How does it feel to be a flight attendant? “I never realised it could be such a tough job!” exclaimed Yamada Tomomi, after completing a two-day inflight service training course with Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong.Seventeen Japanese women from Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya joined the first “Cathay Pacific Flight Attendant Experience Tour” this week, coming to Hong Kong to get a first-hand experience of what it takes to become an airline flight attendant. The focus of the tour was a special training programme designed specifically for the tourists, covering aviation knowledge, an introduction to the career of a flight attendant, grooming, and practical skills in cabin services - including a session on wine tasting.
The members of the first tour were all excited about taking part in the training. A simple ceremony marked their “graduation” on completion of the course.
Cathay Pacific’s General Manager Corporate Communication Alan Wong said: “We’ve introduced this new package because we discovered there is a certain segment in some Asian countries interested in learning about what it’s like to be a cabin crew member. Flight attendant training is one of the key factors in Cathay Pacific’s success and we are delighted to be able to offer customers the chance to view things from the other side of the service trolley.”
Those who flew from Japan for the inaugural training course at Cathay City enjoyed what was a new experience for them all. Ms Tomomi, a secretary, said she would like to change her work environment and “this trip offers me an opportunity to experience the work of a flight attendant for myself.”
Acknowledging that the nature of the job is not as leisurely as most people think, Yamada Tomomi said: “I like to meet people from different parts of the world. An airline with an extensive global network like CX would give me this valuable chance.”
Yamashita Katsuko joined this course for another purpose. “I’m interested in foreign languages. I’d like to take the advantage of working at a Hong Kong airline to sharpen my English and Putonghua,” she said.
Ayano Suzuki, who already had some airline knowledge through a summer job at the airport in her hometown, Chiba, said: “I’ve learnt a lot of useful things, such as how to use polite Japanese expressions when speaking to customers.”
Another member of the group, university student Masako Takada from Osaka, said: “It’s exciting for me because this is the first time I’ve come to Hong Kong. The Cathay people have been kind and friendly - and very professional as well. I’m really happy with the way we’ve been treated.”
Yuka Kozaka, who has flown on Cathay Pacific a few times before, said she joined the tour “because I wanted to check out the secret that lies behind Cathay’s great inflight service for myself”, while Mika Furukawa said she actually aspired to become a flight attendant. “I think Hong Kong would be a good starting place for my career and I’m sure there would a lot to learn and experience in such a multicultural place,” she said.
Launched by Cathay Pacific Airways in conjunction with Cathay Pacific Holidays, the “Cathay Pacific Flight Attendant Experience Tour” targets a number of the airline’s key Asian markets. Classes will be conducted in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese or Korean to suit different markets.