[DIARY] GOODBYE SINGAPORE AIRLINES

Singapore Airlines - SQ Girl

Ending my career as a stewardess was perhaps the best decision I’ve made this year. Letting go of this comfort zone I had (unfortunately) sunk into for the past 2 years involved lots of anxiety, doubt, and inevitable thoughts of missing the globetrotting lifestyle. Nevertheless I made my decision quickly and set my heart for the big change when the opportunity to work as a media analyst came. There were spurts of excitement and also joy at finally stepping into an industry I might actually have a genuine interest in.

“You must make a decision that you are going to move on. It wont happen automatically. You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me. I’m moving on with my life.”
― Joel Osteen, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential

Mixed feelings aside, one must always look ahead and move on in life. Thinking back, it was a whirlwind of fun & adventure being a cabin crew at one of the world’s ‘best airlines”. Work was hard, schedules could be crazy, rosters were sometimes bad, and there were months I went without meeting friends outside of the airlines industry… BUT I don’t and will never regret these two+ years with SIA. This insightful journey was exhilarating, at times excruciating, and came with many lessons to be learnt.

Things I already miss:

1. Job title: FLIGHT STEWARDESS.
Onboard, I’ve been called by many other names: Miss, Li, Darling, Sweetheart, Eh, Excuse Me, Hello, Auntie, Jiejie, and nonverbal gestures such passengers pulling my kebaya or waving their hands wildly in the air to get my attention.

singapore girl crew

2. The Singapore Girl hairdo.
Despite the strict grooming guide, there are as many variations as there are flight stewardesses in SIA. Seniority (on first impression) is based on the height of your hump (that height-enhancing bump on your head, derived from resemblances to camel humps). I actually miss this fuss-free chignon – when I mean fuss-free I refer to not having hair all over my face, not time taken to prepare.

SIA girl

3. Quintessentially, HEAVY DUTY MAKEUP.
For long flights we can wear them up to 18 hrs (14hr flight time + 2hr reporting time + 1 hr preparation at home + 1hr travelling from airport to hotel after touchdown). The worst thing is: falling asleep without removing them! This is why I grew so unaccustomed to my own bare face.

4. PARIS. LONDON. ZURICH. GREECE.
Oh the places you’ll go, without ever having to take any work home. Once we touchdown at the destination, HOLA FREEDOM until the wake-up call for your next flight sector. I’m happy to say I’ve touched all corners of the earth that SIA goes to, and have them all Instagram-Mapped.

EIFFEL TOWER PARIS TRAVEL BLOG sia

5. Hotels
Every flight was somewhat a vacay. Stepping into a freshly-laundered room with a hot bath and clean sheet (though sometimes tiny/musky-smelling less-than-4-star closet of a hotel room) after a tiring flight is the best feeling ever. Hence the perpetual reluctance to check out.

hongkong hotel

6. Hotel room selfies. Ha.

hotel room selfie

7. Living out of a suitcase – bursting or not, that bitch needs to be closed. It’s a woe for many stewardesses especially on long-haul.

bursting luggage

 

8. Coffee in the morning, coffee in the noon and coffee any time of day, because jet lag demands to be fed with caffeine. Truth is, I can drink 2 shots and still sleep for forever.

I need coffee

 

9. “Bragging Rights”
Friend, at dinner: “So what did you have for breakfast this morning?”
Me, casually: “Injeolmi Bingsoo from this place in Hongdae, Korea.”
Trust me, I am not bragging. Just stating the facts, you asked for it.
Breakfast in another time zone, lunch 35000 feet in the skies, and dinner in Singapore.

korea bingsoo bingsu

 

10. The skies. And the familiar wings we see from our crew seats when we look out from the windows. The one below was taken out flying out from Singapore Changi Airport. The following three were taken enroute Houston from Moscow, so you can see Greenland.

planes skies blue greenland skies greenland from the sky

 

11. Behind-the-scenes Crazy
Well, stewardesses have all the fun…when you’re sleeping and we’re trying to stay awake on a red-eye flight. Oh…and these girls!! Cutest and sweetest little darlings ever.
sia stewardess

12. Coming home.
The word ‘home’ takes on a whole new meaning, when it’s all you’re thinking of the moment you set foot on an aircraft bound for foreign territories.

A little over a month, people still ask if I miss flying. Well if you’ve been at it for 2 years, day in day out, you’re bound to feel a sense of loss. As it is for any kind of job and lifestyle. The only thing I actually really started to miss were the chirpy greetings I received from passengers when I greet them upon coming aboard, the genuine thank yous upon rendering assistance wherever I could, the adrenaline rush when we had a ton of duties we needed to complete and the eventual sweat-wiping relief when it’s all over. And the camaraderie over the years with a few colleagues. When we donned our kebaya, we were told to ‘smile at anything that moves’ – we would hold doors and lifts for people, greet people we don’t know, and talk to people we’ve never met – all without garnering weird looks. Try holding a door for someone in Singapore – you might get ‘thank you’ with an awkward look at best, or even ignored for your effort. Smile at a stranger, and be labelled a psycho. Greet someone in the lift, and end up taking the lift up alone. A well-mannered bunch we as stewards and stewardesses are – after all we are in the service industry. But we don’t always get the same respect and treatment in or out of the uniform.

Also, I was exposed to many kinds of teamwork & leadership (through observations, not actual leading), plus gained a kind of worldly experience that isn’t of the bragging sort. There’s never an end to how much of the world we can see. From big metropolitan cities with world-class airports to less-developed rural areas where drinking tap water gave me gastroenteritis for weeks, and where small girls on the streets wanted to take photos with a group of us just because our skin colour was different from theirs – they’ve never seen fair-skinned people in their lives.

I became a stewardess for the freedom, experience and a change of lifestyle. I never regretted, even as I was dying to leave the job. The job gave me loads of reasons to look back and smile. You’re meant to live your life in your 20s before youth slips away!

Once a Singapore Girl, Always a Singapore Girl. I still feel nostalgic at an SIA ad, or when I see an SIA aircraft landing or see ex-colleagues at the airport heading for flight or just coming back home.

singapore girl SIA kebaya

 

Well, this is goodbye! I’ve clipped my wings and started a new chapter in life.

xoxo,

Viktoria Jean

Published by VIKTORIA JEAN

"Do you see the story? Do you see anything?... It seems to me I am trying to tell you a dream - making a vain attempt, because no relation of a dream can convey the dream sensation... No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one's existence - that which makes its truth, its meaning - its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream - alone." Marlow in Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad.

26 thoughts on “[DIARY] GOODBYE SINGAPORE AIRLINES

  1. So cool to know you were a “Singapore Girl” 🙂
    One of my favorite airlines (as I think SIA is famous for), and what a great experience it must have been, a perfect primer for an excellent future. Cheers ~

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      1. Hi Viktoria Jean,

        Yes, I’m looking to buy a pair and the SIA uniform if you still have it! Please contact me via the email I used, I can make a very competitive offer!

        Best regards

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  2. Hi Viktoria,

    A very interesting read, I’ve always wondered how the stewards and stewardess lead a high life going to places one could only save for months before going like Zurich, USA etc..
    More recently I went Japan, while on the flight back there’s a stewardess I like by the name of Lynette Lin or Lim. Do you happen to know her?

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  3. Hey! So i have been invited to attend an interview by SIA through onlive CV submission for cabin crew. I am pretty confident about whatever might be thrown at me but I’m worried about this one thing that might cost me my job at this airline.

    I have a scar which is half an inch long on my forhead (stitches from when i was a kid), it isn’t really visible but will this affect my chances?

    thank you

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    1. Hello! May I know where you have applied online? I can’t seem to find the online application. Would you mind giving me the link, please?

      And how did your interview go? 🙂

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  4. Hi Viktoria,

    It is very nice and informative reading about your life onboard. I just passed my interview with SIA and will be going through medical check this week. However I am worried about a few things and been seeking someone to help giving me the answer. Hope it is not too much 🙂

    I wonder when is the fastest to leave the job including the training and probation? Don’t get me wrong 😀 I really want the job so badly but after all these articles written by ex crew, I think I quite want to know in case I really cant stay…

    Last but not least, how long until you know if your requested salary is accepted? Do I wait until the end of training or they would inform me before I set foot off my country for training so I get to decide if I want to join the crew? This is part of the decision I need to make because I am leaving an important family business for the job 😦

    Thank you so much for your time. And Im sorry I couldnt find the contract detail elsewhere. I hope it doesn’t trouble you too much and hope to be able to learn invaluable lesson like you did as well 🙂

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  5. The nostalgia is life long. I left in 1984 (way before your time!) and still feel like I belong whenever I board an SQ flight. Not too many of my “batch boys” are still flying. All the girls have left.
    What other job pays you to visit far flung places and experience things you’d never do in your 20s? Driving from Frankfurt to Milan via Lucerne on the Autobahn. Multi-day nightstop in Paris. Watching the sunrise at Ala Moana Beach in Honolulu. Yosemite in winter. Waitomo gloworm caves in NZ. Strangers smile and greet you.
    Flying opened my eyes to new cultures and possibilities. Today I live overseas because of my experiences. Spread your wings again. The world is your oyster!

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  6. Dear VIKTORIA JEAN,

    Hi, I really want to be a SIA cabin crew.
    I am only 158cm tall, and I am really nervous of my interview.
    Could you give me any tips for SIA interviews?

    Also, Can you sell this kebaya for me?
    Thank you.

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  7. Hi. I’m keen on SIA kebaya. Been looking for ages. Now, i’m only have MAS uniform, that also because my sister was MAS ex cabin crew. So, here. I’m looking foward to buy those SIA uniform from you, if u still have it. Thanks.

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  8. Hi Victoria, I am British but I have always wanted to be an SIA cabin crew member – the problem is, they don’t have any British based interviews/hire here even though they have routes here. I checked on the careers section and found some countries recruitment rules don’t say you have to be a local citizen and I meet all the criteria otherwise – do you think I have a chance if I fly to an open day overseas?

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    1. Hey Avery. I’m an ex-colleague of Viktoria and am still currently flying with Singapore Airlines as a Flight Steward. I’m not certain if you’d been educated about this fact but just in case you’re still pinning some hopes of attempting to fly with us, I thought it’ll at the very least aid you in case of the latter.

      To answer your question, in a nutshell: Yes, you maybe able to fly with us (depending on two major conditions apart from being able to clear all of our multiple rounds of interview successfully like the rest of the other hopeful candidates of course.)

      They are:
      1.) Largely dependent on how old you are right now; that is to say, there is a fineprint within our company employee and re-employment policy issued by our Human Resource department for Cabin Crew which states that the age limit is “around” 32 years old and although the term can be subjective, the company has every right to exercise their own discretion for candidates.Thus, if that happens to be the case, I would strongly advise that you aspire towards something else for your future endeavors because there’s contractual and image requirement in our policy that coincide with our target branding image towards the market. Well, technically speaking the next condition is somewhat related to our brand image as well so let me explain….

      2.) All successful candidates who had qualified during the interview would subsequently be required to sign a contract with the company and have their proposed start date of employment begin shortly after. All of us would be required to go through an approximately 3-month training program “Cabin Crew Readiness Program” before we can actually be certified to fly. During which, we would be taught from classes and through reading of our training materials multitudinous areas covering our jobscope as a representative of our company. I’m sure Vik would agree to have come across this part as well; that The iconic Singapore Girl should exemplify as a lady poised with ASIAN hospitality and grace in whatever she does as the ideal image representing her company. As such, the idea is that; by far and large, let’s just say we wouldn’t be specifically looking at employment of Cabin Crew from the West.

      Having said that, let me just clarify that this has nothing to do with a discrimination of race and/or racial features of a specific group. The reason I would proudly claim so is because Singapore, being a multi-racial and cultural society, consists of locals of all racial groups including Eurasians. I, myself, had the opportunity to have flown with so many “eurasian” or “western-looking” fellow colleagues whom, if I were to be critical if I were to be forced to comment, would suggest nothing from their looks to be Asian-like. Yet, because they were mostly born and bred Singaporeans who have a different unique Asian-associated type of behavior, disposition or set of idiosyncrasies (whatever you’ll like to call them but you know what I mean), that was probably what gave the assessors the ‘green light’ I guess. (and on top of that, their personal documents which qualified them to be born of (S.E.)Asia.

      With that being said, as I had mentioned, technically speaking if you are still qualified upon looking at the first condition; the age limit, the rest would depend how badly you’d wanna be to be able to call yourself a Singapore Airlines Stewardess already. How?
      Well, for starters, you’ll need to go through all your documents and paperwork qualifications first to qualify as an “Asian” I guess?
      From there onwards (should you still have the privilege of substantial time left), you’ll just need to learn of what exactly many other successful candidates like Vik and I, possess and was able to display those qualities and potential in us enough to convince the various assessors at different stages of our interview to have qualified us! Hope this had helped you be it if it was having your query answered or provided some closure for your doubts! Regardless, I wish you a life of a journey full of wondrous and fulfilling experiences nonetheless!

      Like

  9. Hi dear, nice showing this post. Would like to check where should I possible to get the SQ cabin crew bag? Much thanks and appreciated.

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  10. Hello! I would like to know about your flying schedule and how is it rostered as my senior who got into SQ claims that he only works 4 times a week at most, but I do understand it also depends on how long is your flying hours. As I would like to have off days on Every Sunday, I would like to know how high is the chances of that. And speaking about home, don’t you have turnaround flights back to SG after a layover? For instance from SIN to ICN don’t you fly back to SIN after that? And if you fly from SIN to FRA then maybe get a layover for one night then to JFK don’t you fly back to the hub after all?
    Sorry I’m inexpirence in the FA industry.

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  11. Hi! I am scheduled to have face to face interview in Tokyo as cabin crew for Singapore airlines next month. I want to experience being a flight attendant but not sure if I want to do it for 5 years minimum. Is there any fees I have to pay if I am not able to complete the 5 year contract? Your comment will greatly help in weighing my decisions!

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  12. An interesting article Victoria.
    I’m curious though, and you didn’t mention it in your article…if being a flight attendant was so great (and I’m sure it is, have heard this independently from many other flight attendants), then why did you leave?

    Like

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