Friday, May 15, 2009

MAS Bloggers' Cabin Crew Experience

Part of the perks of being a blogger is not only meeting my one true love (ehehh…) but I also got the chance of taking part in a half-day session of cabin crew training.

Now, which one of you ladies have never ever dreamt of being a flight stewardess when you were younger? I believe so many of us have that dream at least for one small minute… I know I did… especially those days when I was young-er (I’m still young!) when the airport was based in Subang… those cabin crew were scattered all over PJ and I would always catch a glimpse of groups of smartly-attired, uniform-clad cabin crew in their MAS vans transporting them to and from Subang Airport.

I never really re-visit that dream once my height stopped at 150cm, plus that sudden drive and belief that I would make a good (and glamorous) medical doctor ☺

Anyways, it all started with a boring and long night, anticipating the arrival of my the one to return from London when I decided to finally click on that icon on facebook. It links to the Malaysia Airlines Travel page and I decided to be one of its fans.

They had a contest running and it was pretty simple – to just complete the sentence – no slogans required and nothing additional to purchase in relation to the contest. I didn’t give it much hoot and read what others’ wrote. The contest was open only to bloggers and 10 will be picked as winners. Originality is key and I suddenly realised that there is one thing I had always wanted to learn from looking at them female flight stewardess. Thus, I wrote, “I want to attend MAS cabin crew training because I've always wanted to know how the ladies don their sanggul... it looks so simple yet I have always failed in making my hair look that smooth and professionally done :D”.

The next day, after returning home from picking up the one at the airport, I clicked on the page to show him what I had done and was surprised to note that I was picked as a winner…

So, there I was… attending the session with much hopes, although nothing much could be learnt from that half-day training in comparison to those actual months of training. What do I expect, right... it's not as if we were all getting certs :) but at least I'd know how it feels like for a cabin crew to go through the training programme.

What I instantly noticed upon arriving at the Malaysia Airlines Academy was the fact that all of us bloggers were treated like journalists… anyone in the communications industry would agree how special journalists are usually treated. And I guess, from those years of so many parties telling the corporate sector to take bloggers seriously as they are perceived as ‘new-age reporters’, Malaysia Airlines is probably one of them who has taken the first step to recognise bloggers as part of their branding, CR and media relations activity.

We were warmly greeted by a big group of people from the airline, mainly those from the Media Relations department, Training and their PR consultant. That was when I realised how serious they think of us bloggers…

Mr Gunalan led the briefing at the start of the programme and Tengku Evelyn then elaborated on the seriousness of Cabin Crew Training. After that, we were brought to a grooming class where it was already filled with attractive new recruits. My hopes to learn to do the bun the MAS-flight stewardess way dashed out the door when I realised that it isn’t as easy as one thinks. A cabin crew goes thru a 4-day grooming training when we were only allotted a good one hour for grooming and deportment.

i was impressed with the new recruits as they look so pretty.

The main highlight was letting us know how important make up is to a flight stewardess, as made perfectly clear by the external consultant as she picked out a fresh face to be transformed into a glam babe. I was afraid seeing how thick the make up was on the consultant's face but surprisingly, she did a really good job on Elena. In fact, albeit her thick make up on, she looked really good in photos.

fresh-faced Elena, before the make-over...

step-by-step explanation while the bloggers go wild with their shutters ;)

tadaaaa... see how make up could brighten up a person's already sweet face...

- all 3 pictures were taken from the Malaysia Airlines Travel page

I guess the flight stewardess all need specific type of long-wearing make-up as they need to maintain a clean, matte complexion so that they look fresh and sweet at all times despite working under cabin pressure where us ladies are always advised to wear minimal make-up to prevent from clogged pores and foundation turning cakey.

Despite not being able to learn to do the 'sanggul', I still managed to get my hair done ;P with specific instruction to only do a style that doesn’t make me look extra chubby (ahaks!).

The deportment class was even more interesting as my eyes wander the entire room… they had complete props – dining table and chairs, sofa and even a runway with mirrors all around the room.

stand-up straight, chin up, good posture... and walk.

The eye-opener would be attending their first aid class and safety training. We managed to catch those going for their refresher course, at a time when the trainer was going into specifics on a medical condition. Like, you think those flight attendants would only stand pretty and serve you meals… you are dead wrong. I was damn impressed… especially seeing them with dummy babies, trying to revive and help an infant from choking. That struck a chord in me as I couldn’t imagine what to do (*touch wood*) if that were to happen to my baby. It – was – scary.

check for breathing/source of choking/etc.

revive position, when unconscious (and after any hazardous material
already exited air way)...

blow oxygen into infant (and i can clearly hear air entering dummy lungs)...

walahhh... the infant actually coos happily when it regains consciousness ;D

As for safety training, I must say that I have a safety passport which will expire in another year… and I went for the basic first aid training and offshore safety training about 2 years ago but I hardly remember the specifics until my memory was refreshed when I saw the requirements for their safety training.

we all had a go at the slide for our mock evacuation.

i remember this formation - small circle where everyone is mighty close
to each other to keep each other warm and prevent excessive lethargy;
larger circle at the sight of an airplane flying over to attract attention. am i right?

i also remember that you should only inflate the life jacket after you've exited the plane...

- photo of formation and life jacket taken from Khairul Sufi's collection on facebook

My point is, this half-a-day opportunity made me see that the career of a cabin crew shouldn’t be taken lightly… you see them pretty, you see them only serving you meals only because nothing eventful ever appears while you fly... well, at least not on those flights I took…

A flight attendant in Malaysia Airlines not only have to look pretty (and smart), they are also equipped with very important knowledge during those emergency situations. I mean, do most of us really know what hypoglycemic means? Do you know how to treat it? More importantly, can you tell from seeing someone that he/she is showing symptoms of hypoglycemia? And how do you treat a hypoglycemic in a coma, effectively?

we gate-crashed a refresher course... and happily took photos
of the first aid session. all of them were evaluated strictly since there
is no way they could gamble away human life in the air.

- photo taken from Khairul Sufi's collection on facebook

The ladies who don the tight-fitting kebaya could also apprehend rowdy passengers, and they’re taught to handle critical situations like terrorism/hijacking. What’s more, just imagine them saving your life while being thrown at sea, in their kebaya. Haha… I know it may seem like a beautiful sight until you know what it’s like to be in the water, trying to swim to safety into the raft… I tried that in my previous safety training and trust me, in deep sea, salty water and those huge waves, it ain’t easy getting to safety… it is difficult enough doing it in those calm water of the swimming pool.

imagine having to get uncomfortably wet in tight kebayas
and thick make-up.

and swim laps... under very strict observation and instructions.

the kecil-kecil cili padi trainer with a really firm voice instructing
the trainees while i busily snapped photos non-stop for Khairul
using his camera.

In this sense, I guess you should realise that nothing’s ever easy in life… you may think a career looks simple (although this one has its perks, eh?), easy and glamorous but everything always has its pros and cons.

At the end of the session, all of us emerged with a different outlook, but the same fascination of the cabin crew in uniform :D

I would like to thank Malaysia Airlines, especially the Media Relations and Training department for having us all there and showing us true Malaysian Hospitality.

all of us capturing one of the many memorable moments on
camera... truly an experience one may never forget ;)

They have many more contests updated regularly on their page in facebook. I regretted adding them as a fan a tad late as I missed ‘the Great Escapade’ by a few minutes. Otherwise, I am confident that little jj’s ranting on our trip to London could at least get noticed… ‘she’d’ just have to add another paragraph on which Stimulus Package would be perfect for us ;P. Oh well…

But you don’t need to miss out on anything. Just click on the icon of Malaysian Airlines Travel on facebook and become a fan. They have plenty of information to share with you with regards to travel tips, food excursions and many many contests. Who knows... even if you don't obtain anything in kind from Malaysia Airlines, you could just get that rare chance to make friends with perfect strangers, like we all did..... while experiencing something one could only dream of, like we all had... aha :D

one of the many group photos on the first class cabin,
photo courtesy of William

What are you waiting for... check out the Malaysia Airlines Travel page on facebook and be a fan! You'd be sure to check out their page every once in a while for their informative and interesting updates.

7 comments:

rokh said...

wow! you have written...i have yet to. *hides face

Chech said...

Juan, congratulations on the win. I once had a dream to be an air stewardess, too -each time after watching an episode of Stewardess Monogatari a.k.a Chiaki during my kindergarten days.

dillazag said...

how cool. found your blog thru Amy's My Life Journeys. Hope you don't mind me linking you. Like the way you write, babe. ;)
-Dilla-

toughcookie said...

rachel,
haha... still got time :)

chech,
you'd make a really stunning stewardess, i'm sure... imagine what kinds of photo collection you'd already have from all those travelling, eh :D

hi there dilla,
sure! i'm happy you did. now i have another blog i could follow ;)

btw, i visited your blog and truly enjoy reading your posts.

cheers.

Elena Lee said...

helloooo.... decided to drop by. yea, keep on writing. =p linked ya!

FairyGodmother said...

hey there!

didn't know that you were here!

could have dropped by and said hi!

Del Glamiva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.