Now we can drink....here

Has the cabin crew union been doing a good job? Well see here

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Top comment from a reader: "The reality of being a cabin crew, then and now"

"Honestly speaking, 35 years ago, been a cabin crew is a glamorous job, many after their O or A level will apply, clearly remember after my JC, all the guys proceed for National Service, while some girls decided to apply for cabin crew job at Dynasty Hotel (Marriott) - walk in interview, during that era, able to go oversea is a lifestyle that keep people salivating, as airfare were so expensive, wages wasn’t that high, so to have lunch in Los Angeles, dinner in Tokyo was a dream, to get towards that dream, is to land yourself in the job as “SQ girl”! those era, night stop were very good, imaging doing a SQ 16 flight SIN/TPE/HNL, you layover in Hawaii for 3 nights before the next B747-300 Big Top pick you up and ferry you to LAX, then few night in LAX, back to HNL for 2 nights and you off to HKG, a trip out easily 12 days, go with a half empty cargo bag, and back home with nice T shirts, skin care products, chocolates, macadamia nuts from the US, and there were so many paxing flight, passenger up to BKK, stay a night, work up to FRA, from FRA pax down to Rome etc, allowances were good, and you really get to see the world, my favorite flight was SQ348/7 SIN/ATH/VIE vv, do a 11 hours flight to ATH, spend 3 nights in ATH, check out hotel with no luggage, do a shuttle flight to VIE and back to the same hotel in the late afternoon, another 4 nights in ATH, during the stay, Greek island hopping is a norm, party in Mykonos and enjoying sunset in Santorini. Life was Great!

Now in 2020, crew only get to see the airport rather then see the city, have you heard about night stop in BKK anymore? Years back, we used to stayed in central BKK Arnoma Hotel, exclude Covit period, there were like 4 flights a day to London, night stop is getting shorter and allowance is shrinking, if you want to be a cabin crew because you wanted the free ticket to see the world, yes 30 years ago is really consider a good benefit, but look at it now, airfare to HKG can be as cheap as $238 for return including taxes, who can’t afford? Do you think is worthwhile to work one year just to gained that free flight?

Gone are the good days, piece of advice, if you just want to gain some experience, fair enough for one contract, and after, there you go, please do not think this job as a long term career, look at the crew now, no flight to operates, yet put on the SQ polo T, standing at bus interchange, MRT station and “Good morning, be careful.....”, instead of “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, we have just landed at Sydney Kingsford Smith Int’l Airport, the local time now is ....... “.

We can see the vast differential between now and then. been a cabin crew is no longer that glamorous in the 21st century, Thank you and “Welcome onboard” but be mindful."

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, since 20+ years ago, the needle has moved but SQ has
stayed stuck in old ways.

They used to be at the forefront of innovation... but now testicles gone.

This is a good time as any to cut and discard all dead wood, screwed up SOPs.
and start climbing up to reclaim the throne.

Apps, new website, all these is a given... review the inflight service, the trays, the carts, the sequence, the flow... people got no time for all that show. Its just wasteful wayang.

Anonymous said...

I remember the SOP was given to a young CS,complete change of sequence. One Ivan Tan,also octopussy hand.Straight away promo to IFS.Pax are not robots,eating on que and same timing.Left to the CS in charge to write why the 3 choices ran out,and Ward Leader,should be warded I'm IMH,spew the usual crap to justify his job.That was before SARS.Ended,KayWee did a coup that eliminate the Ward Leader vfor cheaperer Auditor etc.Good and bad,Save money but top down rules,the service suppose to be better.Jump up procedures,call it premium ey.Change title to Mangler from IFS.Promote sexxcy an Ah Qua, and began to be cruel and crude to wrong doer,which comes from flimsy SOP,no feedback from experiences crew.Now Karma returns,best (bad)wishes for them,even when retired. Cursed and swear when the named mentioned. For every CC who were wronged, just watch this space, it will end with *IP,not Yip Mun kungfu,maybe "Ovid.Repent for the bad vibes given when they were in power.Or seek repentance in the house of the Lord. Acknowledge the sins committed and be set free,because the Four Hordes of Apocalypse is in the Air. The sickle is sharp,the Scyth drawned.It's only a Covid away.

Anonymous said...

Greek island of Santorini ?Heard they hire a car,got into accident due to local driver, they had to sent replacement for minimum crew due to whiplash. Memorable indeed. But the ruins of Acropolis was beautiful though.

Anon said...

The reader is right Boh Tong.

CC who stayed long have realised their folly too little too late. Leave, they'll get huge paycut and might not be able to find a decent paid job due to age and work experience.

Stay, who knows? 10-20 years later, another incident like Covid may happen. And their aging body might not be able to withstand the increasing workload and demand of the paxs

Dont you agree, BT?

Boh Tong said...

Agreed!

Anonymous said...

this is beautifully written, reality of being a CC
but alot of clowns in CC still self consolating themselves:

this is a good job
no need bring work home...
a lot of companies will want to hire you if you are a leading an above..
want to leave at least get a leading first lol...
those that plan for themselves and leave during their time in CC are the smart ones..

those that strive for promotions nowadays are short sighted..
gone are the days when the IFM is the king onboard lol...

cant wait to bump into those that bullied me during my time as a CC ..
hopefully they are my grab driver :p

Anonymous said...

er... why must quit as leading? those 50+ years old leading got a lot companies outside dying to hire them?

Anonymous said...

Join SiA in the 90s. Was in the 744Jumbo, A310 and A340s fleet.
Had all the long stay DxB- Cairo, Seoul-YVR, Rome, Vienna, Sendai, Hokkaido, Kathmandu, Capetown, Durhban, etc.
Did alot of Paxing flts to Europe and US.
Gone were the good old days of long overlays.

Anonymous said...

Haha, lol, you really kena bullied until so jia-luk that you want to take revenge. Hehe this is funny.
You mean there were so many mean IFM around and making your life miserable in CC?
I must add though, in the early days, flying in the area of bullying was really bad. You just follow order if u are a junior crew.
It was the same for all airlines, lots of top-down fear factor and bullying were the norm.
Guessed being a CC was a fantastic job in the early days, so you just suck your thumb and kept quiet even if kena bullied.
Hope u get to meet those who bullied you soon.

Anonymous said...

I am lucky strawberry generation..
When i join i still get a taste of 5 days kix, 6 days nanjing, 12 days seoul - van ,
8 day athens, 4-5 days pek...etc..really enjoyed the stay...

into my 5th year of flying..i slowly see all these are all gone...indirectly it affected my take home pay, like it or not, the mgt will say its not a paycut, but it is.

I bite the bullet and left. Never regretted. Like someone mentioned, air travel is so affordable now, we can just pay to travel , so its no longer a perk. I urge singaporeans to leave...as there is a saying in the cabin crew: It has become a msian and thai dream to become a singapore girl.

Singapore children , your parents pay so much to raise you up, fly 2 years max and leave for your own sake. Good luck

Anonymous said...

Sorry to disappoint ,
I too have left the airline thank god..
If not now have to stand at bus interchange or drive grab
Or take basic pay of cc lol..
So malu ..Lol

The bullied crew ,
Now ex crew

Anon said...

Hi Boh Tong

Is it true CC is mainly composed of M'sia and other nationalities as asserted by last anon? What's the composition percentage of SG steward/-dess?

If you are young again, will you join CC given the current benefits? Never mind Covid-19.

Boh Tong said...

60% are S'poreans and the rest are foreigners (Malaysians included).
Yes, I would still want to be a CC :)

Anonymous said...

Currently,Covid is still dominant in many countries and the paxs equally uncertain whether post covid or asymthomatics,so risk of being infected on board seems higher.Plane are not reengineered for Covid proof etc reverse toilet air flow,ulvc cleansing,witness the dorm case 55000 cases,still uncontrolled,common factors conmon toilets usage or missuse.One current case of flight to China,13 cases from here,covid free ex sin.Suppose on 1 flight,the same scenarios,CC becomes community cases,family of CC got infected.Up to now no cure nor vaccines,its like russian roulette,who want to play ?Or stay grounded,join pool li tick,easiest jobs, good pay,10 years ,claim pension.Frankly,a difficult choice,locust airlines by then allow cheap fare world wide,just normal job,and can have family too.Having covid kills your family gene forever.Choose your way forward in such difficult time,we had no such scenarios then,Covid kills,job,people but not your choices.

Anonymous said...

It may not be the most desirable job to some during this time . No matter what, it is a choice made during pre or post covid to stay or leave. Some may censure and some may be content . Nevertheless it may be based on hindsight of the present situation for those who revoked .
We may not be a loyalist but at least with some sense of gratitude . This job spread food on table , roof over head and a comfortable lifestyle compare to a lot of ppl around over these years . It may not be as good as before to some rgding the job traveling packages or rostering . However we must realise why we re in this and what we hired for . Some get in to add up their traveling itinerary portfolio as priority instead of being a complement in making a living ( passions are subjective )out of it . Nothing wrong with it if the expectations are rebalance ,if not the disappointments set in as the time changes . Anyway we're hired for an obvious reason .
Being a Sq girl/boy are not entitled to any certain nationalities but mindset is . No matter which nationalities you're from as long as u have had contributed well , that's a commendable Sq girl/boy regardless .
No matter what's your decision or choice , wish all.. bed of roses waiting along.

Anonymous said...

IMO,the above comments not answering the questions, but good try.Probably young and lack real life experiences,from school of hard knock, Covid kills family by affecting reproductive organs FYI.Toilet aerosolised flush micro droplet, current airflow recycle into the user.Patient can shed virus for six months, supposely cured,more like recovery mode,most evacutees from here are FW,escaping back to China or India, whether the frying pan into the fire.Once covided, it damage the mind,will it degrade the crew response, to Emergency or even to normal scenarios back to family. Being Frontliner, it's really no choice, the manager made decisions from away and safely,even out of sight.Frontline Soldiers were normal casualties first,unless quarantined after every flight or community cases,become runawy train like FW dorm case,then another train wreck.Billions will be use to return situation to normal society. Talk about other loyalty etc ,is pointless, 50000 infections nothing to be proud of.doubt reciprocal countries will want such bubbles treatment, travel etc,prefers total cutoff.Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ .. I think in cc Sinkies become the minority already
Whenever I go a flight
Wa Lao so many deep red passport
Don’t forget got Indonesian , prc , Indiana, Thai ,tw , koreans , Japanese
And very rare Hk people also.
How can sinkie cc still be 60%
Correct me if I am wrong

I know said...

Each person's abilities is defined by attitudes.
For some, becoming a cook, a driver, an insurance agent is the level
that they are comfortable and within their abilities.

Being a flight attendant is just one.

Is there a future?

That depends on what that future looks like.
If the future looks tough, but bearable, so be it. Its a judgement call.

Most crew dont really like the job.
What appeals is that they get to run away from home issues for a while, even if its
just a turnaround.
And the 'atas' feeling of clearing immigration like VIPs...

I agree with earlier comments about not staying more than 2 years... your parents spent so much raising you. Grow up and do something that is sustainable.

Stay safe.

Anonymous said...

60% Singaporean? I am in serious doubt, been on many night stop flight, check in list, seem like bulk of the time more then 75% are Malaysian, Thai & Indian.
Anyway, with the recent CB, quite a fair bit of foreign crew went back to their home country, as border control took place, many unable to return, and some were not in favor of self sponsored of Covit test, wonder how many have left?

Anonymous said...

Whenever an author talks about the good old days, it shows his or her age.
Yeah remember the HNL and ATH days. Athens was always an European city favourite.
I feel being SQ crew is as relevant today as the good old days gone. Still as glamorous as before.
The selection criteria is still as strict. Facial blemish is a no no. So it has to look afield for recruitment. I am sure many locals would love to don the kebaya.
You can fly direct to USA non-stop, doing away with layover. Modern aircraft can fly further without refuelling.
Yes gone are those good old day long trip. So is socialising down-route.
Now crew prefers their wifi in the comfort of the room.
Singapore has become so expensive making foreign exchange rates of yesterday irrelevant.
I still feel as privilege now as in the good old days. Whenever taxi passes by Simei, Tampines, SATS Catering and the view of expanse airfield, here I am thinking I am as relevant as the old days.
Singapore Changi Airport makes us crew glamorous. It is still as good as good old days.
Fact is the world we live has changed. Budget carriers have evolved as ABC. The aviation industry is constantly threatened by terrorist attack, virus pandemic and economic downturn. The worry for job is always there with any health detrimental.
Becoming a crew may not attract the kind of interest as in the past. It is not every one can become a crew. Having said that, just because you are now earning more than your peer does not make you make attractive to outside employers. I disagree with crew saying outside companies are welcoming crew. Maybe in hospitality industry.
Anyway there is a saying You are as good as your last job.


Anonymous said...

aiya...

nimpeh one sentence enough..
just ask yourself:

" WILL YOU ENCOURAGE YOUR SON OR DAUGTHER TO BE A CABIN CREW NOW?"

SO SIMPLE !

Anonymous said...

nimpeh ge lan la you. dare to impersonate nimpeh.mai sia sway nimpeh la.

Anon said...

To last Anon,

Boh Tong said he still prefers to relive his life as a cabin crew (CC) despite the cutbacks of CC benefits.

I agree with 2nd last Anon, yes, CC earning more than majority public doesnt mean when they leave/retire, employers will give them same pay - thats nonsense. That's why CC afraid to leave when they get older or contract not renewed. If that happens, they forced to become Grab deliverer or take up menial jobs.

Apart from that, in general, flying is now considered affordable than before due to more choices of air carriers such as budget airlines which brings competitive pricing to passengers.

Being a CC is not as glamourous as during BT golden era.

Anonymous said...

My daughter went for SQ interview with her classmate after her A level examination, she just wanted to know how far she can passed for the interview, as many of her friends told her, some got booted out at the kebaya fitting ....... . She was lucky and got the notification for medical examination, when she shared with me & my husband, as I was a ex crew before, I told her, if she wanted to clad that kebaya & serves meals, perhaps after her university, as she is just 3 more years to go, and she will armed herself with a bachelor degree from either SMU or NUS, if after her tertiary education, she could fly for few years, and she could apply for the job as “Administrative Officer” within the SIA group, or perhaps transfer to be a station manager or corporates sales etc.
She got her result and got a place in NUS majoring in Computer Science, after graduation, she was working for a Japanese firm, and seem then she been going for oversea meetings & trade shows, and she have no regret in taking our advice at the beginning, once she told me, if she have gotten the job and started flying, she will probably by now, spending her days at home, reprimanding her kids and not contributing much to the society.
As a parents, I would want my children to at least complete their studies before ever think of becoming a crew, but again, I would want them to focus for the long run, but not been shortsighted, as only looking at the destinations and parties!


Anonymous said...

To the anon who talked about education, it's the singaporeans who has lowest education MOST of the time, they rarely even have a degree, however most of the foreigners are well educated and majority of them holds a degree or even higher, let's not even talk about Singaporean's part time hospitality/business diploma or degree, what joke is that? So don't discriminate and self carry your country men as a level higher, you're just acting like those snobbish 70s IFMs.

The senior crews always mentioned that hard skill can be taught, soft skill cannot and it is highly sought after. Truth is without a solid hard skill nobody will look at your soft skills, so it's time to wake up and stop trying to brainwash others about it.

SVP recently mentioned about more productivity which will lead to lesser layover and off days, so for the amount of work you work for you are getting lesser pay which is already so little.

The beautiful legend about SIA crew being highly sought after is like masturbation, send in their resume to the real world and don't even need to wait for any reply because anyway one cc does not have the brain companies needed and it's already rejected, what are you gonna do in office? Serve coffee? Make bed? Take meal order? CPR your boss cause he fainted because you are so useless? Think about it, there's nothing you can sell yourself even if your resume has the big name of SIA which is not doing well already.

Leave when you can, or the face the reality.

Anonymous said...

SG crews's face so langgar lorry, no wonder company seeking alternative resources.

It's so easy to identify crews' nationality by just looking at their face, 80% confirmed singaporean when their face is langgar, both gender included, and their attitude is so bad as if the world owe them something.

Anon said...

To last Anon, you comment regarding CC is so mean.

To 2nd last Anon, yes, CC resume including serving coffee and tea skills perhaps best for Kopitiam jobs Auntie are now doing instead of office work CC applying for.

To Anon who shares her daughter decision, Im happy she chose to study and doing well instead of serving people for life. Yes, long-term plans must be envisioned not short-term parties.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans face langar lorry I find it fair enough
Since this is our home and earning a living from our home...

Msian dream to become a singapore girl
Although Sound funny
But it is so true lol...

Both gender included :)

Anonymous said...

SIA needs to hire more nationalities like middle East airlines otherwise people will get bored.Singaporeans, Malaysians, Thais, Indians, Chinese etc all look the same.

Anon said...

Hi Boh Tong

How many number of leaves CC entitled each year?

Anonymous said...

Talk about choices,Indian with the most Covid,why ask for trouble ?Our dorm full of their kind.Good think is that the slumdweller got antibodies,show previous infection.In other word,sleep with an Injun if you want to live,temporarily.In time like these,Trump and lockdown,CB and healthy no need mask,job loses to FT,tempers are in short supply,as much as a vaccine.So limpeh here turn to seepeh soon if no mask.Blunt truth can be hard to swallow,no more $600,only inflated allowance make flying bearable,the work is low ses.Langgar lorry like Sexcy gone,so nothing to follow through,Ah Qua plenty,CC cant seem to rid off,could lead to downfall of airline.Imo,community infection could be the greatest fear of the airlibe,all airline.Not worth the pennies for the pound needed to reverse,witness the dorm case.Besides,a good strong rebuttal and opimions and is best,stop being kuai as as mouse,die as a mouse.Now got Leader of Oppo,so get involve,or die covided,a long hot summer ahead,no end in sight,only 55000 and more,not proud of,and worse if Trump wins again,unthinkable and dicktator putin and Xi,then Trumpet the triumpvant of doom.Pray for us,we have sinned,by not seeing the light.

Boh Tong said...

3 weeks per year

Anonymous said...

Dead end job lah...
No job security nowdays anywhere except PAP minister.
Every 5 years you get the knife positioned at your throat.
Everywhere people take picture and sabo you.
Union no teeth
Allowances not enough

You will be lucky to afford a car, a HDB flat.

Anonymous said...

WHY NOBODY TALKS ABOUT THE PANDEMIC ???
WHAT IS ACTUALLY CORONA VIRUS ???
WHERE EXACTLY IT CAME FROM ???
WHAT COUNTRY HAS THE HIGHEST COVID INFECTION ???
WILL IT COME AGAIN TO HAUNT THE WORLD AGAIN ???

Anonymous said...

If lucky,healthy after flight, still got family to go back.If not,become Covided, community case,as bad as dorm,endless cycle,IMO,choose a better job now,don't be remembered for the wrong thing for ever.

Anonymous said...

Sars like 17 years ago.From china,supposely,from bat or CIA blackhand says another.Detection and cure almost on maintaining oxygen level in lung.Signs are it attack brain,causing confusion halucination,killing reproductive organ,meaning no more children for ever.These are known facts,beyond one need to refers to WHO,Moh website,but if you are Noob and refuse to find out more,it is dangerous to your family,like the FW in dorm case.Quarantine few months free wifi,food.Morbidity factors highest in Endia,Brazil due to leadership issue,just like in China ,where it began,suppressed due to political reasons.Last pandemic,Spanish flu in WW1, it dies off,but thinned out population of earth by millions.Currently,no end in sight yet,masked up or get Covid,ignorance kills spread,your family and your whole family line can end.God bless you.

Anon said...

I see, Boh Tong.

The 3 weeks yearly means the same throughout CC Career or the senior CC gets, the person will be entitled more leaves?

Boh Tong said...

Anon, 3 weeks for junior crew and once promoted
will get more.

Anon said...

Thks for the prompt reply BT.

3 weeks compulsory leave, no push forward to following year?

What's the highest leave accorded to the very senior CC? 24 leaves?

Boh Tong said...

No push forward
Most senior like IFM got 5 weeks per year

Anon said...

Boh Tong

During layovers, will SIA pay Cabin Crew (CC) to visit attractions for free in a way? Or CC use their own salary?

Boh Tong said...

Crew has to pay :)

Anon said...

Wah Boh Tong

Like that, its not holiday if CC has to pay out of their salary.

You earn $4K. However, as junior CC, have to spend on socialising with CC and visit attractions.

I think it leaves $2.5K or lesser remaining amount after spending.

Moreover, staying in SG added the financial burden.

Boh Tong, I think you suggest to SIA Mgmt if they can make CC life better if such benefits given.

Boh Tong said...

You are supposed to work and rest during the layover
and not go jalan jalan.
Sure I can recommend to the management but will they
entertain my suggestion? lol

Anon said...

Boh Tong

I think SIA Mgmt will entertain your suggestion as youre a veteran steward and know up and downs of CC. You even wrote a book - fasten your seat belts. You should do Volume 2 and onwards like Harry Potter series.

Anyways, in long run, CC resignation rate decline and SIA doesnt need to have monthly interviews they did before Covid-19.

Anonymous said...

When I joined, bohtong and his colleagues were already in their career peak recruiting.
That was 3 decades ago. Has the future prospect of being cabin crew change? No at all.
It is still as relevant as 3 decades ago. We all knew it is not a long term career solution.
Would I advise my children against becoming cabin crew? Yes.
It was the answer then and still the same answer now. Nothing has changed.
Back then the job application attracted more respond than now.
You start to see long layovers disappearing. The world now is more connected than before.
Whining and complaining among crew are common and do not necessary equate hatred for the job.
You notice onboard differences.
Still crew take pride back then and even now.

Anonymous said...

Concerns of crew when they join,join Union for protection against unfair dismissal. Nowaday,join Union for IFM position, the top dog.Current position,Covid-19 rules, which mean unthinkable like layoff,and forced leave due to no flight, for all.Planes parked,and job support wages till some time in 2021.All big items dashed, including family. Where once Excellent Services ruled the sky,now social distance,ppe in place,inside the enclosed plane,infection via aerosolised ,including breathing proven,to be possible, as proven by case of long distance buse in China. Recycled air ,pax on plane, proven to be infections zone.So onboard, any flight can be start if the chain of Covid, link to community cases over time.Pride,jobs,as a crew should not be in the equation in Covid-19 times.Fly to where ?Endia, with cases exploding, US,Europe .where rules are not authorian, paxs rebellious and insist on their rights,it is flying into a deadly storm,became a tornado when asymptomatic paxs present. No arrest,can be made,nor containment cell for safety handling covided pax,unless runner bullet used,and armed crew like on El AL.It will become terrorism on board, Probably some airline have some contingency plan,or business continuity plan if flying resumes. Any Covid-19 attack should be worse then terrorism, without bomb.Far fetch maybe, but then ,the present grounding of planes world wide unthinkable, but it happens. Covid-19 kills the world financially, hopefully till cure or vaccine found,so God help us all.

Anon said...

Boh Tong

I think the last Anon is right with regards to CC not being a long term job.

Nowadays, layover night is only 1 on most destinations and the monthly salary is $4K isnt something to brag given cost of living in SG. That $4K has to pay for socialising with other CC especially - where affluent lifestyle overtakes the pragmatic thoughts one should have.