Flight attendant, Rawina Wahab is also a mother of two. Describing her days, she said that she is more than an air stewardess. Some days can get tough, but the exhaustion to her is a good one as she is finally living her dream job of soaring in the sky.
A different environment, everytime
Obsessed with neatly arranged shelves, flight attendant Rawina Wahab is a tough cookie with a delicate heart. According to her, being a flight attendant is more than meets the eye — she is a waitress, first-aider, cleaner, baby-sitter, and caretaker on air.
Flying during the pandemic season is very different. Rawina shared that initially, it feels very odd as she and her colleagues did not greet each other through handshakes and hugs like before. “That was how we used to greet each other before we start our pre-flight briefing. It is like a mantra before we start our works.”
Nonetheless, cabin crews around the world had learned to adapt to the current situation to provide safe flights for everyone. “Apart from that, everything now requires additional procedures regardless of boarding, service and landing.”
“Am I worried to work during this pandemic? Absolutely. We might not know if anyone is the carrier, but it doesn’t stop me from giving my best at work. Even if it means I have to give extra attention to everything, as long as my passengers are safe and sound, I’ll be happy with that,” Rawina added.
A mix of Lun Bawang, Bisaya and Kedayan, Rawina recalled that being an air stewardess was her childhood dream. “I thought it would be fun to travel every day. I was so young and naive, back then!” she said. Rawina then explained that the job of a flight attendant can be tough, “but it doesn’t stop me from living the dream and experiencing the job.”
Having been in the industry for four years now, Rawina said that it improved her in different ways. “As a flight attendant, I learned how to multi-task. Performing several tasks simultaneously can be tiring. But still, I enjoy my work very much because with it, I can give passengers a pleasant travel experience.”
Apart from that, she has also learned to be punctual as time management is extremely important when working in the airline industry. “Delays will cost the company a lot. As for me, I have to know my time regardless of my duties, especially during service.”
The lady hailing from Kuching shared an example on the importance of multitasking and time management, whereby “During a flight, there will be 100 pre-booked meals that need to be heated up in 20 minutes and to be served on a 40-minute flight in a complete set-up cart, hence, time is of the essence when working in the industry.” At the same time, Rawina said that it is important to keep the galley clean and sparkly at all times.
“To be honest, it is not a glamorous job as it may appear to some. There is always that unexpected risk that we will face every day, and that involve lives.”
Before working as a flight attendant, Rawina disclosed that once selected, there will be training, drills, exams and daily quizzes.
“There are 968 pages of safety and emergency procedures manual that we need to understand and remember within less than two months of training,” said Rawina.
According to Rawina, once qualified for the job, flight attendants are a walking manual as long as they are in the industry. “These are what we have to go through to make sure future flights goes smoothly and everything is safe for the passengers.”
Aside from memorising the manual, Rawina’s daily routine also consists of personal grooming to keep yourself presentable at all times. On working days, she can take three hours to get ready as she is very meticulous about her appearance. “From hair to make-up, it must be on point at all times.
“First impression is the most important thing when working as a flight attendant. As a front line service crew, aside from gestures and attitude, you will always need to smile and appear friendly.
Albeit the tough working life, Rawina is always thankful for it, “As it is what I have always aspired to be, I feel like I am blessed to be a cabin crew.” To her, it is always exciting to fly, even though it is tiring, “but it is a good kind of exhaustion. To be frank, it is worth every paycheque.”
As a flight attendant, Rawina also had witnessed many events. “From in-flight arguments to love stories, a flight always has a surprise in store. Every day is different. Even if I did the same thing, same routine numerous times, the different faces on board makes it a different environment everytime and I like that.”
Rawina emphasised on her responsibilities as a flight attendant. Despite the challenges such as not being able to see her family often, the letters and feedback she would receive from passengers kept her going. “Some days, I would receive feedbacks from passengers who would tell me that this was their most memorable flight, and it is a joyous feeling to know that they are comfortable and happy throughout.”
The most memorable flight for her was the day of her birthday. “I had planned on that day to go back to Kuching to celebrate with my family. However, I was called for a flight to Dhaka. I was not motivated at all for the flight.”
Recalling the moment, Rawina said after she completing the flight, her senior cabin crew called her to her station with a serious tone. “When I was walking down the aisle, she asked the passengers to sing Happy Birthday. I could not hold my emotion. I should be home with my family but they made the flight feel like home instead.”
Rawina said her crew members surprised her with a pineapple cake and birthday wishes written on a serviette. “Hence, began the endless birthday wishes all up till landing!” she happily said.
On land, Rawina is a mother of two boys. Juggling between her mother duties and her duties in the sky, Rawina emphasised on the importance of time management and daily planning.
“I will always spend my extra time to settle whatever it is at home so that I will not be worried about it at work. Whenever my kids are taking their naps, I rather not rest but do house chores instead,” shared Rawina.
Despite her packed schedule, she will also find time to pamper herself during her offdays after a tiring week. “With the help and understanding of my other half, I can always have my ‘me’ time whenever I need it.”