3 examples of going the extra mile for your passengers

When you are working as a Flight Attendant, the requests coming from your passengers are very diverse. Each passenger has different expectations from you, and each time, he/she will want to be treated as best as possible during the flight. Excellent customer service should be the expression to characterise best the activity on board. There will be many occasions when you will need to solve some conflicts on board, and you will also have to display a genuinely care for the comfort and safety of your passengers.

In my career as Qatar Airways Cabin Crew for 10 and a half years I encountered so many situations on board in which I had to come up with new solutions in order to please my passengers, that a single book will not be enough to write them all. I share with you in this article 3 situations through which I went in order to understand a little the way in which the cabin crew must think when we are on board.

When you are making a cheesecake with what you have on board

  1. The flight DOH-IAH(Houston) on 30 June 2011, on a Boeing777 (QR77), with a duration of 16 hours and 58 minutes – from Cabin Service Director position.

After the first service was offered in the cabin, a Qatar passenger at Business Class, place 5F, was extremely unhappy with the service of one of my colleagues towards his daughter. He accused her that she didn’t do the service by the book, because she did the description of the dessert when she took the order for the hot meal and not after, like it was normal to do, and the dessert asked, or some alternatives of that dessert, never arrived to his daughter (because a colleague already ate the last piece of cake, thinking that it was in addition). Alongside my colleague tears, I had to calm down the passenger as well, which I saw that he was a regular client of our company, if he knew exactly the procedure of taking the dessert order. Later, from the discussions I had with him, I found out that he was the manager of the purchase division of Qatar Airways Private Jet Department, meaning the right hand of our CEO! I tried to repair it with a combination of some desserts taken from the captain tray in order to please his daughter, but because he only wanted Cheesecake, I took from my economic class colleagues trays some cheese triangles that I mixed with some mashed forest fruits. I put this paste over some digestive biscuits, mixed as well with some honey in order to have some sort of dough. I melted 2 Godiva chocolates, that I put over these piece of “cake”… I prepared a cheesecake on board in some minutes! The client was of course very impressed of this Service Recovery method, the way we named this procedure of thanking our passengers in every way at Qatar Airways.

The passenger with whom I shared my salad

  1. Flight DOH-LHR (Londra Heathrow) in 2008, on an Airbus 330, duration of 6 hours and 30 minutes- from the position of First Class Kitchen Manager

During the first service, after we served the Mediterranean buffet and Arabic salads, in the moment an Arabic client asked for a salad, we realized we didn’t have any more of it. Usually, in these cases, we take a new casserole  and we go to our colleagues from business class and take a salad. If not, we were going to the economic class to check the menu, and if even then I was not lucky, I will check the crew trays and still could manage to find some salad, for example the one that is at the base of hummus. But, on this flight, the catering didn’t bring food to contain too much salad. I was needed to offer the passenger all kind of vegetables from first class (grilled), business class (steamed), or economic (in curry sauce). The passenger was somehow pleased. But, at the middle of the flight, when we were relaxing and I was eating my salad purchased from the supermarket, the exact passenger passed by me, throwing me a look of: “You didn’t want to give me salad, but you are eating one…?” I felt immediately that I could receive a complaint unfairly, and because of that, when the passenger returned from the lavatory, I was in my feet, with a plate of salad alongside me. Simple and very natural I approached him, asking apologize for not serving him the salad, but the one I had was from a supermarket because I am on diet. Without letting me to get another plate, he asked me a fork and ate all my salad. It seemed like he loved the Monte Vibiano dressing used on board, with all kind of tastes. At the end of the flight, he said goodbye to me and he also make it up for my gesture of sharing my salad with him.

When is the birthday of a passenger

  1. Many times, the passengers do not declare that they are celebrating a family event when they are travelling (honeymoon, marriage anniversary, and so on.) or the airline company forgets to bring on board cake for the passengers who are celebrating their birthdays on board. Because of it, every time we found about this kind of events, even if we don’t have a written rule in our Service on Board manual, we tried to surprise our passengers with a dessert prepared on the spot, with a glass of champagne from the superior classes, with paper written message that we put on the tray or aluminium figurines used to cover the casseroles. Here are some examples of surprises we prepared for our birthday passengers:
  • croissants in melted chocolate for a birthday
  • a muffin transformed in a birthday, with a Sponge Bob toy made out of paper on a tray
  • aluminum Figurines
  • buffet organized in the economic kitchen with the food remained from the business class for everyone who wanted a second portion.

We prepare you to pass any airline interview:

If you want to have a broad overview of the role and duties of cabin crew, airline companies profiles, stages of each airlines’s interview and how to pass them, we are waiting for you at our 4 days intensive course. We make your perfect cabin crew CV & pictures, we help you gain confidence and learn how to speak in public, so you will have a flawless performance at your cabin crew interview. Details and registration here.

“I think the key is the smile”

We met Ana Maria in April 2016, at our How to be Cabin Crew course. She won the How to be Cabin Crew scholarship and she had the opportunity to join our students who catch their wings. Ana Maria came with a big smile on her face and ready to learn as much as possible, from the first day. We loved her attitude and we knew from that moment that she will receive her wings very quickly. This is what happened after a short time after our course has ended, because at the end of April she came to Bucharest to attend an airline interview and she passed all the stages.

When did you think about the idea of becoming a Cabin Crew and what was hidden behind this decision?

Over a year I read daily each amazing article you are posting on your website. For me it seemed always an amazing job. I saw myself in this posture and easily, I started to wish to make a real step towards becoming a Flight Attendant. My life seemed to have a different path, but as always, things clear up and my steps took me to the first airline interview a few months later.

How was for you the interview? How many candidates were there, how many remained for the final interview?

The interview was very well organized, strict, and the company’s expectations were very high. There were almost 150 candidates. It lasted two days, and we remained only 13 people for the final interview. I can say that were two days full of emotions and beautiful feelings, which seemed to have been very productive.

Have you applied for another airline company?

My first interview was the successful one. I waited for the positive answer a few months. During this time, I continued to apply to other companies from the Middle East. Even if the interviews have almost the same structure, the companies are always looking for different typologies. I can surely say that from each interview you are learning new things, and these experiences are always helpful.

You received a How to be Cabin Crew scholarship. How do you think our course has helped you?

The scholarship received from you was the best thing that could’ve happened to me. I learned a lot of useful things, I understood more clearly what this job meant, and the most important thing is that your feedback has helped me to feel more confident in myself. Thank you very much.

In your opinion, which is the biggest challenge for a Flight Attendant?

I think the most difficult thing is to be far away from your family and the loved ones. It is not easy to miss all the important things that happen in their lives.

Tell me what are the 3 most important qualities a candidate should display at the interview, based on your experience?

I think a friendly attitude is extremely important, but also to have confidence in you. As well, a big pleasant and warm smile is a must. Anyway, I think the key is the smile.

How will you spend your last days in Romania? Do you have some special plans? You will work during this period?

I wish to spend my last days in Romania with my family, to see my friends and to relax. I have a few more days at work, after that, I will start easily to pack my bags. Now I see each day different and I wish to profit as much as I can of these days.

A message for How to be Cabin Crew team

I wish with all my heart that you will continue to do the same amazing job you are doing at every course, to make every student happy with everything they are learning and also to show them your beautiful attitude and smiles. You are truly an amazing team. The 4 days spent with you were an incredible experience for which I will always be grateful. A big kiss from me!

We prepare you to pass any airline interview:

If you want to have a broad overview of the role and duties of cabin crew, airline companies profiles, stages of each airlines’s interview and how to pass them, we are waiting for you at our 4 days intensive course. We make your perfect cabin crew CV & pictures, we help you gain confidence and learn how to speak in public, so you will have a flawless performance at your cabin crew interview. Details and registration here.

Interview with former Qatar Cabin Crew, Zaheer Alvi

When did you first know that you want to be a cabin crew?

Since I was born, I was interested in aviation. My mother told me that whenever I use to see an aircraft, I use to call it ‘My Plane’. However, during my high-school, I always wanted to do something to get into the aircraft business and honestly, to see the world. I think the best idea was either as a pilot or being a cabin crew . When I started looking up aviation jobs, some of my friends and family discouraged me into becoming a pilot. They thought so many people have this job and they can not find a job for themselves. So, I started thinking about other ways of travelling around the world and that was the time I thought of becoming cabin crew.

 

How would you describe yourself before getting into aviation?

It might shock you that I was a very shy person before getting into the airline business. I didn’t talked to strangers and it was very difficult for me to trust other persons. I was mostly quiet and mostly misunderstood due to my quiet behavior in new places. I was so quiet that when I joined the airline business, many people use to think that I don’t like to work with them due to my behavior. But in time I managed to overcome my emotions, and to be more openly and friendly.

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For how many airlines did you work and for how long?

I have worked only for Qatar Airways for 14 years, because I was born in Doha and I never wanted to leave the place.

 

Which was the highest position that you had in the airline?

I had reached the position of CSD and the reason I never applied for a higher one (for an office job) was because I didn’t wanted to quit flying.

 

Did your private life have to suffer because of traveling so much?

Not really. The reason is that when you enjoy doing something, it will not affect your life or in other word you don’t have to suffer due to the things you are enjoying. No matter what kind of job you have, there are always cons and pros to it. We should remember that a good life is not about WHAT you are doing, it is always about HOW you are doing it. No matter which profession you are working in, if you are not satisfied or you do not enjoy doing it, you are going to suffer not only professionally, but also personally. As I was enjoying flying and always having new people around me, my private life was never affected by my work.

 

Were you sad when you had to stop flying?

Yes, it was a big change. For me, I think flying gets in your blood; once you get used to it, you have to really prepare yourself psychologically to quit.

 

Do you still keep in touch with your friends that you made around the world?

Always! The best thing that happened to me while flying was meeting new people around the world, working with them, travelling with them, getting to know about their cultures, religions etc. It gives you the feeling that you can just meet anyone and you know what they are expecting from you.

 

What are you doing at the moment?

After quitting I finished my studies and right now I have my own business.

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Can you describe in details a happy/unhappy situation that took place in your flight?

As I spend 11 years of flying in supervisor position, most of the times I have tried my best to make every flight a ‘Happy flight’ and I hope I succeeded. I think the most uncomfortable situations for me where when I had to report someone for not being up to the standards of the company. Luckily for me, I never experienced a fight with passengers or had to intervene in disagreement between cabin crew and passengers. The reason is that our crew was trained to follow the standards of the company strictly, and they always tried to make the flight as pleasant as possible.

Prepare yourself for the upcoming interviews with the big airline companies. Come at our How to be Cabin Crew courses and make a step forward towards your dream. Details and registration here.