EXCLUSIVE: Girls in Aviation Day 2021: Life inside and outside of the flying machine

Updated on Sep 26, 2021 01:12 PM IST  |  97.4K
   
Lives of cabin crew members and pilots
Life inside and outside of the flying machine
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An ever-smiling face that boasts of contentment, motivation, excitement and enthusiasm. Add to it, a personality that takes pride in the uniform they are donning, and a voice that will make heads turn. That's a cabin crew member for you. Always flying high with dreams and eyes that sparkle with goals, cabin crew members are always on their toes, and yet there is not even the slightest sign of fatigue on their faces.

While you may feel tired merely sitting through a two-and-a-half-hour flight, cabin crew members, who make sure that you had a comfortable and safe journey, will not let you make out how tired or not they are. However, amid all these glittering facts, what often goes unnoticed is their hard work and dedication to the job.

Talk about aircrafts. Who didn’t love watching airplanes flying through the sky from their terrace during their childhood? For many, it was as good as spotting a tiger in the jungle safari, if not better. We all wondered how it was flying so high, who were all there, and can the people inside see us. But this love remained restricted to mere sightings, and not many decided to think more about it.

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And those who did, are proud members of the cabin crew, or are pilots. This Girls Aviation Day, we bring you stories of a cabin crew member, and a pilot, who will give you an insight into their lives.

For Teena Chaudhary, Line Check Cabin Crew, AirAsia India, it all started with a dream that she didn’t think could even come true. “The whole idea of being a cabin crew started germinating when I was in 7th grade. Even though I did not know anything about flying, I got fascinated by the aircrafts just at the sight of them soaring high in the sky. Of course, no one took me seriously at that age but dreams do come true and here I am, 14 years and it still feels like yesterday,” says Chaudhary, who was brought up in a small town in Punjab.

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Recalling some of the challenges, Chaudhary says, it was not easy back then (early 2000s). “To leave your house and venture into a career which nobody had a clue about and that too in a different city and especially considering the gender dynamics in place was tough. However, I held my stance and knew that this is what I wanted to do. My father was the only one who supported me wholeheartedly. All the hard work and persistence paid off and I was able to land my first job as an Airhostess by getting through the first interview which gave wings to my dreams on November 21, 2007,” says Chaudhary.

Many of us wonder, what a day in the life of a cabin crew looks like, but Chaudhary says, it cannot be defined. “No two days are the same. There is no corporate setup, and you’re never quite sure how your day will turn out! Having said that, here is what a day may look like: To begin with we have to get ready around 3 hours prior to take off, groom and look our best. Arrive at the airport base. Crew briefing and intro of our family for the day, the crew and captains. Followed by a thorough aircraft check for the safety of our guests. And then finally welcoming our guests and taking care of them, with a smile, of course. A day in the life of a cabin crew can be as long as 15 hours, but trust me, it’s worth every bit of it,” explains Chaudhary.

You must be wondering, 15 hours, did we just read that? Yes, you did. And, in case, if you are wondering how Chaudhary manages to pull off such a long day, she has the perfect answer. “As the famous saying goes – ‘Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ I have a job that I love which I put my heart and soul into,” asserts Chaudhary.

She adds that they never have a regular work schedule and that’s part of the job, but on the other hand, they’re not bound to the 9-5 grind. “It does mean that we might miss the occasional Christmas, birthday and in some cases weddings, too, but we live with those choices. There are two sides to coins and so is the case here. The mantra for me is positivity,” she explains.

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While being up above the sky is in itself a surreal experience, and, of course, challenging too, however there are certain flights that go on smoothly, while others don’t. “My most challenging and, at the same time, the most memorable flight was when I had our Indian cricket team on board. We all were so elated to have the Indian cricket team with us but it came along with immense challenges. Immediately after take-off, many guests wanted to take photos with the team and there was a non-stop request. It became very difficult to control so many of them, considering we were 4 and they were more than a hundred and that too at 35,000 feet. It was an unbelievable day but somehow we managed to navigate our way through it,” she tells you.

Becoming a flight attendant is not simply a pretty face greeting you “Good morning, welcome aboard.” Rather, it’s an emotionally and physically draining job. “Bear in mind, you’re the oil and grease of someone’s journey. You might not be the main tool, but you’re equally important. Always remember to be kind to people and you’ll find yourself happier working in the cabin. Be ready to meet millions of awesome people every day,” Chaudhary says.

So, this was a cabin crew for you. But what about the pilots? Chasy Parashar, Senior First Officer, AirAsia India, is here to share her experience, too. “My first flight was a bag full of mixed emotions. I vividly remember my first take off, it was at Pune, the sight of the nose lifting up and the runway slowly fading away was a surreal experience. I knew then, I had fallen in love with this giant bird and I felt a sudden purge of all emotions but joy for it was in the cockpit that I belonged to,” recalls Parashar.

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Her aviation career kickstarted when AirAsia India hired her as a fresher to set up the airline. She worked in the capacity of a training planner and flight dispatcher for 4 years. Her flying career took off 4 years ago. The career, she says, is nothing short of a classroom. There’s so much new to learn every day.

“The most important lesson I have learnt is to remain calm and composed under any situation. Surprisingly, I have also learnt that I yearn to fly when my duty is due to begin, very aptly put by Leonardo Da Vinci, “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return,” says Parashar.

Perseverance, patience, devotion, immense hard work and belief in oneself, Parashar says, are the keys to becoming a pilot. “If I can, so can you,” she signs off.

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