Please introduce yourself and your role within aviation – how you got into it, your favourite parts of it, where you are now…
Hi! I’m Fran and I’m Cabin Crew at British Airways. I’ve been with the company for 4 years (actually flying for 3 before the pandemic hit). It has always been my dream to travel around the world.
I’m originally from Malawi but used to fly back to the UK as a child, usually with BA. I was always so in awe of the crew and used to think how amazing it would be to be like them one day, and ever since BA has held a special place in my heart. But if I’m honest I’d always thought it was a bit of a pipe dream. I went on to begin a career in teaching, but after a particularly bad day at work in 2016 I googled ‘how to earn money whilst travelling’ and a link to BA recruitment came up and I just took that as a sign! It did feel a bit wild to change careers just like that but it felt right and I am so happy with my decision.
For me, my favourite parts are definitely the travel and the people. Waking up in a new city, being able to explore and learn about a new place, interacting with people from different cultures and backgrounds. I also have a little bit of a plane obsession, and some of my favourite moments have been sat on a jump seat looking out at the clouds with a cup of tea!
Currently, I am just about to return to flying after 16 months on the ground/ on furlough, and I’m so excited to get back to the skies (although slightly nervous as I know how different things are out in the world at the moment!)
Have there been any positives to your furlough? (think passions/hobbies/roles)
Although it’s been a difficult year and I have really missed flying, furlough has definitely given me a chance to slow down for a while. Crew life is incredible fast paced and often very exhausting, and it’s very easy to get caught up in it all. Since being on the ground I’ve taken the time to really work on parts of myself I’d been neglecting the last few years. I’ve spent the time focusing on my health (mental and physical), practicing yoga daily, and I’ve also been teaching English online which has been great fun. I’ve also explored parts of the UK that I never usually had the time to visit (when not in lockdown), and I can honestly say I had taken for granted just how beautiful the UK is.
I also started writing the novel that’s been on my mind for years, and actually just published a collection of poetry back in April. All things I probably wouldn’t have had the time to do before.
Sleeping every night has also been a bonus and I’m definitely not looking forward to that first hit of jetlag!
How have your skills gained through aviation helped you through furlough? (trying to show aviation as a transferable skillset)
My time working in aviation has definitely made me much more resilient and flexible in general. We are so used to roster changes and times of disruption and although it can be difficult, it has taught me how to wing it through stressful times a little bit better (pardon the pun!). Also, definitely the people skills developed as crew have particularly helped with teaching English and interacting with people from different cultures.
How do you feel about returning to work and have you reconsidered your choice of industry?
I have mixed emotions. I can’t wait to be travelling and back up in the skies again, however I am also a little apprehensive. Flying as we knew it has changed a great deal but hopefully things will get back to a kind of normal again soon. I’m also worried about maintaining the balance I’ve been working on this past year and so I made the decision to return to flying part-time, which I’m really looking forward to. Hopefully it’ll give me the right balance between enjoying my time flying and also working on other things, spending time with friends and family, travelling at my own pace and remaining a bit more present.
Where’s the first place you’ll be using your staff travel for?
I would love to go to Mexico again, or visit Guatemala, Costa Rica or Thailand– but it all depends on where opens up first!