Written by Mond Ortiz
Many people still tends to make judgement based on what they only see with their naked eyes. Since they most of the time only see flight attendants serving food, welcoming passengers, doing safety demos, and attending to passenger needs on board, they get this quick conceived notion that cabin crew members are "flying waiters/waitresses" and "glorified maids". The only time the same passengers would realize the real worth of a flight attendant, sadly, are during accidents and an emergency situation, basically, situations where human lives are at risk.
Honestly, there is no need to wait for such situations to happen. All you have to do is to simply read the write-ups here and you would know the worth of every flight attendant you see, being way more than what you think as "waiters in the sky" or "utus-utusan lang ang mga yan".
Let me set the record straight first. Being a waiter or a maid is a very noble job. It earns a decent income which can send kids to school and put food on the table. I do cringe when people look down on waiters and maids, saying "they are just waiters" and for a few we encountered before, the term "no-brainer" being coined on these people who makes are dining experience a pleasurable one.
But question is, are waiters and maids trained to evacuate customers out of the restaurant incase of fire? Are they trained to do CPR? Do they memorize a 1,000+ page manual in 2 months? Do they endure exams almost everyday with a passing mark of 90% and three lifelines? Are they trained to fight fire? Are they taught basic self-defense in a restaurant? Are they made to jump into a 15ft swimming pool without a lifevest? And moreso, are they all ready to save the lives of their customers over their own when danger arises?
To tell you the truth, your flight attendants went through all those I mentioned above.
Modesty aside, I have met thousands of flight attendants and stewards, many of whom I am friends with. Some became my close friends along the way. I have sat-in crew training classes in Philippine Airlines, PAL Express, and Cebu Pacific. I have spoken to training managers, crew managers, inflight Vice Presidents and even airline Presidents. I have attendant and witnessed 49 cabin crew graduation rites.
With all said said, I am here, to address each and everyone of you who thinks that flight attendants and stewards are "just flying waiters and waitresses". Your cabin crew are actually your angels and heroes in the skies, except, they do not wear capes and halos. Their only wings are found in their nameplates.
Did you know that cabin crew training consists of 80% safety and security, 20% passenger experience and comfort? That means their job entails a lot of details about passenger safety. Saw that 1000 page manual called the Cabin Crew Operations Manual or CCOM? 90% is about safety and security, 10% is about everything else. It just so happened that air travel has never been this safe as today that you only get to witness and experience 20% of what your cabin crew trained for.
During those 49 cabin crew graduation rites I have attended, I noticed one thing. Tears would roll down the eyes of these newly released flight attendants. Many of them in disbelief and in awe that their dreams are finally unfolding infront of them especially after the grueling training they went through. Some of them almost did not make it, and some were hanging on a thin line already. Their speeches are touching, they and their loved ones are very proud of their achievement to be a flight attendant/steward. It's a very touching moment to witness actually, and these experiences have made me appreciate flight attendants and stewards more and more. I have also spoken to some of the fathers and mothers of these flight attendants and they would always share to me how proud they are for their sons and daughters. They do feel sad when people look down on cabin crew members because they basically witnessed what their child went through just to fulfill a childhood dream.
So to conclude my message to all the people who think that flight attendants and stewards are "glorified maids" or "high class waiters/waitresses only" or "utus-utusan lang sila sa eroplano", let me tell you one thing. These "maids", "waiters" and "utusan" are the very same people who are ready to risk their own lives in an emergency situation just to save yours. They are ready to forget that they have their own family and loved ones waiting for them just for you to be reunited with your own family and loved ones. They are the same people who sacrifices being with their own families during Christmas and New Year in order for you to get to your holiday celebrations in one piece, safe and sound. They are the same ones ready to defend the pilots and cockpit should anyone try to take-over or hijack the aircraft. They are the same people ready to lend you their ears and hearts to give you comfort especially if you are going home to attend the wake of a loved one who recently passed away. They are the same people who are last to leave a burning airplane because they make sure that you and every other passenger are out away from danger.
Regardless of whether you see them as "glorified servants" or as "flying waiters" or as your cabin crew, they still deserve a lot of respect, the same way how you respect our government officials, also knows as "public servants". Talk to them properly. Obey them. Listen to them, especially if it's for your own safety. Don't ask them to lift your luggage unto the OSBs if you can do it yourselves, they are not your slaves.
So whenever you board an aircraft, never forget to smile back to your flight attendants when they greet you. Never forget to greet them and thank them too.
Flight attendants and stewards are indeed wonderful people and this is why I love them so much!