A day in the life of a Flight Attendant
This is from Lufthansa
08:00 AM: Briefing for flight LH 3460 to Istanbul
Every flight requires intensive preparation. This is why the crew discusses all safety-related questions and responsibilities in advance. The Purser Nadir Masri divides the tasks amongst the Flight Attendants Alejandra Kamann, Julia Giusti, Melanie Mosbahi, Susann Stefl, and Heidrun Möllers: Who is responsible for Business Class? Who will look after the children? Who can speak to the Turkish guests in their native tongue?
08:10 AM: The Pilot joins the briefing
Being the team leader, Purser Nadir Masri is the direct contact for the cabin crew. Captain Hartmut Eggers provides him with the most important information about the flight, which are also relevant for the Flight Attendants: "Good weather but shortly before Istanbul there could be some turbulence due to a jet stream. We will however land on time."
08:25 AM: Safety check onboard the A 321
Before the passengers come on board, the crew checks whether everything is in order: Are all the lifejackets, fire extinguishers, and oxygen masks OK? Does the emergency lighting work? Are there emergency instruction cards in each seat pocket? And last but not least: Are enough menu cards available?
08:45 AM: Welcoming the passengers on board
The first impression often is decisive for the atmosphere on board. Every flight includes experienced frequent flyers who know their way around and newcomers who need more attention. Nadir, Alejandra, and Copilot Stephan Berens welcome each guest individually.
09:10 AM: Boarding completed
Luckily, two passengers who were previously missing have now also boarded. Otherwise the responsible Ramp Agent would have had to retrieve their already loaded baggage from the hold. Now all passengers are present and Nadir is able to accept a glasses case that Mrs. Walter, a passenger sitting in seat 4D, had forgotten at a security checkpoint.
09:13 AM: Special service even before departure
Shortly before departure time, Nadir Masri makes his last checks. Alejandra brings the glasses case to Mrs. Walter's seat – she had not yet realized that it was missing and is very pleased with this special service.
09:15 AM: Safety instructions
The announcement of the safety instructions in German and English is very important. In an emergency all passengers must remember this information. Therefore, despite all his routine, Nadir makes sure that he focuses on the announcement one hundred percent.
09:23 AM: Lifejackets and oxygen masks
Alejandra and the crew us gestures to support the Purser's safety instructions: they demonstrate the individual steps required to put on the lifejacket and the oxygen mask, they point out where the emergency exits are located, and refer to the emergency instruction cards located in each seat pocket.
09:25 AM: Ready for take-off
All passengers' seatbelts are fastened, the containers in the galley are all secured, and hand baggage has been stowed. And the crew ensures that it stays that way until the start-up sequence has been completed. Nadir closes the door and with the announcement "all doors in flight" he gives the Flight Attendants the directive to close and lock all the other doors for the flight. Following which he gives the captain the signal: "ready for take-off". – Punctually the aircraft starts rolling towards the runway.
09:30 AM: Take-off
The Flight Attendants call their mental preparation direct before take-off the "30 second review": a moment of extreme attention for Alejandra, Julia, Heidrun, Melanie, Susann und Nadir. They are concentrating on reviewing the safety regulations for the take-off procedure in their heads.
09:50 AM: Service preparations
The aircraft has reached its cruising altitude and immediately the crew is in full activity mode for the passengers: Heidrun passes out magazines and toys to the children. The other Flight Attendants are in the galley preparing the food and drinks – Julia and Susann in Economy class and Alejandra and Nadir in Business Class.
09:55 AM: The first drink
Directly after take-off, when the initial tension of many passengers has dropped away, the guests are provided with little snacks and refreshments. Susann particularly likes this welcoming service. She enjoys the direct contact to the international guests along with the ever-changing and exciting work on board.
10:05 AM: Breakfast on board
After having served the welcome drink, the team gets ready to serve breakfast. Today in Economy Class they are offering fresh rolls, scrambled eggs, and various side dishes. Melanie and Julia only need a flick of the wrist to swiftly serve the breakfast menu – despite their speed they take time to smile and speak a few friendly words to each passenger.
11:00 AM: Special Business Class service
Some of the Business Class guests have requested freshly brewed tea. Alejandra gladly fulfils this request. Nadir assists her, because team work means that the guests' wishes can be more quickly fulfilled. And because working together is more enjoyable.
11:35 AM: Approaching Istanbul
The aircraft is approaching Istanbul. Nadir receives a great compliment from a frequent flyer: the Senator Joachim Öhler thanks him for having given perfect service and for having a particularly attentive crew on the flight today. Since despite the time pressures this type of compliment is always welcome, and Nadir gladly passes it on to his crew.
12:00/local time 01:00 PM: The descent
"We have just begun our descent" announces Captain Eggers over the public address system. The crew is once again very busy in order to get everything ready for landing. The expected jet stream hardly influenced the flight. Landing takes place on time, into warm and friendly weather.
12:10/ local time 01:10 PM: Welcome to Istanbul!
LH 3460 has landed on time in Istanbul; the passengers are on their way to passport control. The crew ensures that none of the guests have forgotten their hand baggage on board. Nadir and Alejandra bid a friendly farewell to the disembarking guests "Good bye!" or "Auf Wiedersehen!". Many guests thank them for the enjoyable flight.
12:30/local time 01:30 PM: On the way to the hotel
While the aircraft is being immediately prepared for the return flight to Frankfurt, this crew will remain in Istanbul. After a short flight debriefing, the crew are on their way to the hotel in the center of the city. The crew decides to get together for a walk around town after a brief lunch break.
03:00/local time 04:00 PM: Cultural experiences on the Golden Horn
Alejandra, Julia, and Nadir are very impressed by this city and its historical diversity: a visit to an originally Christian church, to the Hagia Sophia or a view of the Suleiman Mosque from the Golden Horn – everywhere they go they find vestiges from the time when Istanbul was still called Byzantine or Constantinople. Of course these three also don’t want to miss going to the bazaar.
The next day 06:00/local time 05:00 AM: Good bye!
After the return flight to Frankfurt the crew goes their separate ways: having completed a 5-day tour Heidrun, Susann, and Melanie have the following day off. Alejandra is flying to Madrid, Julia to Bangkok, and Nadir to Tokyo. Each of them will get to know a new crew and new colleagues, start a new trip, and gather new impressions.