Being an SQ girl may be a childhood dream for many, and it may look easy and glamorous, but it is a job that requires more than a pretty face and a great smile.
The interview process may be daunting, but passing the interview is just the first step. Unless you’ve been a cabin crew in your career, no other jobs can quite prepare you for the working environment and lifestyle of SQ girls. You might not feel like you’re cut out for the job when you first start out, but here’s a tip: as long as you understand what is required of you and work on it, it will be easier for you to get comfortable with flying and enjoy the work faster.
Need more concrete advice? Here are nine qualities SQ girls should have, based on my observations when I was an SQ girl.
Being a cabin crew is not an easy job. There is always the chance of you encountering difficult people during your work, be it crew whom you don’t get along with, or passengers with never ending demands. Other times, the people might be fine but things just go wrong such as equipment breaking down or meal service getting delayed because the prep work wasn’t done properly. And what was supposed to be a smooth flight ends up being hectic and exhausting. No matter how tough and unpleasant the flight was, you have to tell yourself to not dwell on it and put it behind you or else it might end up affecting your next flight. Besides being strong mentally, you also have to make sure that your body is strong enough to take all the late nights and irregular sleeping and eating hours. If you don’t take good care of your health and get enough rest, you might end up falling sick easily due to the frequent travelling which will make flying even harder for you.
It is essential to be humble when you are a junior crew and still starting out on your flying journey. Not only do you get to learn things faster when you ask your seniors to teach you, they will be more willing to help you when you work alongside them in a team. However, even after you have become an experienced crew, it doesn’t mean that you can be a know-it-all and be dismissive of other people’s advice. There are still things to be learned from your seniors because although yes, they might be doing the same job as you, they might have encountered different situations and might have a more efficient way of doing things or reasons for doing things a certain way. And it’s not just the seniors, you also shouldn’t put on airs around your juniors. At the end of the day, you and your colleagues are all working towards the common goal of bringing your passengers to their destination safely. Treating other crew the same way you want them to treat you means that you get to work with a happy set of crew which would make your flight so much more enjoyable.
All sorts of situations can happen on a flight. Be it passengers who want a meal choice that’s no longer available, toilet bowls getting choked, accidentally staining a passenger’s shirt with red wine, the name tag on your uniform dropping off because the needle came loose, running out of drink options, special meals that didn’t come up onto the plane etc, cabin crew should be able to think of ways to resolve the issue in a satisfactory manner. There are limited resources on a plane so you will have to be creative such as using a plaster to stick the needle back onto your name tag. If your response when you encounter a problem is to panic because you have no idea what to do, it would make your job even harder and more stressful than it already is, and would also add on more work for your colleagues who would have to end up settling your problem for you.
Crew have to complete different duties within allocated time-frames on-board, so as a crew member, you have to be able to juggle multiple things at the same time to be able to finish your duties on time. You will also need to know how to handle passenger requests during busy periods like meal services and get back to them at a later time, instead of rushing to fulfil every request at the expense of your current work. When you have a few things to do at the same time, learning how to prioritise your tasks is crucial, especially when you have to complete them within a short period of time.
Every crew has their specific duties to perform on-board and working well with your colleagues is key in ensuring that service on the flight is smooth. Those who are used to being one-man shows or are always quiet must learn to speak up and communicate with the other crew so that everyone knows what has been done or has not been done. This prevents others from doing double work or finding out something has not been done until the last minute. If someone is falling behind or is overwhelmed and needs help with their duties, you should also try to help out so that all the work can be finished on time.
SIA is well-known for its hospitality and high level of customer service. One way crew do this is by strengthening their situational awareness. One of the first things we are told to do on-board is to keep our eyes open whenever we are walking down the aisle of the cabin. This is to ensure that we don’t miss out any passenger requests or be able to take the initiative to offer help to anyone who looks like they need assistance, such as someone who is fiddling with the entertainment system handheld device. Good situation awareness also helps you to work better with your fellow crew so that you can offer help when you know that they need it.
If you are just starting out as a cabin crew, you have to be prepared to handle being corrected about your work by your seniors frequently. Those who are not used to being corrected may find it hard to accept the criticism at first and feel upset. Also, you may meet difficult passengers who give you a hard time and affect your mood. However, as you are ultimately still in the business of providing a service, you cannot let negative emotions show on your face and give a “black” face. Learn to not take things personally and you will know that you have achieved it when you are able to keep smiling no matter what is being said to you.
If you are someone who is habitually late for appointments even if it’s just for five minutes, you will definitely have to change this habit as a cabin crew. Time is of the essence when it comes to flights at the airport, so it is no wonder that it is essential for cabin crew to always be early or on-time. Besides having to be punctual when reporting for work in Singapore or overseas, crew also cannot be tardy even if they are going back to the training centre for a one-day training course.
Let’s face it, the life of a cabin crew can be quite lonely. You travel overseas with a different group of people each time, and when you are back in Singapore, it might be difficult to meet up with friends who have regular working hours. You have to get used to sleeping in different hotel rooms by alone and be fine with heading out alone in a foreign country if you didn’t manage to make plans with any of the other crew or just don’t feel like socialising. Spending time by yourself can be enjoyable as you can do the things that you truly want and not worry about having to accommodate others.