We caught up with our go-to gal Kim to get the lowdown on friendships throughout her career, and what these mean to cabin crew-
Did you make good friends during your cabin crew career?
I made some lifetime friends during my flying career. Crew are of a similar nature and personality which is typical of what the airline are looking for so I felt it was always easy to associate and communicate well as we had similar outlooks in life.
Have you stayed in touch with any of them since retiring as crew?
YES! especially those people who left at the same time as me as we shared the same daunting experience of leaving the security of a much loved company and career.
Is it important to build good relationships at work?
Yes…Communication is key within the airline community and your whole flying career is based on this, especially in a difficult situation on board, e.g. medical emergency or an evacuation. On long haul this relationship continues as you socialise with your colleagues when away from home or just a shoulder to cry on if need be.
Can you think of anyone who didn’t make an effort to make friends, and the impact of this?
Yes some people, for a number of reasons. This may be down to ‘personal reasons’ or just feeling unwell or an off day. However, whilst on board this can impact the crew’s morale, motivation and team work and thus in turn impact the passenger.
Can you tell us about a fun experience you had with a cabin crew friend?
I could write a book on this one!! Lots of amazing safaris in Africa, sharing a tent with 3 girls in the dense undergrowth with spiders and poisonous frogs, whilst lions and hippos walk through the camp….looking for hippos on foot without a guide to be told on our return we had taken our lives into our own hands, as hippos, unbeknown to us, are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa!
Can you think of a time a cabin crew friend got you through a difficult time?
Yes I was on a long 9 day trip down to Australia, a long time away from home and I had just split up with a boyfriend and felt upset at the time. My colleague was very supportive and made sure I was included in any tours or meet ups for coffee and mealtimes.
Have you returned the favour?
Yes many times, crew are very open and honest with each other, I suppose because we tend to build strong relationships when away from home it becomes a natural process of sharing.
Is there anything unique about the relationships you form during a flying career?
By spending a lot of time with flying colleagues, more so than a 9-5 job, this can truly make relationships unique and a lifetime connection. We think alike we are alike in so many ways, sharing experiences on and off the aircraft, building bonds.
What advice would you offer to new crew about building relationships?
If you are successful in being selected as crew you will naturally be a good communicator, so use it! Because you are working within a team this provides plenty of opportunity to discover personalities and any common interests you may share. On long haul, this is easy, as depending on the destination I would ask crew e.g. if anyone wanted to come to a tango show in Argentina or rent a car for the day to a stunning beach, scuba diving, in Caracas etc.!
One of the funniest things I can remember crew saying to each other was “Have we flown before? Didn’t we go to a Tango show in Argentina and have a blast?!”