Hostess with the Mostess

Flight attendant training institutes have a set criteria to select the perfect air-hostess. But is that what business travellers want? EXEC spoke to one of the best training academy – The Frankfinn Institute and business travellers.

Flight attendant training institutes have a set criteria to select the perfect air-hostess. But is that what business travellers want? EXEC spoke to one of the best training academy – The Frankfinn Institute and business travellers

“Service with a smile” is the mantra of any service industry, and this typically epitomises the airline industry, especially the cabin crew. So, what makes an ideal air-hostess? Sameer Walia, Sales & Marketing Manager said, “The Frankfinn Institute not only prepares students for the aviation industry, but also the hospitality and travel industry since the requirements are similar. With respect to the aviation industry, there are two entities: one is the Cabin Crew and the other pertains to the Ground and Allied Services. Students undergo a training program called the  “Galileo” which is one of the largest software provider in the airline ticketing. This not only helps in ground services but also the travel industry as well. A majority of the students tend to go for the cabin crew positions as they are attracted by the glamour and money factor. Our trainers come from the hospitality and travel industry, and their experience comes in handy while training.  The programs offered here are diplomas and postgraduate diplomas. The Diploma in Aviation, Hospitality and Travel Management and a

Our selection criteria for candidates are a pleasing personality, and essentially be a brand ambassador for the organisation, while physically we look for a clear complexion, not simply fair skin; they could be wheatish as well. Besides the face, we also look at elbows and hands too. For women, a minimum height of 5’2 inches is a must, and for men the height requirement is 5’7inches.”

EXEC spoke to business travellers to find out what they considered to be an ideal air-hostess, which airlines have the most pleasant airhostess and memorable experiences they’ve encountered.

Gaurav Suri, Media Manager, Delhi:

“For me an ideal air-hostess is someone who brings in a humane touch to the flying experience and not just be a plastic smile model. I like hostesses who bring extra care, concern and warmth into their actions and make the journey for the passengers a comfortable one. I have found the services of the airhostesses on Etihad Airways on international flights, and Kingfisher Airways on the domestic sector to be a notch above other air services. Their airhostesses are well groomed, have a deep understanding of their jobs and make travel a comfortable journey. A memorable experience that I had was on a Kingfisher flight from New Delhi to Bangalore. The air-hostess made the journey for an elderly couple a comfortable one. Once the couple took their seats, the husband informed the air-hostess to wake him up every 30-minutes so as to administer medicines to his ailing wife. As he was also under medication, the air-hostess did not feel right to wake him up, and hence made sure the lady had her medication as per the given time, and looked after her like her own mother. It was an experience which touched me and enhanced the respect which Kingfisher air-hostesses command.”

Apaar Chabbra, Sr. Specialist Data Center Management, HCL America Inc. Delhi:

“I have always found the air-hostesses on domestic flights to be more courteous than the counterparts on international airlines. For me, an ideal air-hostess is one who knows her job well, takes good care of the passengers and ensures a comfortable journey for passengers. I find the air-hostesses on Malaysian Airlines to be wonderful on the international sector. Domestically, I’d say Go Air since they are well mannered and know how to deal with situations. An experience with air hostesses which I recall which left me touched was a travel few years back which I had to Chennai for a business meeting. As I was nursing a leg fracture, I was unable to sit comfortably in my seat on the aisle side in the aircraft. Without asking for any help, I saw an air-hostess come over and offer the seat next to the emergency exit which has a bit extra legroom to sit comfortably. She, as I found out later had requested the passenger on the exit seat to interchange his seat with me so that I can undertake the journey comfortably. This incident really touched me.”

Jaideep Anand, GM, Ista – Hyderabad:

“I find the air-hostesses on Indigo to be pleasant and efficient, but can be impatient as Indigo is a time-oriented and not a service-oriented brand. For instance, when I ask them for a glass of water just before the flight is about to take off, I find them still busy seeing to it that the door is closed and the flight takes off on time come what may.  That way, I think the hostesses of Kingfisher Airlines are by far the best in the country. They are warm, hospitable and extremely responsive. For instance, as soon as I get into an Indigo flight the air-hostess is busy trying to press the buttons and close the doors. It is as if she isn’t even looking at you whereas Kingfisher hostesses look at you in the eye and greet you. They are in no hurry and have time as well as patience for their guests. As soon as I press a button for help the Kingfisher hostess is all ready to serve you where as if I do the same in, let’s say, a Jet Airways or Spicejet flight, the hostesses’ body language is not rude but then, it seems to say, ‘What do you want’?. The way Kingfisher hostess serve food is also the same way – very unhurried. Body language is important in this industry. Spicejet takes care of technicalities very well, but the hostesses there can also be more service-oriented.”

Mohit Tandon, Group Product Manager, Abbot India Pvt Ltd, Mumbai: 

As someone who often takes the morning flights for business, a simple gesture like a warm and welcoming smile coupled with a pleasing personality makes all the difference. I prefer the air-hostesses on Jet Airways and Air India. A memorable incident that I had involved the attendants and air-hostess on a Kingfisher flight retrieve my lost luggage in a matter of 30-minutes.”

Ramesh Loganathan, Vice President – Products and Managing Director, Progress Software, Hyderabad:

“I usually travel in international flights. I find the airhostesses of Asian airlines like Singapore and Malaysian airlines warm and approachable. Speaking about domestic flights, I think the air-hostesses in Indian airlines are fairly good. The ones at American Airlines are quite cold and not really approachable. It is all right for a short journey, but I am going on a long journey it will be nice if the hostesses are more involved. I have very minimal needs as I travel alone most of the time but those needs need to be met. Malayasian and Singapore airlines hostesses are very involved with their work and approachable.”

Sunil Nair, GMO, Lalco Residency, Mumbai:

An ideal air-hostess is one who smiles when you come onboard a flight, while serving your meals and when you arrive at your destination. I find the air-hostesses on the Kingfisher and Air India to be most pleasant. It is very important for an air-hostess to be interactive in the hospitality they provide as they reflect the image of the airline. I’ve had some great experiences with Kingfisher Airlines and am happy with the service they provide and the individual attention they give to the passengers.

While Dr  Harish Kalathil, Director, Aura Spa, The Park at Hyderabad had this to say: “Air hostesses of Indigo and Spicejet are very pleasant and professional. I would rate the Indigo stewards and airhostesses higher. The ladies don’t chat unnecessarily and address the right issues. They are also very smart at handling different kinds of passengers, some people board the flight in an intoxicated flight and these hostesses handle them very tactfully. Also, all of them are smart looking and well groomed. They address the passengers by their surnames. They also know their passengers very well. I am a regular with Indigo and once when I boarded the flight they had blocked a front seat for me as I am a tall person and need a lot of leg-space. It was a pleasant surprise for me.

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