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What makes a good FA?

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What makes a good FA?

Old 23rd Sep 2002, 13:01
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What makes a good FA?

Inspired by a rather silly statement on another thread, I wonder what we consider being "good" at our jobs?

Is it the ability to smile until we drop dead? The high speed meal chucking? Remembering 6 different drink orders on your way to the galley? Having an eye for pax too timid to press that call button? Being able to crack a joke to defuse tension? Your superior "blinkered walk through the aisle" technique so as not be distracted from something you really must NOT forget?
Lots of things come to mind here, what do you consider your strong points, and do we really know what our passengers want?


Useless European FA
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Old 23rd Sep 2002, 13:38
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Waht makes a good cabincrew?

Let me give you my (un-asked for) opinion as a non cabincrew:

1. Know the drills for pax safety in case of need.
2. Bring order in the SLF if they are confused after boarding.
3. Explane to pax those thing which are important for your and their safety during the flight.
4. Try and make the transportatntion period a pleasant experience for the pax so that they return a next time and your airline stays in bussiness.
5. DO NOT degrade yourselve to waiters and waitresses.
6. Relax at stopovers so that you can start the next flight with the above 5 points in mind.
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Old 23rd Sep 2002, 13:50
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Another opinion from SLF....must be |SLF who sit at work all day playing with bulletin boards :-) Must agree with IFTB - I often look at cabin crew and they are often seen as glorified waitresses by fellow pax. Spotting the needs of pax before they ask is very good - even things like confusion over seat allocation, but the distribution of water/juice on long haul flights is also increasingly 'heaith and safety' rather than waitressing (ref DVT).

I also like a crew who tell ya what they're doing before they do it, i.e. if there's a meal service, announce the choice of meals to avoid every pax asking 'whats the choice'. Of course PAs should be clear, particularly the safety demo. Off hand I can only think of Ryanair who once did the demo at such break neck speed I'm surprised if any pax can rememebr a word said in it.

What I don't like is when the entire crew disappears behind a curtain - it is better to have 1 or 2 crew who are in the public eye - not only in case pax need something (could be a genuine emergency), but also just to keep an eye on the cabin. On a long haul flight this duty can be swapped regularly so everyone gets some rest.

Just a punter, and prostitiute to CO.
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Old 23rd Sep 2002, 14:03
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Oi, World Traveller:

Another opinion from SLF....must be |SLF who sit at work all day playing with bulletin boards
IFTB=not SLF lah!
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Old 23rd Sep 2002, 14:03
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In addition to all above mentioned and very important points:

act normal towards the pilots! Not all pilots are 'captain knock knocks" or aviation freaks!!!

There actually are normal behaving pilots who can be very charming and friendly! They are not all looking to get l****d, just looking for a friendly face to pass those boring nightstops...

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Old 23rd Sep 2002, 14:06
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I suppose the really important qualities don't normally register with us pax, those of calmness and ability under pressure; if I ever have to evacuate, I know what I'd consider important!

So that brings me to the more easily judged criteria, and a smile certainly helps. As does the offer of the "spare" liquid refreshment when in the back

One of the nicest touches I remember was (in ecomomy on a nearly full BA744 to Phoenix) being addressed by name throughout - I was Gold at the time and the FA had obviously taken time to read the passenger list and remember my name and seat number!

Generally, though, passenger happiness is not necessarily under your control - a late flight and a middle seat is hard to recover from even with the best attention. You have to work with what you've got!

Cheers - SLF
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Old 23rd Sep 2002, 14:13
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Good question Flaps. Great actually.

From the pax point of view, lots of things but just to be awkward they don't all apply at the same time! Mindreading skills are therefore essential LOL

Smiling is a great start!
Being friendly and approachable comes a close second
Taking care not to bash pax elbows with trollies/self is nice
Basic politeness "would you like some tea sir" is sooo much nicer that "tea?"
Speaking slowly and clearly enough on PA that we can hear what is being said and act on it if required.
NOT treating pax in economy class like cheapskating scum (I can't help it if my company decides we will have an economy drive and give up flying business for a while). So no scowling please.
Trying to help when problems do occur - reassuring us that everything's ok when we do dumb things / can't work the IFE / spill our drinks etc
Not appearing to mind if we ask for another pillow etc.
Letting us know what's going on e.g. if we are delayed, why?
Basically going the extra mile and treating people like passengers and not SLF.

At the end of the day though, provided everything goes ok, pax don't see the FAs as anything other than waiters/waitresses. And good service is absolutely vital. Sorry if that seems harsh but if the service is awful, we don't enjoy the flight. I hope never to find out how well they have been trained in safety matters.

Best FA I ever experienced was an Italian guy in BA economy. Worked like a one armed paper hanger. Nothing was too much trouble. Totally dedicated to pax comfort. Brilliant.

The worst - A CSD on Canadian who gave an almighty earfull to pax who fell asleep / dropped newspaper on floor, causing 'an unacceptable hazard to my crew'

Could go on all day but that'll have to do for now!.

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Old 23rd Sep 2002, 14:14
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Dear Flaps

Dear Flaps...
A personal answer from me to you...
"Be the kind of person WE are"
and that's my simple reply

P.S. did u get that nacked crab for dessert yet???

Last edited by Xenia; 23rd Sep 2002 at 14:20.
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Old 23rd Sep 2002, 21:20
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Hey Xenia,
Good reply there. The bonk buddy I imported is now my boyfriend.

When I am pax,
clear announcements.
water available (QF do this well)
professional (note QF, some of those thai FA's aren't that good)
sense of humour. (Vital I reckon)
genuine love of the job. Sure, not all flights are great but even if you are having a bad day, some one who likes their job will still do it well.

When I am crew.
Treat me as a member of the team
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Old 23rd Sep 2002, 22:00
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I agree with most of the above but as a crew member I think it's also important to have the following :

1. Ability to get along with passengers, and other crew. Don't bring your personal gripes and prejudices to work.
2. A positive attitude. Nothing worse than hearing someone rabbit on about how bad the company is, and how bad they are being treated etc. Passengers can sense when someone is bitter and twisted.
3. Someone who co-operates with other crew. Don't be a loner or a martyr.
4. A crew member should also pace the service to the passenger's needs, not their own! Not always possible on short flights, but on longer ones; take the time to get to know your pax.
5. Don't treat passengers like they are scum! Whether they are economy, first or upgrades they should all be treated with respect, after all they are paying our wages.
6. Know your stuff. Drills, commands, emergency equipment location and operation, possible scenarios, as well as sequence of service.

That's all for now.
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Old 24th Sep 2002, 08:34
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Sorry IFTB, I kinda assumed. It must be pilots who have all day etc etc etc.

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Old 24th Sep 2002, 13:13
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The personal touch really helps - and no, I don't mean memorise the names of all 400 pax, but when we're stretching our legs down the back on a long haul, it's nice to be able to just chat and have a joke with the crew (when they're not busy, of course). Helps us remember you're just real people the same as us. We might even share an interest other than getting to the destination in one peice!

Injecting a bit of humour in the announcements, including the safety briefing, if possible, really helps too. It makes people sit up and listen and not just see it as somthing you are doing to 'put a tick in the box'. From a VS flight: "Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the aircraft other than out on the wing, where the rule is, if you can light it, you can smoke it!"

One minor thing, I hate being called 'sir' and treated like I'm some kind of VIP. I'm not, and it actually has the opposite effect - making me think I'm just an item on a cheklist. (This applies not just on an a/c - also annoys me in banks etc.) Forced smiles and feigned politeness don't really work for me either, but I know you've gotta do it for everyone else, so I'm not complaining. I always feel really uncomfortable being told "goodbye" by a beamingly happy and perfectly presented crew member on disembarkation, knowing that (s)he's knackered and just wants to go to bed and never see another pax again!

For what it's worth, I've never felt the compulsion to complain about a member of cabin crew, and I do complain when I'm not happy, so you must be doing things right on the whole.

Well done, and T H A N K Y O U - (never really get chance to say that to your faces).
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Old 24th Sep 2002, 14:38
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Old 25th Sep 2002, 22:15
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Thumbs up

Good FA's are those who can be friendly and strike up a genuine rapport with their passengers, a smile and time for a few words of chat with individual pax. makes all the difference...as does a sense of humour...even if the flight has been a nightmare the personal touch can make all the difference in what the passenger remembers!

FA's take note, for many people in Economy/Coach this trip is a treat that has cost them much of their savings...try to make it memorable for them please...this is even more important for these passengers than for the pax. in business who probably do this several times a year and it means nothing to them...

...and FA's are not just there to cover safety, you are the ones that create the atmosphere that makes a trip good or bad!
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Old 26th Sep 2002, 07:51
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Would have thought that this subject would be close to FA's hearts & generate some good opinions. It's something we discuss endlessly over beers on lay-overs, and I have learnt a lot from colleagues' ideas. Just the different angles brought to the subject by people's different personalities can be an eye-opener.
But up to now more pax & pilots than FAs have voiced an opinion here.
Interesting, in more ways than one.

A thank you to long suffering passengers & pilots who have bothered to tell me what they think. It's all about the passenger's in the end. And our joint efforts to make them happy enough to come back to our airline.
The difficult part is to balance what makes an individual passenger happy with the restraints imposed by staffing, time and all the other factors we have no influence over.

Boss Raptor's take on this is closest to my own.
Now that*s the biggest surprise of this whole thread for me!
Thanks for your thoughts all.
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Old 26th Sep 2002, 10:44
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It's tough to say what "exactly" makes a good FA.

All the things that boss says deffinately are important, and a sense of humour I would say is a MUST!!! All those without one might as well not bother and go home because you have to laugh stuff off in this job and have a thick skin to a certain extent.

In my career so far I have met all sorts of FA's/CC and I have always been suprised at the wild differences in each of them. That may sound silly but in the same vien we are all recruited along the same lines, but it also suprises me how similar we are as well.

As main crew I probably didn't look at people so closely as much but now as "the on board manager" (bit of BA speak there) I take notice a lot more of how my crew opperate and treat their/my passengers as I believe customer service is of parmount importance after safety.

People who I may have not taken notice of before I now look at more closely and where as before I may have dismissed them as just average; I now see why they have been employed.

They have that "extra" thing, that part of their mind that when dealing with a problem enables them to think "out of the box" or "go that extra mile" (more BA speak sorry!!!). These are the people who will do more than is set out in their job specification or contract. I'm not talking about big things like cleaning the outside of the aircraft the a bucket and sponge and save the company a few pounds, it's the small things that make the difference and it's those things that people notice.

For example quite a few crew I fly with carry fruit teas because they like hot drinks but not big fans of normal tea or coffee. Passengers are exactly the same and often ask for them. If one of my collegues has them they generally always offer the passenger one of their own. Also as a result I carry some myself now (even though I hate em!!! urghhh!! lol!!).

Another example is the passenger who through no fault of their own cannot manage or get through the terminal easily - normally the older generation. Airports can be daunting places for the best of us but if your an elderly person looking to catch a train in the next half hour and your loaded with luggage or are just a bit daunted by the whole travel experiance then doing something which may seem straightforward to the rest of us can seem like climing the highest mountain. I've seen crew come up with passengers and telling me they are helping them through the terminal to help them with their onward journey, in fact I've done it myself.

These are just a couple of examples of what makes the difference between an average FA and an excellent FA. We can all pour drinks and push carts, but can we make that persons day just a bit easier or a but happier? For all those looking to become Cabin Crew this is also what the recruiters are looking for when they interview you, so take note.

Airlines are very much of a muchness in term of service and products now, and it's the crews that make the fundimental difference and get passenger coming back for more. If you want your company to survive these trying times in aviation then you've got to show your passengers you are the best, that you are doing your best, and you actually care about doing your best.

Well that's my 10 pence worth!!

Also a I find a few jokes on the PA every so often oils those smiles on my passengers faces and makes the trip a bit more enjoyable and memorable - BUT PLEASE don't bother if your not funny!!! Be honest with yourself a stick to being proffesional!!
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Old 26th Sep 2002, 18:02
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Such a simple question, so difficult to answer without sounding like the naff carrier adverts of the 1980s.

Firstly, in 37 years of zooming around, I have had so few bad experiences that I find 95% of service must be OK or Good or Brilliant. Which leaves me little constructive to say. Or it might just mean that I have very low standards.

I would like to know that FAs could stop silly pax from wandering around the cabin when we are already well into the let-down and similar saftey issues. But I know that the pax will think that the world has ganged up on them and that YOU are the personification of all that is wrong!!!

Thinking about this some more, the problem is to find good Pax!! Mostly what makes a good FA appear bad is a persistently stoopid pax!

The best ever? Last year, I was in C on LH long haul (MUC ~ JNB A340) I am one of those that stays up late reading and writing, so the personal light is very important. Mine did not work.

The attendent struggled with it to get the fitting out and change the bulb but it was jammed and they gave up. I tried. The flight was full and the only other seat in the centre and I am a window junkie! Then another attendent came over and struggled away at trying to get this wretched little fitting out. All of us bemoaned that none of us had out Leathermen tools, as this were in the hold! After 20 minutes of struggle from all of us, I thanked the FA and CSD and told them to forget it. BUT the FA continued until he got the fitting out and we discovered a lose connection, which he fixed. So, I had told him not to bother any more - but he did bother!
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Old 26th Sep 2002, 19:31
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Thumbs up

all of the above!
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Old 27th Sep 2002, 09:15
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From the crew-side I like:
-colleagues with whom you can have a laugh (but not to loud - as not to disturb our pax )
- who you can depend on and who know what they do (service, as well as safetywise) (and if they forgot something - tell us, we help and are happy to explain! nothing worse than someone who has no clue but pretends to be the best)
- those, who sees where help is needed and who is willing to go there and give a hand

- to see that they like their job - if they have fun - we pax have

I want fish
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Old 2nd Oct 2002, 15:59
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PATIENCE is all you need with a great big SMILE
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