By NICOLETA GHERMAN, World-Class NG Cabin Crew Trainer
Every time we welcome our guests on board the aircraft we have to remember that traveling for some passengers as appealing and exotic as it sounds, can be a challenging experience. Think about the customers or colleagues who never traveled by plane! I hope that the following tips I applied during my flying experience for more than 10 years can make your duty easier and why not, memorable too. I am sure your actions will inspire your colleagues or the young travelers.
- Always check the company intranet page, for last minute changes in your schedule.
- Check thoroughly the safety equipment in your area, even if you flew the same aircraft the day before. You never know if the engineer replaced an item and then placed it wrongly.
- Safety and security come first, so just cut the service if needed and apologize to your passengers through an announcement made via the intercom.
- Make sure you have all valid required documents and items with you. You don’t want to be offloaded at the briefing room, from a flight to the U.S.A., just because you forgot that your passport expired one day ago.
- Have a look at the Passenger Information List (PIL) and check who your passengers are, namely: VIP, CIP, UM, WHCR, royal family members, etc.
- Try to remember the names and seat numbers of the frequent flyer customers and address them by their name, as they always
- Remember the captain’s name and nationality, but also other important flight details. There are many passengers asking: “Who’s the captain?”, “What’s the flying time?”, “Is there any vacant seat?”, “What time are we arriving at…?”, “Are we going to make it on time?”, “Am I going to lose my connection?”(in case of delays), “Where is Mecca direction?” (when flying for airlines in the Middle East) etc.
- Be aware of the passengers with special needs, especially the ones with special needs.
- Check the availability of any medical practitioner or nurse on board too, in case you need help later on.
- Before a flight to another country, do some basic research about the destination, culture, local customs, weather conditions, useful words, places to see or what and where to eat. It helps a lot when interacting with the passengers.
- Children and mothers with infants should be offered the special kits early when boarding, as later on they will not bother you asking for a coloring book or milk bottle during the meal service.
- Before departure go around the aircraft and offer newspapers or magazines if there are extra ones or extra blankets or pillows if needed.
- Know your menu in Economy class, but also the one in Business/First Class and the crew meals. It can happen to run out of vegetarian meals, but in the same time to find solutions with the help of the other colleagues working in superior classes or in the galley. Or you can even have a passenger asking right from the boarding moment if his/hers vegetarian meal is on board. Always take his/hers seat number, check the availability and get back to the guest with an exact answer.
- Keep your crew ID, wallet and valuables safely secured in your locked trolley/hand bag at all times. Do not unlock them in front of the passengers or other colleagues, as you don’t want to have something missing at the end of the flight. Money and gadgets can be replaced, but if you lose your flying ID then you might not fly for several weeks until you get a new one.
- Always prepare your sweets and bread baskets on ground, also bar top carts and drawers, hot beverages trays. Count the meals and the trays, so you make sure that nothing is missing for the service. You don’t want to feel how harsh some passengers are if you don’t have Tabasco on board that day.
- During the flight, try not to sit alone, as you might feel sleepy. Mingle with the crew and customers who are awake. Offer them a drink and have a chat.
- If having a long flight, between services, walk around your zone and check your customers. Especially at night time, you have to know everything that happens in the cabin even when the lights are dimmed;
- During the services on long-haul flights, every 30 minutes offer water and juice to your guests, as you want them to stay hydrated.
- If any passenger looks like having too many drinks, also inform the other crew. Put a sticker on the galley (the aircraft kitchen) wall and write the passenger’s seat number and type of drinks s/he had. In this way, the crew is prepared to politely refuse another order.
- Any medical problem should be assisted immediately and with calm. Keep informing your colleagues how the customer is doing mentally or physically and keep checking the passenger even after recovering.
*Photos: Personal album