Traveling is for sure one of the best things in the world, but have you ever thought about the persons who make it possible? Being a flight attendant is much more than serving coffee during a flight, and Amel Sayed can prove it!
In an interview to Her Campus Cásper Líbero, Amel - an Egyptian flight attendant with experiences all around the world - opens up about what is like living between the clouds. She revealed in full all the challenges and peculiarities of this profession.
Training and Valuations
Amel Sayed starts the interview revealing all the process she got through in her way to become a flight attendant, and if it could be resumed in one word, it certainly would be demanding. Surrounded by 40 days of high intense training, jungle survival tests, and first aid classes, Amel got through a mix of feelings and sensations.
The former flight attendant revealed that by the time she was joining the profession, she faced some unimaginable things, like feeling as if she was joining a beauty pageant. According to Amel, the flight companies used to have really strict requirements, like minimum and maximum weight, “believe it or not, they even evaluate your dental arch”.
During the interview, Sayed made clear by saying that nowadays the requirements are - fortunately - less stringent. She told that some claims can be explained, “the minimum height, because of the necessity of reaching the luggage rack”, for example. However, she pointed out that others were pointless. “I remember that over some valuations I felt like a mare who was being sold to a farmer. It was very uncomfortable.”
Due to the high number of claims, a crucial doubt comes in: is the wage proportional to all the effort in being a flight attendant? Amel answered with an audible and expressive “yes”. She revealed that besides a fixed wage, the flight attendants receive rewards based on flight hours and shift (morning/night).
Coupled up to that, Sayed highlighted how this labour market is saturated, and standing out between lots of candidates is becoming increasingly difficult. She emphasized the necessity of getting as most qualifications as it´is possible. Amel used herself as an example: she already speaks 5 languages and is starting to learn the sixth.
When asked about being a woman into this labour market, the Egyptian happily said “most of the companies gladly have their crew composed of an expressive number of women. I know we live in a sexist and unfair society, but, fortunately, in this career women have a fair space”.
Living between the clouds doesn't mean you are only going to have dreams, and the Egyptian can prove it. During the interview, Sayed pointed out some difficulties faced by flight attendants. She started by the crazy routine and difficulties of maintaining relationships. “I have lots of colleagues who suffer a lot when trying to establish relationships with people on the ground. It's hard to deal with when your friends stop inviting you because of your crazy schedules”, she told.
Amel also underscored the challenges stored on the unpredictable. Every flight is a singular experience, and the flight attendant needs to be prepared. As the former flight attendant told “you never know what is coming next. I already faced some really crazy situations while traveling, like heart attacks and prisons. A good and stable mental health is needed, because if you are not prepared, you just panic”.
If heart attacks and prisons were not enough, Sayed reveals that things inside an airplane can get even weirder. The flight attendant revealed some interesting things that happen backstage, like gossip between the crew and flight attendants crying while listening to sad romantic stories from passengers.
The peculiarity, is the constant risk of an airplane crash. Sayed said that she's not worried about it, but there is one almost death experience she will never forget. “During a routine flight the airplane had an electrical and hydraulic crisis, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing. The entire airplane shut down, and even the mechanicals, while fixing it, didn’t understand how we remain alive”, she vented.
And for the ones who still think that being an flight attendant is easy, Amel reveals “while traveling you develop some unimaginable abilities, like recognizing drug mules. When a person spends a long term flight without ingesting nor food or water, we use to call the Federal Police. It's typical from drug mules to avoid food as a way to delay the digestive process.”
The article above was edited by Nicole Leslie.
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