IFS Foo Kwee Pin, IFS WC Soh, IFS Malcom, CS Lester Sim, CS Barry Loo and many more.