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When the sky is not the limit: Experiences of three brand-new Finnair cabin crew members

Arttu, Lisa and Niina have all started as Finnair cabin crew members this spring of 2024. All three had previously dreamt about a career in the skies, and now they share their job experience so far. Some aspects of their new job have been surprising, but at the same time, they are all truly enjoying their new career as cabin crew.

Three people, one dream

Arttu Mikkola, 22, dreamt of working as a cabin crew since childhood: “This has truly been my childhood dream, already since I was 6 years old. I’ve been flying quite a lot and travelled abroad already from a young age. Cabin crew job has also been present in my childhood when playing; I’ve built an aircraft galley and had a serving trolley at home.”

Before getting his wings and starting as a cabin crew member, Arttu worked as a gate service agent at Finnair for two years, so the company is not new to him, even though the job as a cabin crew is.

Also, Niina Paldanius’s, 20, childhood dream was working as cabin crew. As a child, she flew a lot with her family between Kuopio and Helsinki, and her ears would often hurt due to the air pressure. She still remembers how the cabin crew members always helped her to equalise the pressure in her ears, comforted her and made her feel so much better. Now, Niina is excited to gain new kind of work experience in the sky before starting university studies at some point.

Lisa Nicholson, 54, started as cabin crew in the beginning of April 2024. Lisa has extensive work experience and has in her past, for instance, worked as a fire fighter in the United Kingdom for 21 years. She also had her own company specialising in training with fire safety, first aid, oxygen, defibrillators and other health and safety topics.

Lisa Nicholson enjoys working at Finnair. She is happy that Finnair embraces different nationalities, life preferences and diversity.

Lisa was supposed to begin her initial training already back in spring 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic paused the whole aviation industry. She got interested in cabin crew work around 10 years ago when travelling for work and watching how the cabin crew worked seamlessly together.

“I met my Finnish partner in Jamaica, and I flew to Finland for the first time onboard Finnair. I was impressed by the professionalism, how smooth everything went, and how nice the cabin crew were. That was when I thought I’m really going to go for this,” Lisa says.

Experiences as a cabin crew so far

“The first time I put on my uniform with the cabin crew wings, I thought to myself, is this real? The feeling was indescribable. Now my dream has come true,” smiles Arttu. Niina recalls that on the morning of her very first flight, she felt unreal, as the recruitment process and the initial training had had many phases and lasted for quite a while, and now the moment was finally here.

Lisa says: “I felt so smart in the uniform, it just fit so well. I was really looking forward to meeting new people at Finnair, and meeting the customers onboard and just learning as much as I could about the first flight.” All three say that they felt hugely proud and excited.

According to the three, so far, the best parts of their new job has been meeting new people, both colleagues and customers, the friendly atmosphere and teamwork, and the fact that everything is well organised and works well – from getting the uniform to installing applications needed in the everyday work.

Niina, Lisa and Arttu were happy to share their experiences as cabin crew so far.

“I find it amazing that even though the customers and crew change daily, things still always work. It’s great to get to meet people from different cultures and hear their stories on where they’ve been. If they’re travelling to Finland for the first time, I also love to tell them about the Finnish culture,” Niina says.

Some things have also surprised the newcomers. Arttu has been surprised by how quickly the workdays seem to pass by, and how the nightshift might not feel like a night at all, at least when the sun is shining above the clouds. The sheer physicality of the work has surprised Niina: in this work, you are on your feet, both standing and walking all day long, with constant background noise, the air is dry, and even without any turbulence, the aircraft is constantly moving. Lisa, on the other hand, has been surprised by how well everything works, how quickly and efficiently one turnaround can be handled, and how far you can fly in one day.

Arttu, Niina and Lisa are looking forward to the new destinations they get to visit due to their work. Both Niina and Lisa are especially waiting to have a flight to New York City in their rosters, while Arttu would like to experience Chicago.

Desirable characteristics and skills for the job

For someone considering a career as a cabin crew member, Arttu, Niina and Lisa list a few useful characteristics. Since the job is not like most jobs, they also suggest doing some research on what to expect. For example, as a cabin crew member, you might not be able to have time off on holidays. Shifts can include anything from early mornings to late nights and be very long, so you will have to be able to adapt to all kinds of schedules. As Niina says, good sleeping skills are a plus.

Niina Paldanius is happy and appreciative of her work as cabin crew and finds the job in an aircraft beyond compare.

According to the trio, as a person, you must like people, as your colleagues and customers change every day. Lisa says that the key is to be kind, caring and friendly, as customers come from different backgrounds and situations. Some might be afraid of flying while some are nervous or, for example, travelling with their newborn for the first time. Sometimes you might come across difficult situations, so along with being empathetic and customer-centric, you must also be confident and ready to use your problem-solving skills.

Important skills are also flexibility and to be able to adapt to constantly and quickly changing situations. As Lisa puts it, “One minute you can be serving meals and drinks, and suddenly someone might become ill. Then you have to leave what you are doing and adapt to a completely different situation of dealing with someone who might, for example need oxygen, or bandaging.” Ultimately, you need to be safety focused, as safety is always our first priority.

Of course, while certain characteristics are important for crew members, there is room for different personas and personalities. “Be yourself. In every workplace, different people and personalities are needed, and everyone has their own strengths”, Niina says.

All three encourage one to be brave and go towards your dreams: “If this is what you want to do one day, be brave and be yourself. If you don’t succeed at the first try, don’t give up but try again.”

“I am just so happy, it’s incredible. My dream has come true, and I feel like I’m in a right place. I have not regretted one second,” Arttu delights.

Are you interested in working as a cabin crew at Finnair? You can read more about the qualifications from our career pages.

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