Marta has been living in the United Arab Emirates for a number of years and employed on international flights as a flight attendant. She was born in Belarus in a small town and she says she felt a little too constrained. She used to read travelling papers, watched the train cars leaving the station, and hoped to get a job and travelling opportunity. Marta has already visited more than 50 countries and will not hesitate.
It all started with a childhood dream.
My dad always went on business trips and I always wanted him to take me with him. When he decided, “Yeah, let’s go to Poland.” But my hopes were dashed the next morning: there was no visa for my Belarus passport. The first time I went abroad was when I was studying in school— it was the usual trip to Europe, “five countries in a week.”
How I got the job
There were reports that some girls were only travelling around the world, earning a lot of money. I applied online and was invited for an interview two months later. There were about 100 contestants, each one was very beautiful. There were fewer and fewer girls left after each point, and in the end, there were only five of us. In the final interview, I didn’t do well. I was almost recruited, but then I got a letter telling me that I wasn’t and that happened twice.
But on my third attempt, I was successful. In the meeting with me, there were about 200 other candidates: people from other nations, people who did not get the job during their first try, and others. In the final interview, there were 30 people left. Three weeks later, I got the answer, “You’re invited to stay. I was ready to move: I had a card, $200, and my contract photocopy.
My first flight
There is a tradition of being introduced to the pilots. They asked me millions of questions when I came in, such as who I was, where I came from, and why I wanted this role. I reacted and then I saw a toilet on one of the screens linked to it by CCTV footage. The pilots were like, “Didn’t you know that all around the plane we had cameras?”I blushed, tried to conclude the conversation as quickly as possible and left the cockpit. I didn’t go to the bathroom until somebody told me it was just a screen with a pre-downloaded image until the end of the flight.
You start with the economy class.
Everybody begins with economy class— this is where you get better, mentally as well as physically: 3 hours of working on your feet and running around the plane. We only have words in our vocabulary such as chicken meat, tea coffee, and… We haven’t got this. But with a business-class pie, we could easily relax a disgruntled passenger.
A little while ago, some economic class flight attendants are invited for a business class interview, and if you’re doing well, you’re planning a new session. You’re told there to see more variation in wine types than just colour, choose the right bottles, prescribe drinks for specific foods, and use more “complicated” terms than yes and no.
You can go further to the first level of the business class. And then you’ll have another practice where you’ll be trained to service the table, speak to VIP clients, and there you’ll know the geographical and years difference between wines. There are 8-12 people in the whole room in first class, and the 2014 New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is served with salmon on a beautiful plate in a cream sauce with broccoli. “Mr. Prime Minister, strong appetite.”
Preparation of flight attendants
The aircraft was sinking but it took us only 90 seconds to evacuate everybody and get out of the aircraft itself. By sliding down the emergency ramp, no one got hurt, quite the opposite, everyone was saved. During the preparation, this was our first practical task: the ocean was fake and the ramp was actual. To retain their flight certificate, all flight attendants must do this training once a year.
We put on anti-smoke masks after that and put a real fire out in a fake cabin on the flight. They yell to the passengers, “Drop your seat belts, put on your life jackets!”We dive into the” ocean “and swim towards an inflatable raft, discuss our action plan, use the words of aviation, give SOS signals, “survive” in the desert, in the jungle, and at the North Pole.