In the summer of 2011, I met Porjai during her layover in Seoul, South Korea. An inquiry for directions turned into a fun-filled day and an unexpected friendship between Porjai and myself. Recently, I was able to speak with Porjai about her travels and her experience as a flight attendant for AirAsia X, a popular budget airline based out of Malaysia.
LVM: Why did you first decide to become a flight attendant?
Porjai: When my mum first talked to me in English I was in primary school, and I was so impressed at how capable she was at doing that and so many other things, I just wanted to be like her. That was what inspired me to study English.
Then one day I went to a relative’s house and met his girlfriend, she was a flight attendant and every time she came to visit she had lots of stories to tell. I sat there and listened to her talk to everybody in the house about her life which seemed so exciting and wonderful, she had been given a chance to discover this exquisite world.
LVM: What was the process of becoming a flight attendant like? How did your process differ from the process for flight attendants who now want to work with AirAsia?
Porjai: During the process back then it took about 2 months before I knew the results and it was 2 months of suffering since I first applied. I had to wake up very early to get ready and go to the place where it was held. I filled in the application forms, handed in documents, waited for the pre-screen, had my weight and height measured, the first round interview, test for flight attendant, waited for result from the test, second round interview, group discussion or third round interview, waited (again) for the result, medical check, waited for the result (gosh again!!!). The aviation hospital sent the result directly to the airline, I waited for the result and signed the contracts, went through the training process and here I am!
I think nowadays the process is still much the same, though there might be some small changes.
LVM: What are the main complaints that you get from passengers while you are flying?
Porjai: Different countries have different complaints but the main thing I always hear are:
- “Why do I have to fasten my seat belt?” For safety reasons as sometimes turbulence, decompression etc. could – otherwise cause passengers injuries. The belts keep them held safe and secure.
- “Why can’t I put my bag(s) under the seat?” – Again it’s for their safety, in case of emergencies the life vests are stowed under the seats and if too MANY bags or a BIG bag is stowed there they might not be able to pull out the vest.
- “Why can’t I change my meal/ choose something else?” – Because the airline I’m working for has regulations and choices for passengers and one of those is a “pre-booked meal” and as they have already chosen their meal online the catering will have already been loaded according to their selected choices. This also helps prevent wastage of quickly perishable foods.
LVM: Generally how long are your shifts? What are your key duties during your shift?
Porjai: It depends on the destinations we fly to but approximately between about 5 ½ and 8 ½ hours. We have procedures for the service right before we get on the plane. For each flight we will be positioned by the purser and after we board the plane we will do the duties and checks. After we have done the meal service(s) we will have a break but it’s not really like a break because when the passengers want something we of course have to attend, some are inquiries and some are for their comforts etc. Sometimes we are just chit chatting among the crew, and catching up on the gossip, lol.
LVM: What is the best place you have gotten to travel to through work?
Porjai: For this answer I have to say the best “places” because there are three places in my heart. First is London, England. I love this historical country and its own special uniqueness. The second is Tokyo, Japan, I love everything there, the food, the people, the culture, it’s a very modern city but it’s also traditional. The same goes for my third place Seoul, Korea and during one of my trips there I met some wonderful people, one of whom is the owner of this blog, and she is my friend Miss Chanel (insert smiley face)
LVM: What is the best part about being flight attendant? What is the worst part?
Porjai: The best part of being a flight attendant is that you can travel all the time and explore this beautiful world, and all the cultures and people. Of course it’s well paid but bad always comes with the good, and the worst part of being a flight attendant is not really having a routine lifestyle whether it’s sleeping, eating, relaxing etc. There is also lot of pressure up there, sometimes there might be something wrong but you can’t do anything because you are flying or in a different country but if you learn to cope with it, then it’s no problem.
LVM: Has any of your passengers ever asked you on a date? Have you ever accepted?
Porjai: Yes they have, several times from different passengers and it’s not only me, my friends have been asked by them as well! I’m already in a relationship anyway, and I take my job very seriously so I will not get involved with anything like that with a passenger.