Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome onboard. I am Alastinelle and I will be looking after you today. Please do not get on my nerves as I am not in a good mood today. I just had a huge argument today and just broke off with my boyfriend. I will not entertain any nonsense from you now and no, I will not change your kid’s diapers.
The pilot has reported bad weather today and he is awfully right about that. My mood has just swung from a bright sunny summer afternoon to a stormy sea wreck in the last half an hour. Please do not be deceived by my thick dazzling make up. Beneath it, I have eye rings worse than a giant panda from South Western China.
Please carry your own over sized luggage and find your own seats. As you can see, I am smaller than you are and I have to fit into this ridiculously tiny uniform. My back is not any stronger than yours and I do not plan to injure myself in any way that the company insurance would not cover. If your bags do not fit into the tight over head compartments, then, you should not have brought your whole closet with you. Your seats are lined in running numbers and alphabetical order. If you do not know where your seats are, you should go straight back to kindergarten pre-school.
Please do not ask me for newspapers or water right now, as you can see I have to put these thick winter jackets into the closets, get some infant seat belts for the seven crying babies, distribute countless of stuffed toys and crayons for the never ending train of boisterous children that just came onboard. Not forgetting to give the portly lady in seat 43A some Aspirin because she is suffering from some head pains and to calm the old wrinkled man seated in 56H due to fear of flying and crashing in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.
Please, and I say please, again. Just wait patiently for the head phones as it would be handed out as soon as we take off. Besides, it is against the Flight Safety Authority to be wearing the head phones or any of your fancy diamond IPOD during the takeoff and landing period of the flight. Also, kindly just switch off your beeping Blackberries as the old lady on your left is getting annoyed by your high pitched blathering girlfriend who could be heard on this receiving end of the call.
Ladies, please do not be charmed by Shane’s gorgeous boyish face as he is as gay as Elton John and only loves other guys like Brad Pitt who is deemed as hot as he is. Gentlemen, please do not even think that sexy Sophie on the other side of the aisle thinks that you are cool. She has been laughing at your outrageous pimped-out golden “bling bling” shoes that makes you look like a wannabe from a MTV video, behind the curtains.
Please, and I mean it, please, aim while you are taking a leak in the lavatory, as we do not have cleaners on board the flight for the next 19 hours to Los Angeles. And for those who plan to get drunk later, the door that has a stairs downwards, is not and I say once again, it is not a pee hole. It leads to our undersized, stuffy and dusty crew bunk, where we are finally able to put an ear plug to all your never ending, chiming call lights, and to rest our poor swollen pressurized feet. If you have not noticed, air hostess do not have nice feet as our scary, gross looking, green spider veins would be popping out anytime due to the long hours of standing and walking up and down the aisle, without much rest.
No, this is not all glamorous. It is practically a myth.
Yes, we stay in fancy five stars hotels. Shop in Oxford Street in London, Dine in the most famous restaurants in Paris and enjoy the cool breeze, clear skies and blue seas at the Maldives, but we work incredibly hard onboard. Apart from my primary role as a safety officer on board, I have a secondary task of being an usher, porter, server, chef, janitor, nurse, potty trainer, nanny, fire fighter, police officer, need I name more? You get the picture.
No, we do not have a boyfriend in every city. No, we are definitely not really smiling inside when you puke all over the seats instead of the air sickness bags that were placed strategically in every single seat pockets, just so to avoid such filthy situations. Yes, we do hate cleaning the lavatories, most of all, after you take a dump in it. And most importantly, we do not all want to marry a captain even when he is old, fat, ugly and atrocious. Please, do not stereotype us.
Yes, we do mind getting up at 4am in the morning to put on intense amount of make up and take an hour to do our hair and make sure it stays perfectly still for the next 24 hours. Yes, it may seem like we have flawless skin, but it is not without the expensive facials and spa treatments whereby the dry air and high altitudes have done a huge damage to. Investing hundreds of dollars in the appropriate sunscreen to block out the UV rays, the ideal deep-hydrating moisturizer for the extreme dry air in the cabin, and another less, yet still hydrating moisturizer for more humid countries like Asia, is burning a huge hole in my infinitesimal pocket.
It was every girl’s dream job. It was supposedly glamorous. Now I understand why they never do put the job scope on their advertisements. It is always a deceiving picture of a drop dead gorgeous girl with an ever so perfect smile that looks nearly plastic that entices all naïve little girls to dream of becoming an air hostess. The natural looking long thick lashes, huge marble eyes, mesmerizing smile, porcelain Barbie face; no wonder we all want to be her.
When I first started out my training in the one of the world’s best airline, I never thought that it would be so tough. It was an endless pile of files and notes that we had to memorize. Passing the numerous tests was either a distinction in a school system, whereby you have to score eighty percent in order to pass. Or you just simply fail. Well, but I had great fun socializing with people from all walks of life. It was an international class. We have the Chinese, the Malays, the Indians, the Mixed blooded. All of only who looked Asian could get into this airline.
At the beginning, my parents thought that only those who were uneducated but had a pretty face would end up being a flight crew. Oh, I must say, they were completely mistaken. Long gone are those days, whereby only people with an O Levels certificate would actually consider this job. I would not deem it as a career, as it is not truly a permanent or stable profession. As long as you have preserved an immaculate record and looked as fine as you were, when you went in. You should be satisfactory to stay for another five years. It was a contractual basis employment. Nowadays, even graduates from zenith universities apply for this job hoping to travel around the world for free. It is indisputably an immense exposure to the abundant cultures of the world.
Written By: Ex - Air Stewardess - Sara Shantelle Lim
BT:... Btw Sara has invited me to be her co-author for a book to be published in 2013. For episodes 2 & 3 go to Sara's website here