Here is cabin crew crazy's exclusive interview with Hayley from life as a butterfly.
I started my blog (www.lifeasabutterfly.com) when I left the UK to teach in Thailand as a means to let my family and friends back home know what I was doing. It was more of a diary all the time I was away, but when I got home it became more of a hobby. To begin it wasn't even called lifeasabutterfly, it was teacherhayley.com! But when I got home I started following lots of other travel blogs and I loved reading all about their adventures etc. and I decided that as I was no longer a teacher I should choose a name that reflected me a bit more- I loved butterflies and I loved the way that they can fly where ever they choose without a care in the world- so that's where the idea came from! My most popular posts are my cabin crew posts- it seems there are a lot of people who want to become cabin crew! I admit that I have neglected the blog a bit lately, I am in the final year of my PhD (can't wait to be a doctor!) and I recently got married... so these things have taken over a bit. But rest assured, as soon as I have completed the PhD I will be blogging every week again! Watch this space... :)
1) Why did you want to work for BA?
I first started working for BA when I was in my second year of my university degree and to be honest I had never really given it much thought before. I wanted a job in the travel and tourism industry that would allow me to travel. I first applied for Virgin and Monarch and got two big fat rejections and then I applied for BA City Flyer and was over the moon when I got the job! I flew for City Flyer for a year out of LCY and then I left to focus on my final dissertation at university. I then worked as a holiday rep for a summer, taught travel and tourism and cabin crew at a college for a few years and then went to Thailand to be an English teacher before traveling across Asia and Australia. I remember sitting eating my breakfast in the most beautiful location, where I watched the waves on one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever been to on the island of Gilli Air (near Bali). I was due to fly home the following week and all I could think about was how can I continue to travel whilst having a stable life back in the UK... so shortly after arriving home I applied for BA Mixed Fleet and before I knew it I was back in the skies! BA is the flagship airline of our country, they treat their staff well and I was always so proud to wear their uniform!
2) What was training like?
Training was tough, even the second time around! I have a degree, a masters, a PGCE, a TEFL and I am almost finished with my PhD... and of all of my studies I genuinely think that Cabin Crew training was one of the hardest! I found Mixed Fleet training more difficult than BA City Flyer because the aircraft we were trained on were much bigger and we were trained on three aircraft instead of just one! I had to learn where everything was and how to operate doors etc on the 747, 777, 777extended range, and airbus A319, A320, A321. That was tough- lots of revision and homework!
3)Where was you first flight to?
My first flight (which is called a supernumerary flight) was to Zurich with City Flyer and Nairobi with Mixed Fleet. My trip to Nairobi was particularly memorable as we went to the elephant orphanage where we got to see baby elephants and feed giraffes! It was a brilliant trip!
4)What is a normal day as crew?
Honestly, there is no such thing as normal! Every day is completely different and I think that's what most people love about the job. You will always do certain things like the pre-flight briefing, pre-flight security checks, meal service etc, but every day brings its own challenges. One day you might have lots of children to entertain, the next day you might have the queen onboard. I remember having a really bad flight to Accra when I was shouted at because we ran out of meals and a really great flight to LA when I got to meet the Beckham's!
5)What is a normal meal service like?
Short haul and long haul are very different. It also depends on what class you are working in. In economy it would be a race to get the service complete in a certain amount of time- meal + drink. In Club or First it would be a leisurely service with wine recommendations and freshly baked bread etc. I enjoyed working in Club the most- I got to put my wine training to good use! :)
As I said before- Boeing 747 and 777 and Airbus A319, A320 and A321. Since I stopped flying BA Mixed Fleet also operate the A380 but you have to drop another aircraft type as the maximum you can operate is three. At BA City Flyer we flew on the RJ100.
7)What is the best part of the job?
If you go for an interview you should say that you want to do it for your love of customer service... but for me it really was the opportunity to travel. I would never have considered working for an airline that didn't have stop overs. Although I will admit that staying in all those beautiful hotels has made me rather fussy when it comes to my own holiday accommodation!!
8)Why did you start life as a butterfly?
9)What motivated you to write a book?
I was surprised how many people were interested in my cabin crew posts on the blog and also my youtube video that has had almost 50,000 views!! I also was getting people e-mailing me questions most days. I enjoy writing and thought why not write a book! It sells pretty well and I had excellent reviews until I wrote a controversial blog post one day about how I thought BA Worldwide fleet get paid too much. This was obviously shared amongst the crew and they lashed out and wrote loads of fake negative reviews! I was really upset as all my hard work had been ruined- would you buy a book with tonnes of negative reviews? No, I didn't think so. I tried to appeal to Amazon to say that they were fake but they would't listen. That's when I released the second edition entitled 'Life as a Hostie: Everything You Need To Become Cabin Crew'.
10)Where is your favourite place to fly as crew?
I wasn't really your average crew member. As I had spent so much time backpacking and studying travel I was interested in experiencing new cultures and seeing things that were very different from at home. Many crew loved to go to New York or Boston where they could go shopping and drink at the bar. Don't get me wrong, I liked that too, but what I really loved was travelling to developing countries. Give me Bangkok or Mumbai any day!