Alright alright, I see you~ Though I wonder why you’re not sleeping yet since it starts at 9am. Anxiety? Or you’re up too early? Anyways, you should be there about 8:15 or 8:30am. Come anytime after 10, and you’re guaranteed to queue until at least 2pm (for just Round 1 of at least 3 rounds). If you come early, at least you get your shot early and can leave early.
Advice, you say? I’m here to share. What is the internationally-acclaimed airline looking for in their cabin crew? Do you have what it takes?
Now that I have your attention. I apologize for taking the whole day for this post cause my godpa invited me to go to M’sia with him and a few friends for praying and makan~
Be yourself. You need to BE it. Not fake it out just so you land the job cos it WILL be hard on you later on and you will want to quit before your bond ends and you’ll have to end up forking out S$10k to terminate your bond. Not worth it ya? What do I mean by “it”?
The following are MY own words or advice. You can always choose to just follow your heart.
Looking good helps. But it’s not everything. Note that messy/gappy teeth and scars (especially those on the wrist which indicate a former suicide attempt. Small cuts & grazes are fine.) which can be seen will have you booted out in round 1. Same goes for unkempt hair. And bad skin. Solve those problems before you decide to go for the interview k? In this job, people DO judge you by appearance, more often than you’d like. These are some other qualities that you should have that makes you stand out (& make them want to shove that kebaya into your arms) among the hundreds of thousands of hopefuls in that interview hall:
- Passion to serve. Cliched, yes, but so very true. You need to love helping people. The tools are there. Food, drinks, milk bottles, diapers, letter pads, what-have-yous, and your brain. Free of charge. Provided. You don’t have to pay for them. It’s just a matter of how you use them to help your passengers. And nothing means more than a genuine sincerity in wanting to give the best to your passengers.
- Love being with people. This is essentially a PR job, not just serve food and drinks. Your duty is to get these humans, these PEOPLE, from point A to point B and make that journey as happy and comfortable as you possibly can.
- Be a great actor. You WILL get shouted/screamed at. For nothing. Chances are, it’s not your fault. But you get yelled at anyway. You WILL need to exercise great acting skills and patience to be apologetic first (and I mean “Sorry” FIRST, no matter what) and find out what is wrong, then resolve the passenger’s problems.
- Be assertive when the time calls for it. And by this I mean emergencies – evacuations, medical emergencies, anything. Know when to tell someone to stop if you are being molested. They want a confident chick who isn’t just pretty in a kebaya, but not easily messed with as well.
- Speak well. Especially English. Try a Ris Low, and you can basically see where you are (not) headed. If you can’t see it, may I suggest one thing? Don’t bother trying for the interview.
- Carry yourself well. Do not be a worm and fidget machiam there’s a vibrator in you. Stand tall, stand straight. Walk properly without dragging your feet, and when you talk to the interviewer, look them in the eyes.
- Corporate wear will do just fine. No hip hip baggy jeans and huge FEAR sweaters.Don’t even think of going in jeans. (Though I went for mine in one then…I’ve been told by some crew that jeans were considered “inappropriate” and “too casual”.) Guys, shirt, tie, pants, proper work shoes. And you’re good to go.
- Enjoy the interview! Talk to the interviewers, laugh, tell them things, chat with them! They want to see if you have that personality to hold a conversation. You will be talking to passengers a lot, and they don’t want someone rigid, grouchy, with no sense of humour, and worse still, stoic, to leave a bad impression on the passengers.
- Just be yourself. They want to see if you are what they want. They’ll be doing you a favour if they do not choose you. Because it WILL be hard, though not impossible, for you to change yourself to suit the job. Find a job which suits you, and in time to come, you will be earning more than what this company pays. 😉
These are the few pointers I have to offer. So you know if you make the cut, instead of just going for every single interview they hold *once in a while and keep getting booted out.
*Especially after July since this is when bonuses are given out and LARGE NUMBERS OF CABIN CREW quit after taking the money. This will result in a serious lack of crew, especially FSS – stewardesses (turnover rate is the highest for stewardesses, many quit every month, and many more want to come in). Each flight has a minimum number of crew required for operations so not enough FSS means there’ll be cases of flights with too many supervisory crew. (I’ve been on one of those crazy flights – there were 3IFS/S, 5CS/S, 7LS/S, 1 poor steward plus 2 stressed out stewardesses including yours truly. Imagine the tension.) Then recruitment drives come and you see huge ads on the papers asking you to join the prestigious airline.
Yes, you heard me, many people quit after taking the bonus. After all, you helped the company earn those profits, didn’t you? It’s right that you take the few months’ worth of bonuses, THEN leave, right? Why quit? You ask. Many reasons, darlings.
Unless it is your ultimate dream to be an air stewardess, most people are there, and have stayed there (really, to be very honest) for the money. You’ve read it on their recruitment ads. An average of S$3.5k remuneration per month. Sometimes 2k, sometimes even 6k, depending on how “heng” you are with the roster. Other than the money, of course comes with it breakfast in Singapore and lunch in London, entering the office door in Singapore to leave the same door at Tokyo. How cool is that right?
Also, unless you’re VERY lucky to have had great batchmates (aka classmates) who stay close long after graduation, or made many very good friends in the airline, I must warn you that it can be a lonely job. Gone are the days of team flying, where you often fly with the same set of crew which over time, you bond with. Every flight begins in the briefing room with a series of handshakes and “I’m Silver, pleased to meet you.” Once in a while, you see a familiar face whom you’ve flown with before (but somehow couldn’t remember the name), or you meet someone whom you’ve had dinner with in Seoul a year back (and that was the last time you guys saw or spoke to each other). If you’re damn heng, you meet a kaki, and that, I assure you, will be a GREAT start to your flight. Which also means you can arrange to go shopping or makan and have great fun together when you get to your destination. I know I’ve been ecstatic each time I know I’m flying with a familiar face / good friend (Corine or Sherine, to name 2 ^.^ There are, of course, a few others.)
Culture Shock. Be prepared for it. This is like army-boot-camp-strict, so for the guys who think they’ve finally graduated from that institution of strict rules and discipline, think again.
Hair? Black or dark brown only, in other words, au naturel. Insist on dyeing it? Spray it black. EVERY flight. Guys? Short. And I mean SHORT. No long fringe (chop chop!) or sideburns. And kiss the below looks goodbye.
BMI? 21 and below, or chances are you’ll get singled out to be monitored, and in severe cases (we DID have them), you will be grounded. Meaning taken off all your flights (which means there goes your allowances), and put to do miscellaneous paper work or something in mainland Singapore, UNTIL you get back to the desired weight.
Watch? No Marc Ecko, or Baby G, or other fancy watches. Basically, not even your regular swatch watch. Not even a plain all white watch. It HAS to be black, brown, silver, gold, or if I’m not wrong, maybe dark blue as well. That’s all. And oh! The watch face MUST NOT be bigger than a 50cent-coin. Basically, think office-y. The watch should complement your uniform, which makes you look more professional. =)
Contact lenses are a must. So is make-up. And red nail polish. And bobby pins. And hairspray/other hairstyling products. (No company reimbursement on these products okay?)
The following may shock some: No talking on the mobile while you are mobile. Which is to say, you can’t walk and talk (or even sms) at the same time. Nope. Not even if your grandma/mother/husband/girlfriend calls. Or if you wanna call them while walking to the gate cos once you reach the gate you gotta get into the aircraft and start working your ass off. Nope. Cannot. 不可以. They probably don’t want you to forget your decorum whilst on the phone. Some crew have been written in (by other crew *rolls eyes*) and they have had to go back to office on their off days to do an explanation, or been given demerit points. Which doesn’t make any sense to me since SO MANY crew have been seen SMOKING in PUBLIC AREAS and NOTHING have been done to them (because so many of those who do it are SENIOR RANKING CREW – the greens, reds, and purples). Read the next point.
No smoking in uniform, though you will find many bad examples at T3 arrival pick-up point. Look at it this way, you represent the Singapore Girl, an icon more recognized than, say, Zoe or Fann, or maybe even some Hollywood stars. People see a stewardess in the signature kebaya and go “That’s one of the best airlines in the world~” I’m not exaggerating. I heard it myself and gawked (inside of course, couldn’t show that gawking expression while I’m in uniform, can I? 形象~~~）”Impeccable service” and “Which airline is that? Their uniform is so elegant~” are some other comments you will hear as you saunter past people. Of course, I’ve heard a common one which never failed to make me want to laugh and cry at the same time: “Are you girls going for a dance performance?” Whatever it is, the uniform attracts attention. So be prepared to upkeep your decorum AT ALL TIMES. And seeing a SQ crew smoke in uniform is not one of it. I fell victim to it for a couple of months. Later on, I realized that a stewardess smoking in uniform resembles painfully like those Shanghai hookers in cheongsam in the 30s. Tak glam la~~~
Anyway, just don’t smoke la. I don’t have to say much – you KNOW why you shouldn’t.
BE PREPARED – WHAT YOU MIGHT NEVER EXPERIENCE UNTIL YOU SIGN THAT CONTRACT…
Though the following may not apply to all, it applied to MANY…
You start to lose your values. In other words, you start to change. Ask any senior crew, and they will share with you how you must really learn how to say no and be firm if you don’t want to lose yourself, which many do. Non-smokers start smoking (I DETEST it, yet I picked it up then, just a few months before I quit. Thank god I’ve stopped shortly after I quit flying. It stinks, spoils my image, wastes money, and dirties my room. I STILL don’t like the idea of it.)
You start to think nothing of sleeping around. Why I say so is because I know countless examples of stewards (attached, some for years) sleeping with other stewardesses. And I mean COUNTLESS examples. I know of too many. And these stewards have other halves which are NOT in the company, so these poor girls can’t check their bfs’ or husbands’ (god forbid) rosters to see if there is a name which appears in his crew list consistently. Conducive, I must say – the rooms are free and readily available. Yes, there are rules saying you are NOT to go to the rooms of any members of the opposite sex, except maybe if that’s your other half. But no one is governing that rule. Unless something happens, like a reported case of rape (countless examples of cry-rape in the past year, if you ask me). Ah~~ THEN the company will come in and investigate. Which usually turns out ugly. Also, there is always the number one excuse of “expensive telephone bills” so the bf won’t call and the considerate gf won’t call either so his phone bills don’t explode.
Here’s one tip: Girls, try Skype or Sunpage. Calling his hotel room number using Skype or Sunpage means it’s damn cheap for you, and it’s free for him. 😉
The above can be the other way round too k? Meaning it’s the girl who sleeps around. Heck, I even know crew who fucks around when their other half is ALSO flying. (Can be on the same flight somemore…*faint*)
Oh, of course there are the single guys and girls in the airline who don’t give a damn who they bed. They will try all sorts of methods to come into your room and bunk in with you. Below are a few (real-life) examples:
- Calls your room. Tells you that he/she has cooked porridge and asks you to go over to his/her room to eat.
- After a tanning session at the Maldives, call your room to say he/she has aloe vera gel for sunburns and asks if you would like some. Then when he/she comes over to pass the said gel, offers to “help” you apply.
- Calls to tell you he/she is bored. And whether you would like to chill together. Like can he/she come over to watch TV. (Machiam their room don’t have.) Then when you ignore him/her and goes to sleep on your own bed, you suddenly find an arm wrapping itself around your body. ~.~”
Be prepared for a damn bitchy environment. Yes, it still exists. Especially if you’re damn good at your work / damn chio / damn popular / damn anything, you will be talked about. And most times, people find it easier to speak only about the bad. Human nature? Though they could just advise, or let the said party know what they’re not happy about – I think transparency goes a longer way. The airline would be a much nicer place to work for if everyone’s genuinely nice around (and behind) each other. And IF you have a foul mouth, please don’t go join the airline. Go write the tabloids or something, okay? Or better still, train yourself to be nice. It will become a habit after a while. =)
OF COURSE, THERE ARE PERKS & GREAT STUFF TOO!!!
Okay, enough of the discouragement. Other than the above points, it is a great job. Trust me, I really enjoyed my time as a stewardess. I quit because of my opportunity to return to the media industry, which is still my first love.
You only work on the way there and back. Rest of the time outstation and in Singapore? Free and Easy!!! You can eat/sleep/shop/play games/watch TV/do whatever you want! You don’t bring your work home. You shop EVERYWHERE. Coach and Abercrombie from the US, Miumiu from Milan, H&M from wherever, face masks from Seoul (trust me, these things are so much cheaper in their mother country – save money!). You see and meet all sorts of people. You get to eat great food onboard for free like gorgonzola, smoked salmon, and sometimes, maybe even Wagyu beef (if the first class passenger orders something else or chooses not to eat!). Food and drinks provided onboard. Free use of the gyms at most hotels (save on gym membership!). You don’t have to clean up your own mess in your hotel room cos there’s always Housekeeping. You get paid to see the world.
And the best part? When passengers come up to you and shake your hand, thanking you for what a wonderful flight they had. I had a passenger send a card to the office requesting that it be delivered to my home. In it was a nice long message telling me how I brightened up his day and that it was one of the most wonderful flights he has had and how I was an asset to the company. That satisfaction? Priceless.
Just remember. Be true to who you are, and be true to your loved ones.
Or I’ll hate myself for promoting the job. Like, seriously.