After moving to a new city with her partner and struggling to make friends, Rachel found herself in a career that helped her form lifetime bonds with her workmates.
“It’s the people who make the job and the bonds that you make with the people you work with every day. You’re always working with different people so it’s awesome to meet new people, hear their stories and experience new things.”
When Rachel first left school she studied for four years, earning a Bachelor of Arts and gaining a diploma in art curatorship at the University of Canterbury. But she says what really helped her find her dream job was her experience in customer service. Rachel worked as a waitress throughout high school and then in retail after university, before applying to be a flight attendant.
“I just wanted to be part of a bigger company, somewhere where I could start from the bottom and work my way up, so I thought the airline industry would be a perfect place to start.”
Rachel’s customer service background had taught her a lot about dealing with people and being able to talk to anyone.
“As a flight attendant you’ve got to be enthusiastic, outgoing and very compassionate. You’ve always got to be able to talk to people; even if you’re not feeling too well or having trouble at home, you can come to work and put on a new persona, and it’s almost like the aircraft is your stage.”
Being a flight attendant, however, isn’t all glitz and glamour. Rachel found the three-and-half weeks of training once she got into the airline more stressful than her entire four years of university study. Flight attendants have to be prepared to deal with emergencies, passengers’ physical and mental health issues, and safety procedures during a flight – all while remaining calm and smiling throughout.
Shift work is part of the job that Rachel says can take a bit of a toll on your personal life. “Sometimes you might work on Christmas, New Year or your birthday, so you’ve got to make sacrifices sometimes, but I love my job and the good definitely outweighs the bad.” There are days where work is harder, such as dealing with a medical issue on board, but the support of the team and cabin crew is always there and Rachel says that’s something she values about her job.
Rachel urges anyone who might be interested to just go for it! “The opportunities in the industry are endless and even if you start in cabin crew, you can fly domestically, internationally, manage a crew on board or even work on ground staff.
“I go to work every day and I don’t even feel like I’m working. “