It is unusual to find someone who gets laid off and yet loves the organization he has worked for. And not just love, but someone who is a die hard fan! Our meeting with an ex-Jet Airways cabin crew gave us an incredible insight into the airline industry, how it trains its crew and what makes it an environment that is thriving and warm. Meet Kenneth Alphonso, the young, very smart and ever smiling cabin crew of the then Jet Airways.
What has been your best experience of being with Jet?
Super Layovers – Most airlines in India don’t give layovers. Even if they do, it’s a really short one. But in Jet, they have a layover in a lot of countries which you won’t normally visit. Add to this the fact that they would give us adequate time to rest in between. This was a super opportunity for us to explore new places.
Best In Class Training – Jet’s training was considered amongst the best in the industry and so most companies would readily hire you since you were an ex-Jet cabin crew.
Fair Playing Ground– Though this profession is seen as mostly female dominated, Jet never discriminated based on gender and gave an equal opportunity to all in every department, ensuring the most talented people were in the best place in the organization.
Encouraged Upskilling – Jet always encouraged all the employees to learn new things. For example, when we started flights to Paris, they encouraged people who knew little French to take up advanced courses and were kept in the front line in these flights.
In spite of all that happened with Jet and with everyone losing their job suddenly – including you, I have never heard you say anything unpleasant about the company. Why is that?
That is because whatever said and done, Jet as an organization has always taken great care of its employees, going to great lengths to support us. I remember an instance of my roommate, whose dad fell very sick and he had to go back to his hometown. For 2 months he wasn’t working and in spite of the terribly tense situation that Jet was already in, they still paid the entire amount of the salary to him. Acts like these don’t reach the media but leave a very deep personal impact on us.
At Jet, we never felt it was just a place of work we go to or that it is only a source of income. We were all so emotionally connected internally to each other and to the management, it felt like one big happy and robust family.
What did appreciation look like at Jet?
While we all thrived to give our very best each day, it was gratifying to know that these actions were being noticed. Many happy customers would often write back to the organization, who in turn would publish these appreciation notes in our in-house magazine ‘Jetwings’. They would also give us a shout out through internal mailers that would reach every employee of the company, often inspiring more people to up their game. They would also share it in the cabin crew whatsapp groups.
One thing that you loved most about your job?
With a broad smile Kenneth says – ‘I loved my life up in the air. Even though it wasn’t on a broomstick, this is the best I could get.’ (Harry Potter style!)
Travelling time zones, being up in the air is not as easy a job as it looks. What kept you motivated?
The chance to interact with new people every single day, getting a chance to see new destinations and new cultures has been a key motivator for me. I relished these opportunities and made the most of them – soaking in the new experiences and becoming a more well rounded professional and individual. The plus side is also not working with the same people every day, which means every now and then you are working with different people in the same team and enjoying the camaraderie across the length and breadth of the whole ecosystem!
How did you make it a happy workplace for your fellow crew members?
From guiding first time crew members and easing them into their roles to cutting many birthday cakes on board, we did it all! We simply needed a reason to celebrate an an ordinary day would turn into some fun time with our teams.
How did you make it a good experience for your customers?
Our customers are the reason we exist. From celebrating their birthdays on flight to taking special care of the newborns taking their first flight, we ensured that each flying member on the aircraft was taken care of, made to feel comfortable and left the flight with a happy experience. We’d go out of our way to assist the senior citizens and unwell customers to help them get connected to their next flights through our extended support.
What would you like to share with our audience as an ending note?
For everyone reading this interview, I’d like to say – ‘Cabin crew is not just about looking good. Neither are we just overpaid waiters. Countless hours of studying with tough training like fire drills and ditching drills show us how to be alert at all times. We have to be in that frame of mind all the time, and still maintain a cool and smiling composure. Being situationally aware is absolutely necessary for a cabin crew. And we enjoy every part of the jobs we do – from making you smile to taking care of you in an emergency!’
So the next time you take a flight we hope you enjoy the entire experience at a whole new level as you are more observant of all that goes into ensuring you have a memorable one!
Kenneth today works with Giftiicon Solutions as a Business Development Manager.
You can follow him on Linkedin