Let me go back to the days of my yesteryear, wherein I was selected as an Air Hostess in Air India ; the post which was mostly coveted by many young girls now and then. Its like a profession which look like the moon in the sky. not within the reach of many ordinary folks.
Working in the aircraft was a dream, but that dream came into reality in my case and I enjoyed the period of my stay over there to the utmost. Many of us knew how would be the training of a police man, or a lecturer or doctor or an engineer; as we see them in our daily life, we have some idea or some information regarding those posts. But the Air hostess is not a person who is to be seen in our vicinity frequently, nor we have a chance to be associated with them on daily basis as the other posts. Even PM or CM or President of America,or Celebrity of Cine field, we see the type of work they do on tv screen but not the Air Hostess.
So most of the people look in awe when they come to know that I was selected as an Air hostess and was with Air India, they express their desire to find out details of the life of this profession.
On duty or off the duty, the Air Hostesses maintain a sort of secluded life from the common folks, due to the commitment to the profession or due to the status they have in the hierarchy of the profession. They do not normally mingle with the ordinary folks but maintain their own status quo and enjoy it to its utmost.
Later as a lecturer in a Women’s College, I taught 45000 of students in my career, and all ways they were informed by the previous batch of students that I was an Ex Air Hostess, and thereby among many types of information they sought from me, the life of an Air Hostess all ways popped up as their first priority.
In fact this chapter is inspired by my students whose thirst for this information all ways haunts me even after my retirement. So as I used to answer all their curious questions, now I am happy to recall and put that information in this book.
Apart from huge salary there have been umpteen other attractive package of life earnings in this profession; like we can visit all the countries in the world as we wish, meet the most important people, leaders, or celebrities in different walks of life. This profession is a continuous adventurous, challenging active and glamorous profession. As we visit number of countries we earn a lot of experiential knowledge which is not available so easily in other professions.
This job though it look like very attractive outwardly, is not an easy job, there includes many difficulties and responsibilities which can not be ignored at any moment. Its a 24×7 hours job, all ways being ready to attend the call of duty. All ways on stand-by, ready to go on job,day and night, any time. The vehicle will come and pick you up at your home within three hours of time for the duty. Usually two air hostesses will be asked to go on flight in one duty, one has to be at home as stand-by , the other on duty, when the one called for duty could not attend the due to some unavoidable circumstances the other one at home who is on stand-by duty duty should be ready to go.
The passengers should be treated as the most valuable ,receiving them in most hospitable way, mingling with the security teams in impeccable way m takesits toll through out the duty., Taking the most interest in arranging the comfortable travelling experience to the passengers through out the duty by showing their places and attending their needs requires constant alertness and sweetness of the personality in spite of any problems faced in the duty or or off the duty, should not be reflected. Some times very demanding passengers create very annoying situations to both the crew and also to the co passengers, even then the Air hostess is expected not to be disturbed in her demeanor or show her restlessness at any cost outwardly.
The SMILE on her face is the most important part of her UNIFORM along with the patience and the skill of communication in dealing with every passenger. My class teacher once said, ” When a passenger says, that ‘White is black , and black is white, you are supposed to accept it , and let it go.’ Its all most like the first rule of the duty!!—It means the Air Hostess does not show her own views or opinions in her behavior, need to be in a compromising position in her work, not creating any unnecessary problems with the customers. And behave like a cat on the wall, never expressing any thing which creates disputes.
As I was inexperienced and young with radical opinions of life at that time, I wondered, “how can it be, how can I say like that? how can I accept truth is a lie and lie is a truth? I wont agree like that..” Not knowing consequences , due to youthful boiling blood and uncompromising attitude of that age. and it strongly affects me in a funny manner in those days.
The lady crew members are known as Air Hostess, and male crew is known as Flight Purser,or Steward.
There are opportunities to get promotions in this field as Sr. Flight Attendant,
Head attendant, Chief Attendant and Chief Air hostess etc. The job period as Air Hostess is approximately 8 to 10 years, later one can opt for Ground duties as absorb as Ground Staff. Chief Air Hostess duty is to give recruitment and training to the new Air Hostesses.
To be employed as an Air Hostess, one should posess certain personal qualifications, More than academic qualifications, these persoality attributes are mostly checked for the selection and through out the profession. Mostly S.S.L.C is the basic academic qualification required in the Air India International
Air lines, where I worked. But in many other Airlines at least a graduate qualifications is required. Certificates and experience in Hotel management, tourism are additional qualifications sought by the employer. The age should be between 18-25 years only. The height should be not less than 157.5 centimeters, The weight should be correlated to the height, and its a very important criteria.
One should be very good in English speaking ability and should know Hindi and knowing any Foreign language is considered as an extra qualification..Only unmarried women are accepted to this post. Some air lines do not mind this rule that much.
The eye sight should be 6/6, and the vision of the both eyes should be perfect ,one should posses Indian Passport, or one should be Indian citizen, The skin of the face is most importantly clean, glamorous, and charming, one should maintain good physical fitness. Girls who are fatty or skinny are not chosen for this job. The outward appearance is most important and at the same time the personal qualifications are extra important. The air hostess is all ways be observed about her dealings in the Air port or in Air craft. The body moments, or body language is keenly observed and corrected too. the gestures and mannerisms should be refined. Only those who can amicably mingle with every one could be adjusted in the profession. The voice, the tone, the way we talk or communicate should be sweet and harmonious and pleasant. People with creek, high pitch voice, or tone will not be selected. One should have the conscience to deal with any situation intelligently. and able to work in teams without any disruptions, The most important thing is one should be able to take up a decision and pursue it in times of calamity for the welfare of every one.
The communication skills, the language, the fluency , the clarity, the explaining capacity is the utmost criteria in choosing an air hostess. Working with the group for hours together with out any hiccups or maladjustment while travelling miles and miles of distances is expected on duty. One should maintain good stamina, getting tired or showing the tiredness on person is not expected.
After one is selected for this post, one has to write many tests and exams to be appointed as an Air Hostess. Most of the exams are Objective or Multiple choice questions. It means the details should be on finger tips while preparing for the exams. After the exams are written successfully one will be observed in group discussions, How we participate in group discussions is very important, to participate in group discussion one should have the knowledge of the given topic, capability of expression in proper words in short time, patience to listen to other’s point of view , having respect for the opposing views and skill to convince others,etc.
But if one has an attitude of– ‘obstinate nature, or lack of universal understanding of the other’s point of views, and speaking in shriek voice to blurted out about their own opinion, empowering others by nasty remarks, or speaking loudly even though the subject is unknown to them, just to show that they too are participating in the group discussion’— is mostly objectionable and such candidates will not be spared.
Usually all of us of the same age, and mostly the topics are given in generally applicable to the duties of the Air craft the discussions used to be very active and energetic.
The topic chosen for the group discussion should be according to the profession, for example the Actors and Doctors cannot be clubbed together to discuss on a topic as ” Action or Medicine”. The topics chosen often chosen from our duty matters, and world wide knowledge of different situations.
They teach Technical as well as Non Technical issues in the training period. Like safety precautions, First Aid, Emergency cautions, etc. They also teach about the psychology of the passenger., Communication is a skill and art, salary is very high like rupees 75 thousand to one or two lakhs in the beginning.