SQ tales part 2

Life of an ex SQ girl part 2



So after posting up part 1 of my SQ experience, I’ve been receiving quite a few requests for the next part and here it is.



I left off the last entry with what I went through during the 4 months training at SIA training school and now, time for me to spread my wings and soar.



First 6 months of flying – aka the noob



So the 1st official flight ever of mine was to Johannesburg, South Africa. It would be the first time I’m so far away from home and to a foreign land and I was super nervous. I think I had less than 4 hours of sleep. Was worried about the senior stewardess and stewards on flight, worried about my knowledge with the food/drinks, worried about remembering where all the necessary thing are placed in the galley. But it turned out that the people on my flight were pretty nice, though this steward told me that I could keep my luggage in one of the overhead compartments which was clearly meant for passengers and I got kinda nagged at by my Inflight Supervisor, all was well.



During the 1st 6 months, all freshly graduated stewardess/stewards are on probation. You will be check/graded on your work onboard and if you make any serious mistakes, your probation will be extended. What does being on probation means? It means no taking of leave, no swapping of flights and not being able to learn how to serve in business class, so that means economy class all the way for us.



& when you are tagged with ‘P-plate’, there will be a handful of mean/crazy/bitchy/fierce/yaya papaya/backstabbing stewardess/stewards who will make your life a living hell onboard. They will try their best to find fault if everything you do, test your knowledge for the most ridiculous things on board and make you do everything for them while they relac-one-corner during the flight.



Some examples I’ve got was this red uniform stewardess asked my batch girl to pour coffee and after she took one look at the cup, she told her to redo it because the coffee did not reach the correct “level”.(She was just making my batch girl’s life difficult on purpose) My friend had to re-pour about 5-6 times before she was satisfied and commented loudly to a green uniform stewardess “See nowadays the new stewardesses are all bimbos”.



What I personally experienced was this green uniform stewardess saying that I have no proper family upbringing because I did not use the word “Please” when I asked her to pass me a bottle of red wine for a customer. My exact words to her was “Hey XXXX, can you pass me the red wine”. I did say “Thank you” and gave her a smile when she handed the wine bottle to me but clearly she needed to hear me say “PLEASE”. Because if you don’t say Please = no manners, no father mother teach.



How I dealt with such nasty colleagues was to tell myself that I will not be seeing them the next flight (we fly with different colleagues each flight). Just be above them, don’t get upset or feel defeated or go hide in the bathroom to cry(like some stewardesses do). Instead, when I was lectured, I apologize and smile at them saying “So sorry I wasn’t aware of that, thank you for sharing with me, I’ll take note of this”. And after that I continue to do my work properly and to the best of my ability so that they wouldn’t have much to say/nag about.



All in all, my probation period wasn’t that bad because I did not get “zapped” or “aimed” by seniors often, I think less than 5 times only? Also, I guess not appearing to be timid or soft spoken and an easy pushover helped?



After probation – bend the rules



After probation was over, I was starting to enjoy flying and the anxieties I had before each flight started to go away. I was quite confident of my work at about my 4-5th month of flying and needed fewer reminders to do this and that by the seniors.  I also started to be more relaxed on my hair & makeup.



See, when we were in training school, we were given a specific eye shadow color, lip + nails color as well as the style we should do our hair. I was told to wear blue eye shadow with bright red lips and tie my hair into a bun. I followed the standard given to me during my probation and once it was over I did a 360 degrees alteration.



This was my training school make up...



And this is after 6 months. My hair was still in a bun because I only learnt how to do French twist much later.


I applied brown/gold eyeshadow instead of blue and styled my hair into a French twist instead of bun. I think I looked better that way because the blue eyeshadow on my fair skin had such a huge contrast, I look too made up. I would have gotten into trouble if anyone checks my color chart to see that I did not follow the color standards given to me but thank god, no one questioned me for the remaining 1 year +.



Promiscuous affairs onboard



This is one stereotype that stewardesses are unable to get rid of. Everyone thinks that what we do is: get paid to travel the world, shop and party with opposite sex. Erm, I think that nowadays there isn’t as much scandals and crazy games played between stewardesses and stewards/pilots as compared to the past? I’ve heard from the senior stewards about the many adult games that they used to play in the hotel rooms and I was really shocked. Not sure if they were exaggerating with the stories but I’ve heard from different sources and it all seems to be about the same. & I must comment that the crew in the past were really daring.



What I’ve experienced was many harmless flirting from stewards. I’ve had them asking me out for lunch/dinner when we are overseas but I will only go if I know other stewardesses are going. Even when we are back in Singapore, some will try to share cab with me home from the airport even though we stay nowhere near each other, they would asks me out for supper, offer to bring me out for breakfast and when I rejected, wanted to send the food up to my house!!



There was this one time, we were in London shopping and this steward brought me into a guitar shop, asked me to sit down on a chair while he performed a song for me. Yes, he played the guitar and sang a song when there were others around. I was so embarrassed OMG.



But what I’ve learnt is that, if you make it very clear to the stewards that you are attached and is in a very serious relationship, 90% of the time they will back off and stop the flirtatious talking. The other 10% just doesn’t give a rat’s ass if you are attached or not. As long as they find you cute, they will continue to shamelessly flirt with you because they are bored during the 5 days flight and they just want to have some fun.



Nowadays because of technology, most cabin crew hide in their room using the wifi to connect to love ones back home. We video chat with our boyfriends all the time and some of the cabin crew were forbidden by their boyfriend/girlfriend to hang out with opposite sex so they end up staying in the room during the night.



For me, my boyfriend as pretty alright with me hanging out with guys but in a group of mixed gender and not being the only girl of course.



What we usually do is buy alcohol + snacks from supermarket and then all head into 1 person’s hotel room (usually the stewards’s because us girls don’t want to dirty their rooms) or the crew lounge and drink, talk cock just hang out. We do have a lot of fun, laughing and talking about anything from crew-related to our daily lives. There were a couple of times where we were so loud that the security came up to ask the rest of us to leave the hotel room and said that only 2 people can be in a room. Da fuck? HAHA.


Strawberries and champagne in a steward's, prepared by the other stewardess. I remember it was 9pm but London was still bright outside. 



Halloween party in Switzerland - Zurich. We decided to draw our faces, eat & drink in the crew lounge with the pilots as well. it was one of the best gathering ever. :)

Many times I was asked to go clubbing but I rejected them because... my boyfriend doesn’t like me to club when I’m overseas because he knows I can get a little cray cray when I’m too drunk.



So, all in all, I would say that the stereotype of cabin crew being “easy” is really just a stereotype after all. Throughout my time in SQ, I’ve only seen with my own eyes twice – stewardesses making moves on stewards. 1 was under influence of alcohol, another was probably because she was bored and wanted some company because the guy was totally not interested at all.



Sleeping alone



Another thing that people often ask me about is, do stewardesses share rooms.

Answer: No we don’t.



We are each given a hotel room but it is up to you to bunk in with other stewardesses. I’ve personally slept with other stewardesses instead of my own room whenever I feel a hotel is too eerie and my imaginations were running wild. I also shared rooms with stewardesses that were super nice and we got along really well. So we spent the day shopping, and the night hanging out in our rooms.



But other than that, 90% of the time I sleep alone.


In my hotel room in Shanghai. My bed was too big and empty so I placed my small cabin bag on 1 side of the bed while I slept on the other side. I always do that when the bed is too big and my stupid brain will always tell me "someone" is sleeping next to me so I decided to occupy the space with my luggage. LOL


And looking back, I am really surprised that I am able to do that. Because, before flying, I was a super coward. Whenever I go overseas with my boyfriend, I would be so terrified to even shower alone and when I sleep, I have to be in my boyfriend’s arms. I was that scared of ghosts. HAHA.



How I got over that hurdle?



I told myself that if so thousands of other stewardesses can sleep on their own and not be a baby about it, why can’t I? I knew it was all in my head, those fears were irrational and I temporarily blocked them out. I would leave all the lights on and even the TV when I first started flying, then after months, I started to off the TV and eventually my bedside and room lights. The bathroom light will always be on though.



Eating & Sleeping on the Plane



A question that never gets old, “What do you eat on the plane, do you eat after all passengers have eaten? Or are there meals set aside for you?”



Well the answer is, we eat whatever the passengers are having that day. The same food. We do not have any special or yummier meals hidden in the galley (kitchen). The catering staff will bring up extra of 15-20 meals for the crew’s consumption.



So for instance, today we are serving Chinese - Fried Rice with Chicken or Western - Fish with Potatoes to the passengers, we will the same meals too. But most of the times some of us stewardess/stewards will give up our meal choices because an angry pax wants to have the chicken but the chicken was a popular choice on the flight and its is all gone. So we will end up having to eat whatever that there is left.



Of course, you can choose not to give up your meals and just let the pax be angry because what if there are 10 more pax who wants chicken? But it is entirely up to your decision and I’ll usually see how the pax react. Some pax gets really really pissed because there isn’t a meal of their choice.



Oh, you can choose to bring your own meals up to the plane too. Some of my colleagues do that but not alot because it is quite a hassle to have to heat up the food all over again and to find place to keep them in the very full galley.



As for sleeping on the plane, there are crew rest areas in the plane for us to rest. Yes, there are beds for us to lie down and curtains for privacy. On some planes, the crew rest are is above the cabin and for some it is below the cabin. So don’t be shocked when you see crew going into a magic door and disappearing for hours. We get a max of 3 hours sleep on a 12-13 hour flight and frankly speaking, it is not the best rest ever. Because you’ll have to keep your hair in place and makeup all intact after your crew rest.



This is me lying in the crew bunk. All I did was remove my red lipstick and apply a later of lipbalm over and sleep!

Some crew will undo their French twist or bun before they sleep and wake up 15 minutes earlier to retie their hair. For me, I’ve mastered the art of sleeping on my side and not moving during my rest. So all I gotta do when I wake up from my rest is to touch up my lipstick and rinse my mouth with mouth wash (don’t wanna kill the pax with my morning breath) that’s all.



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Okay, that’s all for part 2 of my SQ experience, I think the final one would be about the countries I’ve been to, which left the most impression and why I decided to quit flying.



So... stay tuned!



(Most of the questions I’ve answered were from my askfm)

12 comments :

  1. May I know what is meant by Turn and COF? Are meals within the hotel paid for by SQ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Turn = turnaround. A turnaround is when a plane flies to a country, and the crew don't get off. Ranging on the distance, a simple turnaround (or turn) can be an easy 45mins to KL and back, a rushed 1.5hrs to jakarta and back... or a horrible.. excruciating 4hrs to hkg and back. A good judge of a crew's karma can be seen by the number of HKG turns done per year.

      COF = Change of Flight. In the event that you are given the above mentioned HKG turn (or any other flight that you don't want), we have a forum where people who are gluttons for punishment will take your flight in exchange for their own rostered flight. Logically, being made to suffer for your flight in exchange for a more desirable flight would warrant what is known as a black market 'top up'. SQ does not allow the exchange of any money between crew and so officially, selling one's offdays through the COF or taking up shit flights for money is strictly prohibited and is punishable by dismissal. Nonetheless, if you really need a particular offday, or you really want to fly with someone, or if you really reaaaaaally DON'T want to fly with a particular person, then well... COF is the way to go! :)

      Meals are not paid for by SQ. We are given allowances per station to go out and eat whatever we like. There are however some hotels that offer a free buffet breakfast, as part of the pay package done by sq. If SQ did pay for hotel food, i assure you very few of us would be able to fit in our uniforms...

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so cool! Really answers a lot of my questions. I've always wanted to be a SQ steward & will try after I graduate next year!!

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