25 August, 2019

The journey of a Reluctant Air Steward............

The journey of a Reluctant Air Steward: Unique insights into the airline industry: For men who want to fly....

If you are not in the airline industry, ever wonder what it is like for those that are?  How about when you board the aircraft full of the joys and excitement for your latest vacation or perhaps the business trip and stopped to wonder what it is really like to be a member of the cabin crew?  Are those stories we're heard about the hijinx and other such fun malarkey going on down route really true?  

Lifting the lid on those and other aspects of a job that is still regarded as one of the most glamorous jobs in the airline biz, is former British Airways cabin manager and airline veteran Simon James Marton.

"I've worked as a dispatcher for Brymon at  Bristol BRS 1999/2000, preceded by Goldcrest/ Caledonian (Tristars), Air 2000 (757s) and Cityflyer (ATRs and RJs) at London Gatwick LGW 96-99.  Left the industry for 11 years, got married and had kids then kinda reluctantly went back to join British Airways' mixed fleet at London Heathrow LHR. It was er....an interesting setup - in all the ways that means!"  he told us. 

Journey of a Reluctant Air Steward is the story of one young man’s foray into the British airline industry, without qualifications or experience.  Along the way, we find out how he got his foot in the door and started a career behind the scenes in this business we call aviation.

Marton takes us through tragedies and pitfalls to a career pinnacle of getting a car with a flashing light on top!  He describes the science of aircraft weight and balance, opens a private Greek-Cypriot taverna behind the Avis counter, and shows how foraging works on a quiet afternoon. 

Facts and anecdotes about colleagues, memorable flights are interspersed with frequent comedy and occasional sadness, as you realise that he is a straight man who feels somewhat lost and bereft of identity. After a break of 11 years,  he heads back to the industry and finds out what has really changed?    

Marton writes, “The appearance of a whole troupe of flight and cabin crew uniformed-up, with neck-scarves, swept-up hair, metal wings, gold stripes and long legs parading through an airport can lead one to think actually it must be glamorous,”   Yet, whilst it may seem that way,  it is often far from the truth. “Flying is, however, tiring. Exhausting is a more fitting description and fatigue is common, but you just deal with it until you can do it no longer.”

“The work is pretty straightforward: giving out food, drink and information - oh, and being personally responsible for about fifty people’s overall safety.

“It doesn’t stop there: you have to be a compliance officer a nurse, a listener, a confidante perceptive, art, in-control and an ambassador for the company. Smiling helps a lot.” Marton tells. 

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