Tag Archives: training

Buckle up buttercup!

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Oh my how the chips have fallen… So last time I was here I was applying for my crew visa, right? -quick check of past posts- Yup! Also hunting for cabin bags. Well I’m happy to report that all this has been sorted out and not only do I have two shiny new cabin bags but also my passport back with the visa inside. Yay!

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Next couple items on the list were the medical/security interview/uniform fitting and the online pre-course learning. Can I just say that, for the record, the security interview is not nearly as nerve-wrecking as the name implies? Really it’s just a series of painfully common sense questions. Answer, sign and boom you’re done!  Frankly the medical was more fun if only by virtue of taking place on a couple of different rooms. It’s what you might expect: they check your weight, your height, your blood pressure, all the usual. Oh and the eyes too! I’m led to believe that it’s not much different from the average doctor check-up. I wouldn’t know since I’m of the opinion that unless you’re dying then you can probably sort it out yourself at home.

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Then again, I’m a disturbingly healthy young woman who hasn’t had anything more serious than a stomach bug in decades. Even the doctor examining me was surprised at my lack of hospital visits. Come on mate! Are you telling me people here rush to the GP at the slightest sniffle? Of course there was also the fun part that involved needles… They check your immunisation record and top you up with any ones you might be missing. Judging by what some of the other people in the waiting room told me, I got off easy with only three injections. I’d say I got off easy because the only side-effects I got from that roller coaster were a little nausea that evening and a two day cramp on my left arm (where two of the three injections were done). To quote my mother, the nurse was rather heavy handed when armed with a syringe. Also, apparently, it’s weird if you don’t start crying when the needle pinches you? I didn’t know! I mean, sure, as a child I could be heard through walls with how loud I was screaming every time someone tried to give me a vaccine, but I was six! At most! Unless you have a debilitating fear of needles (in which case my heart goes out to you, nasty little buggers those needles…) why would you act like you’re an extra in Friday the 13th? But I digress!

The uniform fitting was infinitely more fun. Related imageIt felt a little that scene in Cinderella where the mice fix her dress, and not just because I really felt like a different person when I stood in front of the mirror in full uniform. You really do get to try everything and I was lucky enough to get the correct size on all items on the first try. That ought to teach you Mr. Wardrobe (I have no idea what the poor guy’s actual job title is, but he was in charge of helping us newbies to sort out our uniform)! When a lady tells you she’s an eight, you don’t doubt her word! What? You thought I’d not know my dress size? -indignant sniff- All joking aside, he was really nice. Even offered me jaffa cakes! And the uniform itself is for the most part very comfortable. For all that I like tight clothes in the summer, if I’m going to do anything as physically demanding as a cabin crew job then I want to be able to move freely in my clothes. And look pretty in them, I suppose…

My personal highlights had to be the service vest and the coat. Weird choices, I know, but the vest made my figure look like I was wearing a corset. Without the discomfort of actually wearing a corset. What more can a girl ask. And the coat? The coat was W.A.R.M. Anyone who has met me knows that I get easily cold. And I don’t mean chilly. I mean “can’t feel her fingers and toes” cold. But that baby? It felt like I was wearing a duvet with sleeves. And yes, I may have daydreamed about that on occasion.

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My only real issue was the suit jacket. It looks gorgeous yeah but I don’t know what was going through the designer’s brain when he came up with because it is sooooo restricting! As in, if it’s buttoned (like it’s supposed to be) I can’t lift my arms more than 30 degrees. Pretty sure the guys don’t have that problem… Thankfully we don’t have to wear it in the cabin , during service, when most of the heavy lifting and moving about would happen but it still feels like the sort of detail that should have been taken into account. The only thing I was not able to try on were the trousers. Apparently lady-cabin crew are expected to wear the skirt part of the uniform exclusively for a certain period of time, though we can request to wear trousers further down the line.

Usually I’m not one to scream sexism all over the internet. I am aware that I have joined a profession that is woefully backward in terms of gender equality, never mind their fondness of mostly showing female employees in their promotional material. If you think I’m exaggerating, the Guardian wrote a pretty interesting article last year on the ongoing “Trouser Wars”. The fact that women were “allowed” to wear trousers only last year, and even then under very limiting conditions is telling I think. Call me foolishly optimistic but I didn’t imagine the question of uniform trousers would actually be an issue. My mother worked cabin crew when I was a child and I only remember seeing her in trousers when she was in uniform. And that was in Greece, around seventeen years ago. Mr. Wardrobe explained it away when I asked as “most women prefer the skirt because it looks more stylish” and “the trousers aren’t very well made”. Far be it from me to sound like a conspiracy theorist but if the trousers are really not as well-made, then it sounds like an incredibly male reasoning of “they’ll have to wear the skirts if the trousers are terrible”. To which I reply, if my choice is freeze while looking pretty because I landed a, say, Moscow flight in January, or look a little less chic and not lose all sensation below the knee, then you bet your XY chromosome I’ll pick the trousers. No doubt this is a subject I’ll pick up again in the future, but for now, with things picking up speed, not even stubborn lingering traces of misogyny can ruin my mood.

I just finished my pre-training course last night too. Yes, that is a thing and I suspect my instructors during the actual training are forever grateful they don’t have to cover the basics with us and can move to what, I imagine, will be the more practical how-to of the job.

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Meanwhile I am (again) taking a page out of my childhood idol’s book and take notes on everything. Sure, it slows down my progress through the modules but at least I’ll have something to fall back to when my mind inevitably blanks and I’m left staring at acronyms in desperation and incomprehension. Also, it’s easier to revise when all the highlights are in the same place. Whether that’s a leftover of my school years or not, I know that if I want to remember something I need to write it down, preferably in multiple colours. Then I just picture the pages and scan for what I actually need. Mind palace? Ha! I have a library. Eat your heart out Sherlock! -ahem- No, but seriously. When the training starts and we are being tested every day it’ll be so much easier. Anyway, enough rambling about my studying habits!

I actually got the e-mail with the information regarding the first week of training (where we get our attestation, which is why they N.E.W.T. us) on my birthday, a few days ago. Pretty awesome timing I think. I have fifty pages of coursework to crunch through before we start (EXCITEMENT!) and my schedule which is kinda weird. We have eight modules to do over six days but we won’t be doing them in consecutive order. I don’t get it. Is it an aviation thing? An English thing? Their way to keep us on our toes? I’ve already asked a friend to hold my book so that I can actually test myself before the terrifying official tests. Just need to print out the handout, which I’ll be doing very soon. I need to finish the Aviation Medicine pre-training before I get started with that, but it shouldn’t take me more than a day. Then I have until the 24th to work through the handbook. Easy stuff!

Anyway, I need to sign off. I’ve been hanging out at the coffee shop a little to long. The lunch crowd is starting to descend and I’m taking up one of the bigger tables. It has plugs! Sue me! And anyway, I have a belated birthday outing this evening so I need to get some chores out of the way before I go about making myself pretty for the public.

Peace out!

 

Status report Mr Chekov!

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Alright, yes, Chekov would probably not be the one to give the status report…

THAT DOESN’T COUNT!

Anyway! I’m listening to Cabin Pressure and updating you lot on the latest and bizarre-est in my life. So what have I been up to? Well, I officially have my US visa sorted and it should be arriving at my doorstep either today or tomorrow, my spiffy new cabin bags arrived yesterday and medical is in ten days. It’s getting real! (finally!)

I gotta say though, with all the build-up and the pages upon pages of relevant instruction, the actual visa interview process was…boring. I’m not kidding. Disregarding the ungodly wake-up call I had to set in my alarm in order to be there on time (8 in the morning! That was my appointment time! Cruel and unjust, that’s what this sort of thing is called.), the overall process mostly consisted of standing on a queue. One might argue it’s a test of character I suppose. -shrug- It might have been easier if I had actually slept the night before. Unfortunately my insomnia appears to have returned (-insert with a vengeance joke here-). After a mostly sleepless night the two coffees I had time to drink did precious little to keep me alert. Well more alert than “watch out for cars, speak English”.

Then there was the absolute hilarity of buying suitcases. The gods were merciful and my hold luggage was appropriately boring (read: black with no stickers) so I only needed a cabin bag and a topper. And let me tell you, cabin bags? Easy peasy to find. Toppers? Not quite as much. Here’s the thing! None of the places that sell suitcases and bags (that I checked) actually call them toppers. I only had hearsay and a few scraps of common sense to guide me in my hunt.

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I did have some help. A fellow starter sent me a pic of the topper she got, so off I was to Debenhams to get it too! I didn’t. Why? Because the company making them, in their infinite wisdom, discontinued that particular line (in black only. They still make the design in other colours). Because truly, why continue making the colour most people are likely to buy. Folks, it’s things like this that stopped me into getting into business. I just don’t get it! Obviously I got a different one, black, just as boring, and looking like an oversized lunchbox.

I’ve also met quite a few people starting at the same training date as I. I’m only going to say that this sort of male-female ration I’ve only seen in my Austen and the Brontes module back in my undergrad. And that I will withhold further judgement until I’ve actually met everyone face to face. Until then, exchanging tips on Facebook it is.

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Speaking of…how is that movie (and Cabin Pressure for the matter) NOT required preparatory material. I mean yeah…parody and dabbling with the absurd aside… they are also a pretty good collection of everything that could possibly go wrong in a flight. Never mind the annoying passenger who won’t put up their tray. What do you do when you run out of coffee mid-flight? I’m genially curious.

But that’s all for now. And I need to go fix lunch soon-ish, so I’ll sign out for now.

See y’all later!

That moment when you land back to Earth…

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I’ve been off the grid here for a while now, haven’t I? Mostly because there are only so many ways I can talk about what it’s like to drudge through a fairly boring day-today, with only the occasional spike in my anxiety to spice things up. But now… now I have Stuff to look ahead to. Pretty sure I mentioned here, what feels like centuries ago, that I was jousting with the pre-employment processes of British Airways. Well! I am delighted to report that I have officially exited that circle of Hell and my life is back on some semblance of track! So what have I been up to these past few months?

Not much really, until I got that blessed e-mail, informing me of my start date. THAT is when things got interesting! Suddenly I had a timeline and a list of things that needed to be completed. Things like finding a new place, filling out a few last pieces of paperwork, booking my medical appointment, sorting out my visa, packing… Oh gods, the packing! My new place is slightly closer to Heathrow, though each really a temporary solution until I get to flying full time and some other things get sorted out… Medical is all booked and I just need to fill out the paperwork I need to present and show up looking pretty and healthy. (Lot’s of fruits and veggies for me in the near future!) The US visa is the one that closest to being at 100% done, mostly because my appointment is next Monday. I’ve also had to hunt down a pair of court shoes and update my closet (my bank account is currently in deep mourning over that fact). The shoes should arrive at the store any day now and once I have them, they will replace my slippers inside the house. Because, let’s be honest. New shoes will hurt your feet the first few times you were them. In my case, it’s usually my heel that takes the brunt of that and I’ve hobbled back home on bleeding feet often enough to know that this is not something I want happening on the first day on the job. As for the wardrobe update….that was one of the few times I went shopping unwillingly. Left to my own devices I’d spend the majority of my life dressed either in PJs or the sort of clothes you’d find in a fantasy show (stakes and magical swords optional). In other words, my office-appropriate outfits could be counted in one hand. And I have anywhere between four and six weeks of training in which I’m expected to show up in office chic. You do the math dear reader.

Speaking of wardrobe updates, here’s a funny thing that happened the other day. I had ordered a few t-shirts online. When the parcel finally arrived (with an unexpected customs charge and wasn’t that fun…) I realised there were a few extra t-shirts on top of the stuff I had ordered. A few e-mails with the company later and here’s what I learnt. Another customer’s order was accidentally packed with mine. Now, under different circumstances I’d roll my eyes at this show of disorganisation. But! It just so happened that the person in question had ordered designs I was planning on getting myself whenever I had money to spare next. And I get to keep them. So no. I’m not complaining. In fact I may have done a mini happy dance on my bed when they told me I didn’t have to return the extras. 😀

What else, what else… I’m trying to motivate myself to exercise a bit more and touch up my German. Neither being activities I particularly enjoy so I haven’t exactly been successful so far. I tell myself to walking around counts for something and my scales seem to agree but unfortunately  that does very little for my flexibility. Looks like I’ll have to look up some yoga tutorials or cheat-sheets or something…. And I need to look into the whole luggage situation. I may have to buy a new cabin bag but given my finances currently looking like they are in their inglorious death-throws I’ll have to put that off for later. And pray there’ll be a huge sale when I get around to actually buying it. I kept getting the feeling that I’m going to school again and let me tell you it’s not just the excitement of learning something new, it’s not just the word “training” being thrown around like spare change, it’s not just meeting other people with the same brand of crazy as me. It’s the avalanche of expenses that come with it. I mean yeah, it’s exciting expenses. Made less exciting by the fact that I am not dragging my mother down the aisle of a store, throwing everything that catches my eye on the cart and not worrying about paying the bill in the end. #thingsImissfrommychildhood

….

My conscience informs me that that is what being an adult means. To which I reply:

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(How cute is that cat?)

-ahem- Yeah….

Well this is at the stage where my rambles cease to be even slightly coherent, so I’m gonna sign out.

See y’all soon. Hopefully.