After you qualify from your initial training you will start ‘line flying’. Each airline is different depending on the type of operation – long-haul, short-haul or a bit of both.
For testimonials of what its like to work for an airline day to day, why not check out our ‘On the Job’ section.
- Report – clock in for your duty and check any notifications or changes to standard practices. You will also declare you are fit to fly.
- Brief – participate in a crew briefing, sometimes a joint briefing with flight crew, You would start by discussing the flight(s) of the day, passenger loads, Passengers with Reduced Mobility (PRM’s), special cargo, any positioning crew on board, catering (including any special meals), overnight accommodation if necessary, return flights/other sectors of the day. The discussion would then turn to a safety-related joint discussion or individual questions to check your understanding of procedures. If your trip includes a layover (staying in the destination for a night) – you may discuss potential threats/ issues down-route. Flight crew may discuss the flight path, highlighting important details such as high terrain, any diversion option, or expected turbulence. Your briefing may take place in a dedicated briefing room, or on the aircraft you are about to operate on.
- Head to the aircraft – Proceed through security, this is sometimes the same one that passengers use, but there is often a security check area specifically for operating crew/ground staff, and head to the aircraft. Excellent opportunity to strut in the airport and really work that ‘yes, I know my job is cool’ walk.
- Onboard checks – safety and security checks conducted on board to ensure the aircraft is compliant and safe to depart. Like many aspects of the job, this is one which you need to be thorough and stick to procedures in order to ensure the safety of yourself, your colleagues, and your passengers.
- Boarding – time to get your passengers on board! You will welcome people, check boarding cards (destination dependent) and make sure the cabin is safe to depart. You will complete a Safety Demonstration and the secure the cabin for take off.
During the Flight
- In-flight service for each airline is different, and possibly also different within the airline for each individual route they will operate. Primarily you are there for the safety of the passengers, however the comfort and hospitality is also important. As cabin crew, having excellent customer service skills is key. You will play many roles and wear many hats; You could be a shoulder to cry on, a medical professional, a fire fighter, a security guard, a hospitality expert and any other role that may be needed in the sky. And sometimes all in one flight!!
- Arrival – this depends on operations, but if your flight is short-haul most likely you will return to base and complete more sectors throughout your day. For some airlines it may be that you stay in your short haul location for a quick night stop. If the flight is long-haul you will dis-embark and head to the company allocated hotel for a minimum of 1 local night, but sometimes more.
- Down-route – your time in a destination is to allow you to rest so you are fully prepared for the flight back to base, or the next destination. Airline dependant, but you may be able to utilise the time down route to have some personal time to explore and visit the country/place. This is definitely seen as a perk of the job; it’s incredible to feel at home in so many cities around the world.
- Clear – Upon arrival back to base you will be require to clear immigration and customs in the normal fashion and your duty will most likely end here.
Along with line flying comes other duties such as potential ground duty days, training for new services and safety updates, including recurrent. You are responsible for checking your roster after a flight and making sure it is legal and compliant within the Flight Time Limitation’s (FTL) and possibly scheduling agreements. Line Flying is a demanding role both physically and mentally and this is something that should be considered when applying. It can take you away from home, cause you to miss important events, and disrupt your sleep pattern. The rewards however are fantastic – not many people have the opportunity to be paid to fly around the world and stay in luxury hotels!