After making my momentous decision, which I told you about in my last blog post, I applied to SWISS to join the airline as Cabin Crew. I spent days working hard on my personal statement, and finally I decided it was ready to be submitted.
Less than two days later, to my utter delight I received my invitation to an “assessment”. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect on the day.
Candidates are invited to an assessment, where they will be asked to complete various tasks and tests. Their language skills will also be tested. Participants who receive a positive response after the assessment will be considered for a training course.
So that was that. Preparing for various tasks and tests was difficult. After all, I had no idea what these tasks and tests were. I gave my language skills a bit of a boost by watching English TV programmes, visiting Italian restaurants and studying French wine labels.
I’d love to tell you what happened on day of the assessment.
I was still quite tired from the Lauberhorn Event, where I was deeply involved in the organisation as an intern, but highly motivated for this exciting days of tests, I arrived at the Obstgartenstrasse in Kloten. The first thing was an English test. It consisted of various multiple-choice questions, followed by a round of introductions so we could also demonstrate our verbal skills.
We had until lunchtime to solve various group activities. They included things such as discussing the characteristics of a Flight Attendant. This was followed by a role play where we simulated an on-board situation, which really helped to relax the mood. We all laughed a lot, and yet everyone was aware of their role. And as we all wanted to show ourselves from our “Schwiizer-Schoggi” side, it didn’t take long for us to create utter confusion. Obviously it was going to take quite a lot of training and discipline before we would be ready to face the public.
The initial selections were made at lunchtime. Anyone who has ever watched a casting show will know just what it felt like. Three of the girls were told, “I’m afraid I don’t have a boarding pass for you today.”
The rest of us who had made it through to the second round went straight on to another test. This one was optional, though, because it was about the “additional language test”.
If you speak another language apart from German and English, you will earn more. The choices are French, Spanish and/or Italian. As a successful language test means another CHF 50 a month in your pay packet, it was time to prove our (language) skills. Or in my case, “¡manos a la obra!”
The day ended with a mini application interview in German and English. The assessors and applicants were relaxed and friendly with each other, so there really was nothing to be worried about.
And when I received a positive response next day, I was absolutely over the moon. At the same time, though, I was also extremely nervous and very proud. That was when it first hit me: I’m gonna be a Flight Attendant!
But then it was time for a slightly less pleasant part: the medical check to make sure I was fit to fly. They really do check everything. First I had to complete a form with information on my state of health. Next came a personal talk with the doctor. Once he had tested my reflexes and my blood pressure (which was a little high, understandably in the light of my nervousness), it was time for some blood tests and to provide a urine sample.
At the very end we had a sight and hearing test, just to be absolutely sure. Oh, and I almost forgot: if you haven’t had your vaccinations, you’ll have something to look forward to. Best just to close your eyes and roll up your sleeve.
With a slightly tender arm, but feeling very relieved, it was time to go on to the uniform stores. As I mentioned in my earlier blog, this was a very special moment for me. After all, seeing myself in the SWISS uniform also represented the start of my exciting new life above the clouds.
A few days later, I was invited along to a fitting. In my mind’s eye, I had this romantic image of a lovely little tailor’s workshop. A smart location, lovely changing rooms, large mirrors, and perhaps even a glass of Prosecco in my hand. The reality, of course, was somewhat different. The lovely little tailor’s workshop was more like a warehouse. My glass of Prosecco turned into a bottle of water. Sadly, the fitting was over all too soon, and in fact I hardly had time to look at myself in the mirror, never mind take photos.
Once I had tried my uniform on, all the preparations were over. When I then also signed my contract – I had already got used to seeing the SWISS logo in my letterbox – there was nothing left in the way of my approaching training.
And I soon forgot my disappointment at the brevity of the uniform fitting. That’s because we were able to collect our uniforms on the first day of training, which meant that I was then able to look at and admire myself from every angle in front of a pretty mirror at home. As I looked at myself, I experienced a lovely feeling. A feeling of belonging, mixed with a touch of pride and growing confidence. The only things missing were my shoes. Flight Attendants have to buy their own. One pair with heels, one pair of in-flight shoes, one pair with a lower heel, and then another pair because they just happened to catch my eye. The requirement is for one pair of “highs” and one pair of “lows”, but sometimes you just have to spoil yourself.
And next time I’ll be telling you what it is like when you first push the trolley down the aisle, and what misfortune befell me on my taster flight. I shall also tell you what my first training day was like, and which other future Flight Attendants joined me as we embarked on this new adventure together.
Look out, world – here we come!