Published On: August 10, 2017 12:46 PM NPT
There is more to being a cabin crew than meets the eye.
There is a big misconception when it comes to the job of a cabin crew member in an aircraft. People think it’s simply about smiling and greeting the passengers as they get on and off the airplane. Of course they seem quite fabulous with their makeup on point and a sleek uniform. But a closer look at their daily lives shows that there is more to being a cabin crew than simply picking the right lipstick tone.
As with any other department at Buddha Air, the first priority for cabin crew is the safety of the passengers. Service comes secondary as the cabin crew members make sure that all the passengers are comfortable and feel safe on flight. Most of the times, service and hospitality might even need to be compromised when the situation calls for it. In order to be ready for any emergency scenario, the cabin crew needs to go through an intense training period before flying up in the air. “Each flight attendant goes through training courses lasting a month and a half.” says Bhawani Shankar Shrestha, Executive Manager of Cabin Crew department at Buddha Air. Shrestha has been training cabin crew members for decades now but makes sure that each of the cabin crew members are well qualified in all aspects that is required.
The trainings that are provided to the cabin crew includes everything from practicing evacuation from airplanes during an emergency to dealing with all kinds of passengers onboard. It is a must for the cabin crew to be able to deal with all kinds of passengers, young and old. “We receive very diverse passengers in flight. Some might be flying for vacation, business or even in grievance. So it is necessary to learn how to deal with each individual. Even during the selection process, we check to see the attitude of the potential candidates. Sometimes we deliberately frustrate them during interviews to see how they interact under stress.” says B S Shrestha. Learning to be tolerant and maintaining safety during the flight is a must for the cabin crew.
All the trainings that are provided must meet the standard provided by Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN). Just as the pilots receive certificates to fly the aircrafts, air hostesses are also allowed to fly as a member of the cabin crew only after they receive their certificates from CAAN.
At Buddha Air, commitment to safety means that some of the traditional rules had to change. Such as the uniforms, in order to ensure comfort and easy movement for the cabin crew members, heels are no longer required as the standard uniform code. Even skirts are outdated. Now the cabin crew members wear pants and flat shoes that meet the standard uniform code but are comfortable enough to walk around in. This is to ensure that in case of emergencies, heels and skirts do not obstruct movement for quick action.
Keeping in line with their need for safety first, that wasn’t the only policy that Buddha Air changed. Previously, if a cabin crew member wished to get married and start a family, she had to leave her job no matter how good she was at it. But today, this rule has gone out the window.
Buddha Air invests a lot in training their cabin crew members for quality service. That is why a few years ago, they changed their policy of letting go of air hostesses planning for parenthood. These women with years of experience were just too valuable to let go of. Pratikshya Rai became the first air hostesses to return back to work with Buddha Air after giving birth to her son. “We have groomed our cabin crew members to provide the best services. But it is also their right to get married and start a family. So when we decided to change the policies, many of our cabin crew members were excited to return and indeed this has benefitted the company even more.” says BS Shrestha.
Today Buddha Air has 46 crew members flying in their aircrafts. With the new addition of an ATR72-500, they are adding more members to the team. “Each new cabin crew member will go through the same trainings before they go into the flights.” says BS Shrestha.
Maintaining a bright smile and serving guests may seem like a simple task to passengers who board the flights. But to the cabin crew members, behind these smiles lies the commitment to safety and security that makes Buddha Air one of the best examples of high quality assurance.
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