Pratikshya Rai, 36, is an In-flight Superintendent (IFS) and instructor of cabin crew in Buddha Air, Nepal. She started her career as a junior air hostess for Royal Nepal Airlines in 2000. Rai joined Buddha Air in 2002.
In conversation with Republica’sPrasansha Rimalshe shares about her inspiration, the changing perception of Nepali society towards her career and requirements to succeed as an air hostess.
What inspired to become air hostess?
As a young girl, I wanted to look good and smart. I was attracted by how other air hostesses looked and found them to be stylish. And so I also wanted to look well groomed, stylish and smart. I hadn’t thought of it as a long-term career but wanted to give it a try.
How do you manage your time from flying everyday to maintaining a family life?
I am married and have a 6-year old son. Just because you are an air hostess doesn’t mean you don’t get to spend time with your family. You need to learn to manage your schedule. You are not up in the air all the time. You can choose between the morning and day shifts. It obviously becomes difficult if you don’t have family support.
How does our society view air hostesses?
When you are an air hostess, you often make night stop when you are flying internationally or if weather gets bad. When people see you coming home late at night and leaving early in the morning, their perception towards you is not flattering. Over time, our society views this profession with respect. People now understand that being an air hostess is much more than just looking pretty.
What does it take to succeed as an air hostess?
First off, you need to learn to take care of yourself. Being fit, both mentally and physically, is a prerequisite. In addition, one must pass annual medical tests. You will also need to do well in the recurrent annual training on passenger safety on-board.
What are the requirements to be an air hostess?
It is not mandatory to take training from various institutes to be an air hostess. Even if you do, they just teach you basic things. One also needs a high school degree. Different airlines have different requirements for height and weight. For the first two years, you will have to work as junior air hostess and you will get upgraded if you do well.
What are some of the challenges in your profession?
Sometimes air hostesses do have to face technical problems due to bad weather which can be scary. You need to prepare for everything from weather changes to handling rowdy passenger.
What do you have to say to young women who would want to be air hostess?
Air hostess is a very serious profession. You are exposed to various opportunities throughout this career. If you want to pursue career in this field, it’s not easy and you will have to learn to take care of yourself. But if you follow the rules and regulations, you will be successful.