Being an Air Hostess...

Being an Air Hostess...

People often wonder what its like being an Air Stewardess, and its so hard to explain to someone who has never done it. Its not how you imagine, not at all. So I am going to try and explain it in the best way possible or better still, give you a great way to get an insight into my (old) world!

Try to go to bed while its still light out, and you're not really tired. Make sure your neighbours are stomping around next door, and your family go about their daily business. Lay there for hours getting more and more frustrated with yourself for not being able to fall asleep. Finally drift off to sleep around 10pm, but before doing so set your alarm for 3am.

When your alarm goes off leap out of bed (then sit down again because you've made yourself feel sick), grab your make up and try and make yourself look presentable, as hard as that might be at this unearthly hour with minimal sleep. Then try and ram your contact lenses into your already tired eyes. Wait for them to sting and water and generally feel uncomfortable. Get into some sort of uniform which feels too tight, itchy and just generally uncomfortable. Next try and force some breakfast down your throat, and try and have some coffee to wake you up. Next get together your things, go outside in the freezing cold and drizzle and drive half an hour to the airport.

When you arrive at the staff car park, park up and get your things out. Walk across the car park in the cold and the drizzle and shelter at the tiny bus shelter until your bus comes. Try not to fall asleep on the short ride to the airport terminal.

When you arrive walk quickly and avoid eye contact with everyone. This is imperative, if you catch the eye of any passengers they WILL ask you stupid questions. Walk quickly to security. Remove half the clothes you've spent all morning trying to put on. Using your super Stewardess strength put all this onto the conveyor belt at staff security. Spend 5 minutes trying to negotiate your yogurt and your lipgloss through security. Walk super fast, in your six inch heels, to the crew room.

When you arrive try to look like a pro and be able to easily find yourself at sign in. Go to report station and wait. Grab your bottle to fill with water, spill it over your shoes while filling up. Return to report and realise everyone has been waiting for you. Pretend to listen while the captain tells you about the flight path and makes a joke that either nobody gets or cares about considering its only 5am. Smile. Answer two questions on First Aid, try to look like a pro when really you're racking your brains while thinking "I totally don't care and wish I was in bed". Then answer 2 questions on safety. Grab your stuff and head out into the rain, hunting for whichever stand your aircraft is on. Sods law will say it is on the stand furthest away from the crew room.

Get onboard and freeze. This is mandatory because all the doors will be open. Make safety checks and wait for passengers. Smile.

See the first passengers heading up the aisle will make your heart sink. You've been up for 4 hours but the day is just beginning. You'll be thrown into utter chaos. Passengers, by their very nature, have lost their brains somewhere between check in and boarding, so will need you to do the most basic of functions for them. You'll soon learn how to judge a bag at 25 metres ("there is NO WAY that is going to fit in the overhead bins" you'll think to yourself. And you will be right). Passengers will need to be shown their seats, how to put their bags up, will ask you all sorts of silly questions (and some sensible ones). Bags will be everywhere, limbs will be everywhere, coats will be everywhere. Nobody will be in their seats. You'll check your watch and panic about slot times. You'll try and get people into their seats. You'll arrange and re-arrange the overhead bins. You'll stare at the pile of bags that you just can't find room for and panic. People will be in the aisles and in your way. You'll be lifting and moving bags with such ease, on your six inch heels, that people will think they are as light as a feather. Your arms will kill, your wrists are breaking, and you'll be screaming inside...but you're still smiling.

The doors close, the doors are armed, the passengers are sat down and everything is calm. Until the demo video won't work. You grab a demo kit and walk, one the taxiing, bumpy plane, in your six inch heels. You'll have to point to exits, pull on oxygen masks, demonstrate life jackets. No-one is watching, but you have to smile anyway. Then its to your jumpseat for take off. Your jumpseat is mid cabin, facing the passengers, who just insist on talking to you. All you want to do is relax for 2 mins, rest your tired feet and tired body, but the passengers believe, that because the stewardess is sitting amongst them, this must be an invite for a conversation. You have to answer the same questions everyday "Is this your first flight today", "Is this your only flight today" etc etc. Soon the flight deck release the crew, and while you're excited to get away from the mindnumbing conversation, its back into the heels. Walking on an ascending plane, at an angle, in high heels is tough.

The next few hours will pass in a daze, you will serve numerous drinks, and meals. You will get up more times than you ever imagined because people will press the toilet call bell thinking it is the flush, despite it having a picture of a stewardess on it and being nowhere near the toilet. You'll have to tell people 80,000 times that the seatbelt sign is on and they cannot get up during this time. You'll be stood on your feet for 8 hours, with passengers demanding things of you left, right and centre. You'll be at the end of a massive toilet queue with everyone else. You'll be running back and forth, in your six inch heels, earning every penny of your money. And if you get to eat your food in one sitting you'll consider the day a success.

Finally you will be ready to land, the passengers will have made a total mess, be asleep in all sorts of weird and wonderful positions and you will have to wake them to get them ready for landing. You will have to tell everyone they need their belts on, you will then have to tell most of them again. You will put more tray tables and seatbacks up than you can keep count of. You will repeatedly tell people we're preparing for landing and they need to remain seated. Then you will need to tell them again. Finally the cabin will be prepared for landing, everyone is seated, belted and packed up and ready to leave. You will have to return to your jumpseat for more mundane conversation, but its ok this time, because you'll be getting rid of them all soon, the shift will be over and you can almost feel the soft hotel pillow against your head.

The plane lands, everyone stands up while taxiing and you'll have to jump up and scold them for standing, reminding them how dangerous it is, and make them sit down and belt up. The seatbelt sign will go off and everyone stands up immediately. Bags and people everywhere, phones beeping to life, people on the phone uttering the same boring lines "Yes, I've just landed". As they all leave you'll repeat the line "Thank you, Goodbye" more times than you'll care to remember, with the best fake smile plastered all over your face. As the flow eases and the passengers take a break from coming at you you'll drop the smile and rest your face. As soon as another comes into view its back on with the fake smile.

Once they are all gone, you'll close up the trolleys, grab your stuff and head off the plane and head home/to the hotel. Its been fifteen hours since you got up this morning. Heels off, uniform off, make up off. Into bed, set an alarm and sleeeeeeeep.