2020. What a way to start a new decade…
Regardless of where you call home, what airline you work for or how long you have been in this industry, COVID will have impacted you in some way.
A job lost after years of dedicated service, significant changes to on-board life including, but not limited to, hiding our glorious smiles behind face masks.
Aircraft, iconic ones too, with years of flying left in them are being prematurely retired before their time.
Perhaps you’ve been furloughed for what seems like FOREVER, or are still valiantly taking to the skies and walking down aisles that are vastly different to the usual organised chaos we love to hate. You repatriate grateful customers to their families around the world and deliver personal protective equipment to drowning health services.
You are truly going above and beyond.
Continue reading the guest post by Jessica Marie who runs A Flying Bean.
Cabin Crew And COVID
This year has been a pretty shocking one thus far. I am one of thousands of furloughed cabin crew eagerly waiting to return to a schedule that I know will be drastically different from the one I left in March.
When I optimistically bid for a trip to the Bahamas for April, talk of this virus was only a distant whisper and I didn’t take them very seriously.
My last flight before furlough as crew was a trip to Seattle and that was when the gravity of the situation truly hit me. The flight was empty, the streets of Seattle were empty, police sirens usually blaring were silenced, the hotel staff told us to stay in our rooms. I remember thinking, ‘shit, this is actually serious’.
Fast forward to April and thousands are grounded. Flight Radar 24 is practically empty (yes, I LOVE that app, you know you do too!).
Aircraft are grounded on airfields around the country and my local airport’s only visitor is an A340 with the words ‘Protect our NHS’ emblazoned on the side.
Our jetsetting, fast paced tea and coffee serving days have come to an abrupt halt. And I don’t think any of us really expected the consequences to be so far reaching for the industry we dedicate so many sleepless nights to.
The thought of yet another month out of the sky is mind-boggling; it feels strange to have two feet firmly on the ground for so long. I never thought I’d say it, but I’m beginning to miss the smell of spicy pot noodles at 5am on a flight to Seoul, banter with the caterer because they miscounted the salads again, the familiar sound of ‘doors to automatic and cross-check’.
It almost doesn’t feel like it’s really happening.
A Fresh View
We’ve been through a lot as an industry and as a crew community. To feed the hardship by posting articles of ‘doom and gloom’ will only serve to worsen our outlook on our situation.
So, I want to offer a slither of positive thought in this testing time.
Cabin crew are the most versatile, dedicated, life-loving community I have had the pleasure of working alongside. This COVID pandemic has shone a bright light on the bravery, the sacrifice and the dedication we have continued to demonstrate despite the hardships the world is facing.
The ‘Wingman Project’ in the UK is one such heart-warming example (be sure to look it up!).
Let’s be candid with each other – things aren’t going to be the same when this is over. But crew are tenacious, stubborn and simply amazing at whatever situation they are faced with; whether it’s sourcing a beef out of thin air for Mr Smith in 24A or saving a person’s life.
Whether you have sadly lost your role already, or are awaiting your fate, know that we still have an incredible skillset coupled with a flair for dealing with all kinds of people or circumstances.
This is not the end of our journey, only a delay in transit.
Whether or not the next leg of our journey will be by air, we can’t know. But whatever our destination, we will bring invaluable experience and passion in all that we do.
This article is submitted by Jessica Marie who runs the blog A Flying Bean.