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Cabin Crew Profiles - Donata

Have you ever sat on a plane or been sat down in an airport and you watched Flight Attendants, Pilots and other aircrew walk by and asked yourself what it takes to be where they are? Cabin Crew Profiles aims to answer this exact question, in these interviews we sit down with current Flight Attendants and others in the aviation world to find out who they are, how they got to working in aviation as well as inside information to what their daily life is like.

Today we sit down with Dona (IG: @travelblogdona) from Kaunas in Lithuania and how her journey led her from her beginnings in interior design, to studying psychology for a few years before realising that she wanted more from her life and applying for a Flight Attendant role. It is a journey that has taken Dona across the world and she is here to tell us everything,


Elite Cabin Crew: Welcome Dona.


Dona: It’s nice to talk to you, thank you for having me!


ECC: So tell us a little bit about yourself please.


Dona: Well, I am a currently Senior Flight Attendant at GetJet Airlines and I have been working for the company for just over 3 years. I’ve been in aviation for over 4 years and I love my job.

ECC: Did you always want to be a Flight Attendant?


Dona: As a child I originally wanted to work as a Crime Scene Inspector, it was something that was very interesting to me. I was always interested in art and studied it at school. I find it is very therapeutic for the mind and it is something that I would love to do more often but I don’t think it is a financially sound career.



ECC: What did you find yourself doing once you finished school?


Dona: I worked in sales for 7 years in various fields, including working for a German interior design company selling furniture and other household equipment. I had a brief stint renting and selling properties in the real estate market and eventually ended up working in the hospitality sector, selling industrial kitchen equipment to Restaurants, this was very interesting as we used to have to design projects which would allow the customer to see how their final product would look. I loved working in sales as I interacted with many different people.

ECC: So what made you change your career?


Dona: There were a number of things that made me want to change my career, I had left a relationship with my long-term partner and realized that I needed to look for a place to live by myself. One of the biggest things about moving into your own home is that you need more money as you are not sharing the bills with anyone else. This is when I made the decision to look for a new role.


ECC: Was aviation something that you had always wanted to do?


Dona: The opportunity to work for an airline came out of nowhere, I had never planned to become a Cabin Crew and it was a client of mine that told me of the opportunity to work for an airline called Small Planet in Lithuania. I wasn’t sure that I would get the job as I didn’t feel that my English was good enough, I didn’t know how to swim and I didn’t know much about the role. My client convinced me to apply and to see what happened next, so I applied.


ECC: How did you find the selection process, you mentioned you didn’t speak much English so how did it go?


Dona: Well, there is a funny story to this, I was on a date and we were sitting in the car driving somewhere when I got the phone call from the airline. When I answered the person from the airline told me that they were going to ask me some questions in English to see if I could hold a conversation before inviting me for the main assessment. It was slightly embarrassing but I did the initial interview right there and following this I was invited to the assessment center. This experience definitely helped me see that I had to be ready for anything as a Flight Attendant.

ECC: So you must have done well because you obviously got the job, how was your experience with Small Planet Airlines?


Dona: I loved my time with Small Planet Airlines (SPA), the company itself was quite large and it mainly focused on charter flights and the leisure market across Europe. We would mainly do turn around flights, so we never really got to stay at our destinations unless we were called to operate from one of our bases in Greece, Cambodia, The Netherlands or Turkey. This would normally happen if there was a staff shortage in any one of our bases, so we would be placed in another base for a week.

ECC: What made you leave Small Planet Airlines?


Dona: When I was hired, I was given a 1 year contract which was to be renewed after an annual review but the company went bankrupt before I finished my first contract. It was a shame because I really enjoyed my time at the company but it also allowed me to join my current company, GetJet Airlines, I’ve been with them for 3 years now and I must say I am really enjoying my role.

ECC: Has your experience changed since changing companies?


Dona: GetJet Airlines has been a completely different experience for me as it is a completely different company. We are an ACMI operator, meaning that other airlines can hire our planes and crew when they have plane shortages or when they have temporary high demand. This has been a big change because I was used to going back home after most days when flying for SPA, but here we can get hired by other companies, such as TUi, LOT, and Air Malta to operate their routes for them. Meaning that we need to start and finish our days according to their schedules.

ECC: It sounds like a complete change of environment, has it allowed you to visit any places you never thought you would see before?


Dona: Yes! GetJet Airlines has given me the opportunity to not only travel to new destinations, but as a crew we have had to base ourselves in different countries for several weeks and months at a time. In the last year alone we spent around 1 month operating in Kurdistan (Iraq) and several months in Dakar, Senegal.

ECC: That must have been a bit of a culture shock, did you enjoy your time there?


Dona: I must say that if you had asked me to go on holiday, Kurdistan wouldn’t have made my list of places I wished to go but I am the type of person that loves exploring new places and experiencing new things, I felt extremely lucky to be able to not only visit but to experience life there as part of my job. We were not flying every day so we found that we had enough time see a lot of things. I only had were positive experiences, I also found that people were quite curious to see what I was doing there as you don’t get many Europeans going there.


ECC: What are the biggest challenges when you base yourself overseas?


Dona: The language barrier can be a big challenge, in Europe and in many places around the world we are used to speaking to each other in English. But there are many countries in the world where English isn’t the standard international language, so it could be challenging to communicate with our passengers on board. On a social level it was entirely different as I find that most people will try and find a way of communicating with you.

ECC: Has your role had any impact on your family or social life?


Dona: I wouldn’t say it has impacted this so much as its no different to living in the same country but in different cities. With an office role you can work from 8 to 5 for the whole week and then just have your weekends off to do everything else that you had no time for during the working week. Meaning that you don’t get to see your family that often in the first place. With this job I can get to see my family during the week if I have days off and it gives me the opportunity to do things that would be challenging if I worked normal office hours.

ECC: What about relationships?


Dona: This is one of those things that can be challenging because of the amount of time that you can spend away from each other. Trust is a big thing, if you both trust each other then there is no problem. If you don’t trust each other, you will quickly find out. Our company allows us to bring our partners on trips when we are based overseas as long as they don’t interfere with our work.

ECC: What do you wish you had known about your job before you started?


Dona: There isn’t anything that would have changed me applying to be a Flight Attendant, one thing I wasn’t expecting was the amount of studying we needed to do, because you need to know all of the safety procedures by heart, you need to know technical things about the plane, you need to learn how to deal with people in stressful situations, you need to learn about first aid and how to recognize diseases and symptoms and most importantly, you need to know how to evacuate a full plane in 90 seconds!. I would also say that the job becomes part of your life, many people think that they will be a Flight Attendant for a couple of years and then go back to school, then the years go by and you haven’t studied. I would also tell people to finish off their university studies before they join, that is if that is part of their plan.

ECC: What are your top 3 destinations?


Dona: That is a tough question, I’ve been lucky enough to travel to 35 countries and the list is growing. Each destination has its good things but my best experiences have happened in Italy, I love the energy and how it makes me feel, the countryside is beautiful, I love to see the wineries, to experience the weather and the food is delicious. I also have very nice memories in Spain and Croatia but I feel that I need to explore these countries more.

ECC: Is there a destination you wouldn’t want to go to again?


Dona: Not at all, I feel that I would be able to experience something new in every place I have been to so I’m happy to go anywhere again. On a personal note, I would love to visit Texas next, I like listening to Country music and people like Chris Stapleton, I love to ride horses and these are two things which I associate with Texas, I’d love to be able to go in the next year or two.

ECC: What Is your plan for the next few years?


Dona: I was recently made a brand ambassador for GetJet, this coincided with my promotion into the role of Senior Flight Attendant. This has been something I have been working towards since I started at the company and I am proud to have achieved this goal. It’s a a great opportunity to learn more about the role as well as it allowing me to become a more rounded and skilled professional. Maybe one day it will allow me to become an instructor, with GetJet of course ;)


ECC: Dona, thank you so much for your time and for your advice, I’m sure our readers will love it. Dona: It was nice to talk to you, thank you.

 

We would like to thank Donata for taking the time to speak to us and for sharing her story. If you know someone who would like to be featured in our Cabin Crew Profiles, reach out to us on our email address: contact@elitecabincrew.net

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Amazing, Donata :) Love your smile :)

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Thank you! 😊

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