Details about Qatar Airways training and what will you learn during it

The Middle East airline companies are offering a 6-8 weeks training to their new employers, time in which they are learning everything about flying, the companies airplanes, how to react in case of an emergency, how to offer first aid and how to have the best on board service during the whole flight. In the end, the graduates are completely ready to operate their first flight and to embrace literally the job of Cabin Crew. The training is provided by the company, as part of the benefits of being hired. I think that every future Flight Attendant should know what to expect after an interview with an airline company, so I chose to write about how it goes the training at an Arabic airline company. Today, I am speaking about Qatar Airways.

I discussed with one of our former students, Cabin Crew for Qatar Airways, about how it was for her the training period at this company.

Training at Qatar Airways takes 2 months and almost 6-7 hours a day to study, in Doha academy. You have only one day free during the training period, Friday. “It was a little bit tiring because during the week you have to study daily, and in your day off it is s the only moment you had time for yourself”, says our How to be Cabin Crew student.

What did you study, what was the hardest subject?

We started the training with a short presentation of Doha, the rules we must follow and how to present during the whole training period (make-up, hair and outfit). It took place approximately 4 days. Then it followed the first training module, de Service one. It took 2 weeks and we learned about the equipment and products we have on board, menu presentation, wine and cocktails and communication methods.

After the 2 weeks of service, which were the easiest ones, followed the Safety module which took place 3 weeks, being the hardest and most stressful period of the training part, because you had to learn new terms daily. You had to know everything very well, exactly like it was written in the manual. At this module we studied exit procedures in case of emergency landing on water or land, how to use the safety equipment and fire simulation.

How was the ditching part (water landing simulation) ?

Ditching was the task I was most afraid of, at first, because I didn’t know how to swim, but when I arrived there I saw that it wasn’t that much complicated, because you are wearing a vest and you throw yourself in the water from a very small distance. You need to arrive to the shore from a relatively short distance, so it’s not that hard. A big inconvenient is that the water is very cold, but otherwise it is not that complicated, everybody passes this task.

The last part of the training was the First Aid module, here I learned about the pills we had in our first aid kit on board and how to use them, about different medical situations encountered on board like: panic attack, cerebral attack, fractures, burns, and so on.

How many exams you had to take during the training period?

We had one exam each week, and the percentage of promotion of the exam was 86%. This meant that you weren’t allowed to make more than 4-5 mistakes at a single test. The exam was multiple choice and had 50 questions.

How did you interact with your teachers?

The teachers, in general, tried to help us and to keep us motivated during the training period, because there were lots of moments when we had the impression that it is too much information for such a short period of time.

How it was to learn all the information in English, how difficult was to know all the technical terms by heart?

At first it was very difficult, it was hard to learn everything by heart, it was very stressful and I was very nervous before the first exams. Then I got used to the idea, and all seemed a lot easier, it become like a daily routine.

This is the story about Qatar Airways training period. I hope it will be very useful and to bring you closer to your dream.

Become cabin crew with our help! The How to be Cabin Crew course fully prepare applicants for the challenges they will face on an airline interview. This course is ideal for young professionals looking to get a head start in the profession, introducing the skills and responsibilities expected by the world’s leading airlines and more importantly give them the vital information and coaching that will help to ensure they perform on their recruitment day and in their interview to their best advantage. Book your place now – click here!

 

This course is designed to help you to prepare for cabin crew interviews with ANY international airline.

From cabin crew to air traffic controller

Alexandra Tomescu worked for two years as a cabin crew at Qatar Airways. She returned to Romania exactly 2 years and 3 months later, as her homesickness was continuously growing. The aviation “bug” was still there though, so, shortly after her cabin crew career ended, Alexandra gives the Air Traffic Controller test and goes to Miami for a 5 month training program at PanAm International Flight Academy. Today, Alexandra Tomescu is an Air Traffic Controller at the Sibiu International Airport.

I had the pleasure to meet Alexandra Tomescu many years ago, on a flight to KUL (Kuala Lumpur). I found, during that flight and layover site (staying at the hotel overnight) Alexandra to be not only a trustworthy colleague but a friend also. Although a petite cabin crew, she proved to have a big heart and a strong, but pleasant, personality. Years after, I was delighted to find out that, although she left behind this profession, she built her career up inside the aviation, as an air traffic controller.

How did you become a cabin crew? Where do the beginnings of your itinerary in aviation lay?

After I have graduated International Economic Relations at the ASE, I wished for a job in “International Logistics”. Twice a week I used to buy a newspaper where there were job advertisements and at some point, I saw the recruitment advertisement – Open Day – for Qatar Airways. I clipped the newspaper ad and thought it was worth a try, even if it wasn’t exactly what I wished for, although I, later on, joked that it was in fact the same field, only it was international logistics of the passengers.

I always liked travelling and so I thought it was a great opportunity to see the world, to get to know so many people, to discover their history, religion and customs and even get paid for it. What could be better than that? After the interview, where about 300 candidates summoned initially (if not more, because the hotel’s auditorium was full) I found myself to be one of the 23 fortunates, later on I was contacted for the confirmation and finally for signing the contract. I proceeded in this profession for two years, to be more accurate, 2 years and 3 months, 2 months being the training period at that time (December 2005 – March 2008).

What were you thinking of when taking off?

Take-off is my favourite of all of flight’s phases: a little adrenaline and the ferment of arriving at the destination, the adventure of discovering, each time, brand-new things.

cabin crew

Which was your favourite destination?

Out of the ones I saw when working for Qatar, there were two: in Europe – Switzerland and in Asia – Kuala Lumpur. Without exaggerating, besides culture and scenery in Kuala Lumpur, I think I particularly fell in love with it mostly because of the crew members I was flying with then, that particular flight you mentioned when you talked about how we met ! I really had a great time there, especially since it’s been an almost 5 days stay, if I remember correctly. Today, things have changed. I revisited some of my destinations in Asia, and recently got to see Kuala Lumpur and Singapore and been deeply impressed by Singapore. It truly is the pearl of Asia!

What are your best flying memories ?

There are many beautiful memories. It would take too long to talk about each of them. But as a rule, the most beautiful flight experiences were those where your crew was homogeneous, where you got on well with everyone, teamwork was natural, and communication was as natural as if you knew each other for a lifetime. With such a crew, a demanding flight was becoming pleasant and passed swiftly, and once arrived at the destination, if there was a layover, you would walk and have fun like old friends do.

cabin crew

Why did you swap profession?

The cabin crew profession is very beautiful and as Sasha, my Safety & Security instructor said, if flying gets in your blood, it’s difficult to get rid of it. Those who think being a cabin crew is easy, are very wrong. It is a very demanding job, both physically and mentally. You have a very chaotic schedule, flying at all hours, varying in duration, you travel the world back and forth, cutting across several time zones, you have to know very well everything you have learned during training, but, the most demanding of all, to satisfy all passengers requests with a smile on your face and according to a certain standard. Passengers do not care that you are there first of all for their safety and that serving them only comes after, on the contrary, they are mostly interested in service.

There have been flights where the area designated to me consisted of 75 passengers, each having their own needs and demands. In addition to this, the biggest sacrifice you make is your personal life. It’s hard to be so far away from home (home being your base, for that is your new home), to live your life on the plane and inside hotels and have a normal personal life. This job asks for sacrifices, and starting a family is the first. I considered this job couldn’t take me very far on a professional or personal level and felt that, that kind of future wasn’t what I wished for.

I encourage all those who wish to travel the world to embrace this profession for a few years, but they should also know when to stop. It is difficult to return back home and start your life from scratch, professionally speaking, because most companies ask for experience in a particular area and, even though thrilled that you have worked abroad, in a big company with many nationalities, they will inevitably prefer whoever has experience in their field.

I decided to change something in my life with my head, not with my heart … And to reinforce what I said above, after returning back home, only after 3 months of interviews at various companies, I managed to get a job as assistant manager. It was not what I dreamt of, but I had to start somewhere. Knowing that I could do more, and wishing to do it, I did my best to find something more competitive and challenging. And at some point, I found out about the air traffic controller job exam (FEAST test developed by Eurocontrol in Brussels – for those who wish to know more) which I can proudly say I passed, being the 3rd out of 400 candidates.cabin crew

Congratulations! What does your current job involve?

I love my current job and barely see myself doing anything else. It is obvious that aviation got into my blood and even if I’m not travelling as often as I did while being a cabin crew, I get to see planes almost every day. I say almost every day because I work shifts 12/24/12/48, so, one every four days I don’t work. The air traffic controller profession is very beautiful, but also very demanding, not in vain they consider it to be the most stressful job in the world. As the name suggests, it mainly involves tracking and routing airplanes, preventing collision between airplanes both in air and on the ground, between airplanes and other machineries and to maintain the safe flow of air traffic in the space assigned. It involves both landings and take-offs, plus directing other aircraft in my area of responsibility. To have an idea, my area of responsibility is represented by a cylinder, 60 km in diameter, and 11000 feet (about 3500 meters) in height.

It is a very complex job, it demands excellent distributive attention, immediate responsiveness and making the right decisions in a very short period of time, responsibility being huge. We carry the responsibility for the entire journey of an airplane, from the moment the engines starts for the take-off, to the moment you arrive safely at your destination and engines stop. Pilots take care of the proper operation of an airplane, we handle safety, giving instructions for the routes to be followed, altitudes and procedures. This is the responsibility an air traffic controller has. As I already said, it is a complex job and there would be a lot to explain but hope to have made myself clear with the brief description above.

What can you tell us about the training stage in Miami?

If at Qatar Airways in 2 months I “graduated” 7 training courses: waiter, bartender, chef, policeman, fireman, nurse and human resources, the initial air traffic controller training lasted five months at the PanAm International Flight Academy. It definitely cannot be compared to the cabin crew training course in terms of complexity. For 2 months, we studied theory: aviation law, meteorology, navigation, navigation equipments, aircraft characteristics, phraseology, Air Traffic Management, human factors and briefing.

After the first month of theory, we began with the simulator also, direction giving exercises, similar to real life. In the beginning, exercises were simple, with 3-4 airplanes and in time, difficulty increased, reaching 20 aircraft with both departures and arrivals within 30 minutes, without any mistakes. In fact, this is the most important part: the simulator, because it teaches you how to deal with real traffic, both in normal and extraordinary situations and / or emergencies. Obviously, when one theory module ended, we would have a written examination and in the end we had a practical exam on the simulator, consisting of a normal directing exercise combined with extraordinary and / or emergency.

Divided between learning and having fun, during the 5 months in Miami I have also built beautiful friendships, for a lifetime, I hope. After returning in the country, a week’s course of Flight Dispatcher followed, concluded with a written test examination. A month later, I had to once again give all theoretical examinations at the Romanian Civil Aviation Authority, and only after that acquired the license of apprentice air traffic controller. An extra two months period of simulators followed and after that, I started this internship period in real traffic directing. 6 months of internship later, I had the AACR exam again, this time, the Examination commission arriving at the location. The examination consisted of a written test comprising all subjects, but made specifically for that particular area and after that, they observed the real traffic routing of aircraft. Only afterwards did I receive the air traffic controller authorization , with full one year rights. Every year we must deal with extraordinary situations and / or emergency on the simulator and have to undertake a written and practical re-examination.

The Flight Dispatcher ,at least level 4 ICAO English Language certificate and medically fit class III certificate are also repetitive check-ups. In conclusion: a complex process and an ongoing training, as the profession itself.

Was the information acquired during the cabin crew training course helpful for your training in Miami?

They are completely different professions, even though they both belong to the aviation field, consequently, information acquired during the flight attendant training course didn’t help much, during my training in Miami.

 

What’s atmosphere like in a control tower, compared to a plane?

If I have to refer to the people you work with, it is totally different. Inside the tower, there’s a handful of people, usually the same during each shift, consequently, friendships are closer and you get to know others very well, while on the plane you barely fly 2 or 3 times with the same people. During breaks, the atmosphere is relaxed but otherwise everyone is very focused on what is to be done and you must be authoritative and in control. There’s no room for hesitation or babble, and pilots must follow the instructions you give. And there’s also no room for “Sorry”, as opposed to a flight attendant’s approach.

Which of the two professions would you recommend to your child?

First of all, it depends on the child’s personality and what they like. Based on this, I would recommend one of these jobs or none. They both shaped me and helped me become who I am today, I think they both offer very much, but it depends on what one really expects from life and the limits they set for themselves. Aviation truly gives you wings …