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Old 27th May 2009, 09:56   #1 (permalink)
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: UK
Posts: 83
Career changes for ex Cabin crew?

Hi Everyone

I've written on this subject before, but would appreciate anyone who could give me advice on what some of you ex Flight Attendants do when you quit flying?

I worked in Monarch, Emirates, and also have lots of experience in VIP and corporate flying.

I took a career break when I got married 4 yrs ago, and haven't the foggiest what to do now....Im 42 and finding it really hard to break into anything!

Tried to get into travel agency work, but they all seem to hire 23 yr olds....I believe theres an agency in London that hires ex hosties as Corporate receptionists....any advice would be greatly appreciated
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Old 27th May 2009, 10:18   #2 (permalink)
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I'm on my second career break now (due to the 'economic climate', etc) and I sussed out that agency in London. I got the impression that they also were looking for young women but give them a try, you never know. Perhaps it was because I'm a bloke?

I've actually been studying since my first career break and have worked for a few smaller airlines on temporary contracts, just to keep myself active in the industry. I find it's hard to put flying behind you. At first, it's great not having to get up at 0400 but after a while you miss it but by the time my temporary contracts have been up, I've been glad to stop flying. Then, a few months later, I'm missing it again.

The way things are at the moment, studying might be an idea for you. You can get funding for your fees, plus maintenance grants which don't have to be paid until you start earning GBP17K (fat chance these days) and you can work part time to sustain yourself.
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Old 27th May 2009, 10:31   #3 (permalink)
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I was very close to being made me redundant and it made me think seriously about what else I could do after flying.

A lot of ex-colleagues have found it quite difficult, even in their early thirties, to actually forge a career in anything. With customer skills etc, floor manager is a popular choice in clothes stores etc that you would see on the high street.

Other options are department receptionist/ team secretary but this is quite tough if you are past 30 with very little/no admin experience.

It will be tough but I know I wouldn't want to fly up to my forties, but at the same time leaving in my early-late thirties means I will find it very difficult to find another career. The other problem is leaving in my late twenties while I'm still "young" is a little soon for me.

I'd definitely be interested in hearing some views on this subject.
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Old 27th May 2009, 11:11   #4 (permalink)
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It seems like a good idea to give up flying and doing something else.
Think twice because most people who have done it wished they had not.

Being a flight attendant is a good job and there is absolutely nothing wrong in flying in your forties. The days have passed when pax expected only c/c in their 20's.

In the USA they fly into their 70's and 80's. One retired a few years ago aged 85 after 60 years in the air.

So it cannot be that bad.

I had to retire at 55 after 35 years with the same airline, I thought I was too young for the scrap heap at 55.

Getting another job now is difficult unless you are very young.

I know of a few who have gone into teacher training but have no idea what the others' have done.

I noticed a few like myself who had to retire youngish who now work on the ground for various airlines, it is hard to give up but after yo have left and miss the job it it is even harder to get back.
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Old 27th May 2009, 18:30   #5 (permalink)
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I gave up and now work as a PA for a company director- I had some previous experience in recruitment and secretarial prior to flying and was lucky enough to be made permanaent after temping for a few months.

I can't say it compares with flying - I do miss the buzz and the people- but its great to be treated as something other than a number and not to have to stay awake for 36 hours on the trot...!

I'd say try temping to get a taste of what is available - its good for the CV and doesn't tie you down.
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Old 27th May 2009, 19:36   #6 (permalink)
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Career Change

I have been flying for 12 years and really want to change careers, but it is difficult with financial obligations. I wondered about temping on my days off to get admin experience. Does anyone know if it is possible to get ad hoc temp work?
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Old 28th May 2009, 07:27   #7 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2008
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A regular pattern that I've noticed at the airlines I have worked at (and also something I am considering doing myself when the time comes for a change) is that a lot of people leave to join the Police. I guess both roles are people focused and so for some it is a natural progression. Maybe an idea...?
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Old 28th May 2009, 18:45   #8 (permalink)
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Hi Farflung

Yes it is possible - there are a whole variety of contracts out there from 1 day a week to cover flexible working to full time ongoing...

I think the best option (if you have no previous office experience) is to try to do a few secreterial type courses before you go to an agency- these can be done online and show you know one end of a computer from the other! (Excel, Outlook, Powerpoint and Word are all favourites).

Also if you want to go into admin I would definately aim for PA/office manager level....I started out on reception many years ago and wanted to shoot myself wihtin 2 weeks...I think if you have a crew mentality you need somthing that keeps you on your toes and challenges the old grey matter.

My job now is pretty self sufficient and I decide how I work and what to prioritise - It can be a bit of a minor nightmare sometimes (think the devil wears Prada) but otherwise its the best decision I ever made!
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Old 28th May 2009, 20:20   #9 (permalink)
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Posts: 83
Thanks for all your diverse repsonses!

Very interesting to read stories from all your aspects, especially what both Hgh-Heeled FA and VS had to say.

I relate very much to Vs story. There's a time when it gets in your blood, you just pine to fly again, thena after some temp VIP contract you are all over it once more.......what's with us? Despite it's lucrativity, flying is a very de-stabilising job......more so for women. Relationships flounder, nothing is secure, yet it sure beats working in an office!

I really cannot imagine being a shop room assistant. Even in Harrods! I worked in an expensive shoe-shop on Oxford st in London as a youngster, and walked out on my lunch break.....I felt I would murder someone!

I think you are correct VS......this company in London is interested in younger ex hosties......nah.....not gonna bother pursuing that one. I could do without the indignity!

I'm currently applying to all the major Travel agancies, I am worried there exists the invisible age barrier, and I certainly know how to dumb down my cv...........apparantly they are all in "freeze" mode now........so one just sends one's cv in and hopes for the best....wish me luck and again

Thank you all very much for your varied stories and ideas
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Old 28th May 2009, 21:39   #10 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2005
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Life After Flying

I quit flying two years ago and I admit I have been really lucky.

What you have to know, though is that you shouldn't sell yourself short. If you believe that you don't have the right experience, then potential employers will also believe that.

I started working in an office within my own airline which made the transition to civvy street much easier. THe people loved having me there because I was able to fill them in on what life on board is really like.

But what I notice most was that it was not the people who had the best education or experience that succeed, but the ones with the right attitude. For example you might think that you have no project management experience, but if you've ever planned a complex holiday or home improvement project then you do have the experience.

WHat employers want is evidence of the skills needed for the job you're after, but not necessarily on the job expeience.

The first step is having a blinding CV and covering letter.

If you're CV says " Flight attendant - looked after passengers" then no one will give you a second look.

If you put some spin on it and say "Flight attendant - As a highly customer oriented team player for a high end premium international carrier, I was not only responsible for customer safety, I also fulfilled customer expectaitions to corporate standards, while using my initiative to manage unexpected situations. I have highly developed communication skills, essential when dealing with cultural differences from all over the world. This role requires expert knowledge of products, procedures and standards, all of which change on a frequent basis. I am excited by the prospect of bringing these people skills into a new arena etc etc etc....."

Potential employers will sit up and listen - as a FA you have great people skills so use them to sell yourself.

If you don't know whether you are ready to take the plunge - look for a secondment or the opportunity for a leave of absence so you can go off, get some different experience and still have your flying job to fall back on.

The advice that made me give up flying was from a great friend who said..."Are you going to fly forever? No? Then you're already planning to leave. Give up while you can look back at the memories with fondness rather than when its gets so late that you resent it".

The only ex FAs I know who regret quitting are those that haven't got themselves to a place where they are doing so well (not necessarily in the financial sense) that they want to go back to it.

I loved flying but I've ticked that box (ten years worth) moved on and am happier now than ever before.

And if you ask me what I'm doing on Saturday May 31 2010, I'll answer "I don't know yet, but as its a weekend, I'll definately be available!"

My gosh I've really gone into a spin - just my 2 cents worth - I hope you get to where you want to be soon - remember you only live once and when the world becomes such a small place that you can go to JFK and never leave your room then you know you've had enough.


PS A word of warning (now a word of warning?!!) - Its a tough world out there right now so make sure you know what you are doing if you are thinking about quittitng because if you quit and end up without work at all then you'll really be in a pickle. Good luck x
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Old 30th May 2009, 01:37   #11 (permalink)
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Come over to the dark side, CREWING !
At my previous carrier, at least a third of our crewing staff were ex-hosties.
At least you would still be dealing with your colleagues, albeit as one of the "ENEMY!"
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Old 3rd Jun 2009, 09:58   #12 (permalink)
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Manchester
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I unfortunately lost my job when XL went bump last september. Having been in aviation since 1992 I was pretty much at a loss as to what I could do.

I was offered positions with other airlines however having moved from a cabin crew position into training which was more ground based, I really didn't want to return to flying.

Fortunately I have secured a job with a Train Company working onboard the train and I love it!
Shift working, not confined to an office and out and about!!

Money not bad either!

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Old 18th Jun 2009, 08:54   #13 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: London, UK
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Life after flying

I worked as crew for six years and have now been working in recruitment for two years. I use my language skills, meet people daily from all over the world and visit clients out and about. It is quite hard work which I sometimes find stressful, but it keeps me on my toes and I love being able to spend time with family and friends on the weekend and in the evenings. I also feel much more confident as a member of society. Whilst I am gushing about it all, I have also found it marvelous to be able to pursue other interests and I am currently studying at college part time and attending a dance school. Things that would have been much harder to fit into my flying schedule. I loved travelling and the fun of flying and I certainly miss the discounted travel, (but I don't miss standing by with a kid in tow!) I am so happy that I flew and it has given me so many great memories, but now I feel a lot more secure, mentally as well as financially and if for some reason i want to change job or lose my current job, I won't have to start from the very bottom again. When I was looking for work I felt like I couldn't do anything in the "normal" world and got so depressed. My self esteem was very low. But you can do it. We all can. And we have great skills that can help in a lot of different situations. Good luck and go for it! x
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Old 18th Jun 2009, 09:29   #14 (permalink)
Join Date: Dec 2005
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stopping flying

ps I noticed some people were talking about age. I was 33 when I successfully changed career. Not a 23 yr old girl.
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Old 25th Jun 2009, 16:18   #15 (permalink)

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Thumbs up Best Decision I Ever Made!

I know it seems scary taking that first step out of the airlines, but i had been flying for over 4 years and decided to take the plunge. I had other friends who were crew for Ryanair and they recommended a company that hire corporate receptionists who specifically come from airline backgrounds. The roles are really similar, with extra special emphasis placed on giving top notch customer service and they even give you a uniform, so you don't have to go out and buy yourself a whole new work wardrobe I have been working in fantastic offices in Liverpool Street and my role is basically like cabin crew, just no serving of 'chicken or beef', no flight safety or angry passengers! Good starting salaries aswell!
If you want to hear more send me a message and i'll give you the website! Check it out!
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Old 27th Jun 2009, 19:49   #16 (permalink)
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Australia
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Hey guys, In australia quite a few of my friends who are now ex-crew have made the switch to the banking industry as teller & branch staff.
Great hours, weekends free & above average money!

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Old 3rd Jul 2009, 21:43   #17 (permalink)
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Hi All

I was cabin crew for nearly 7 years and had toyed with the idea of leaving for my last 4 years of flying!

I finally plucked up the courage and decided to attempt to get into a job that I had always thought I would like.... Paramedic.

I was lucky enough to get accepted on a training course and have never looked back since. I get paid a lot less than I used to get paid. I work a lot harder than I used to work. I see things that no-one deserves to see.

BUT I love it and I'm glad I made the change. On a personal level I now have more job satisfaction and I am now in a position to look back at my time when I was flying with happy memories.

6 years and 3 kids on I am still happy I made the right decision.

It's a hard choice to leave the security of flying but this is your one chance at life and you have to grab all opportunities when you can and if you are thinking there is another career that interests you then pursue it.

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Old 3rd Jul 2009, 23:49   #18 (permalink)
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That's a great story there Smiley, well done!

I used to fancy myself in a police officer job but methinks it's really hard running after offenders in high heels and i'm addicted to them! (the high heels that is)
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Old 4th Jul 2009, 00:12   #19 (permalink)
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It's a hard choice to leave the security of flying
Which airline did you fly for?
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Old 4th Jul 2009, 00:48   #20 (permalink)
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Being a flight attendant is a good job and there is absolutely nothing wrong in flying in your forties. The days have passed when pax expected only c/c in their 20's.
If I can interject here, speaking as SLF I would concur with that. I much prefer CC to have experience and a mature approach rather than some of the airheads we sometimes get straight out of training.
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