Me, the Experienced Flight Attendant (Already) Training the Newbies

So I guess I’m not a newbie flight attendant anymore.

With a new season, came my new seniority number, and now the new recruits are beginning to fly as well. In fact my recent pairing to Jamaica saw 2 new recruits working along side me (In fact I had interviewed one of them at our hiring sessions in August).

For this flight I was assigned the aft galley position, and instructed to explain everything I was doing so the new FAs could get a better understanding of exactly what needs to be done when they get assigned that job. I’ve explained the galley position in previous posts, but I’ll mention again that it is by far the busiest position onboard.

These new FAs were lucky, this was their first pairing and it consisted of a 5 and a half hour flight to MBJ where we stayed overnight and then deadheaded home the next afternoon. They had the luxury of a long flight on a short pairing to a very nice hotel in a fabulous destination.

My first real pairing was a week of 3 hour turn around flights from Winnipeg. Over Christmas.

Anyways, these two were fortunate because we had time on our side. I was able to call them over to the galley for a few minutes to demonstrate the pre-flight preparations, bar set up, loading meal carts, using the ovens, preparing hot towels, etc. I was able able to take a peek at how they were performing in the aisles and offer pointers and suggestions on how to be more efficient.  One of the first things I did that day was explain the importance of moving quickly after take off. One of my biggest mistakes at the start of first season was having the mindset of “3 hours? Pfft, plenty of time!”

It’s not.

When you don’t move fast from the get go, you quickly run out of time to deal with set backs. For example; when you have 189 pax onboard, at least 20 of them will stop an FA and ask for a question about the landing card. I learned the hard way that it’s better to get everything done fast from the get go rather than try to spread it evenly over the flight. If you’re lucky you’ll have some free time at the end. And with my airline’s level of service, it usually takes the whole flight to get everything done at my pace anyway.

Overall the whole flight was uneventful. Even though the new FAs were nervous, they did an excellent job. They asked questions when they were unsure, and that helped them out a lot. The entire crew and made them feel comfortable and supported. We only had one issue; I had a hard time getting them to take a break“

“You can take your break now, if you want”

“Well what about you? Aren’t you going to take one?”

“If I get everything cleaned up back here and there’s enough time, then yes.”

“Well I’ll help and then we can both take a break after”

“If you help we’ll still run out of time and you wont get a break. Besides there’s only one sink.”

“Well I can dump coffee or something.”

“Take you’re break, I’ve got it.”

“What about you?”

“I can rest when I’m dead.”

Yeah. I said that. Jokingly of course.

Last season this was always me. I refused to break when I thought I could help someone else finish up. Partly because I didn’t want to seem like I was slacking, but mostly because I didn’t think it was fair that the galley FA had to work so hard while everyone else got to rest. Of course when I’m actually in galley, I always have the aisle flight attendants break while I clean. It really is their only chance.

Overall the flight was a success. And the MBJ layover wasn’t bad either.

Now that all the new FAs are beginning to come online, I’ll likely be seeing a whole lot more of the galley.

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