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Flying high

education Updated: Oct 30, 2012 17:25 IST

Hindustan Times
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The lowdown

An air hostess’s primary job is to ensure the safety and security of passengers and she is specially trained and certified for safety and first-aid situations. She also has the added responsibility of making every passenger’s flight comfortable in terms of customer service. Her tasks also involve welcoming passengers on board, providing in-flight information, demonstrating emergency safety regulations and assisting old and sick passengers. An air hostess is expected to help passengers during critical situations patiently and display exemplary courage if there is an emergency. This is among a very few jobs that allows you to travel across the globe frequently, see new places and meet people from varied backgrounds. There is a cost to pay... one has to forego a major part of one’s social life. The job has its challenges, the biggest being job timings. You have to constantly adapt to different time schedules, which means altering meal times and sleep habits

3am: Cab for the airport arrives at home
3.45am: Reach airport
4am: Report to the movement office
4.15am: Attend briefing sessions and go for breathalyzer test
4.30am: Meet and greet the cockpit members and keep special instructions in mind
4.45am: Check emergency equipment on board
5am: Check cabin cleanliness and meal configuration according to the booked passenger load
5.45am: Greet and seat passengers on board
6am: Distribute complimentary water bottles or juices to passengers
6.15am: Clear up
6.20am: Flight safety demonstration
6.30am: Take off
8.30am: After landing, wish passengers good bye
9am: Go to the movement office again for a debriefing. Call it a day

The payoff
An air hostess is paid according to her experience and the airline she works for. A fresher may earn Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 25,000 per month. A head flight attendant can earn up to Rs. 50,000 per month. Major international airlines pay Rs. 80,000 to Rs. 1 lakh per month. This can differ from organisation to organisation, and the number of hours one clocks per month

* Ability to remain pleasant and presentable no matter how much the pressure
* One has to stay fit. Good skin and good eyesight are must
* Functioning as a team player
* Handling difficult situations and the ability to deal with them independently

Getting there
The minimum qualification required is Class 12. It pays to be a graduate in any field or in hotel management. Knowledge of a foreign language is an added advantage. Some air hostess training academies help you train for the job

Institutes and URLs
* Frankfinn Airhostess Training Academy (with centres across the country)
* Avalon Academy for Aviation, Mumbai

Pros and cons
* Improves people management skills and self-confidence
* One gets to explore the world
* Crazy hours. Passengers can a times be unreasonable
* Family life suffers
* Good pay package
* The industry faces the risks of hijackings, terrorism, etc

Once you learn to balance your professional and personal life, being an air hostess will become an amazing experience --Manmeet Kaur, air hostess, Indigo Airlines