Flight Attendants come from all walks of life and from all corners of the earth, last week, we spoke to Rafa. Who worked for Emirates for 6 years, click here to read his interview. Today we sit down with Nataša. Originally from Serbia, she has been a Flight Attendant for over 5 years for a carrier based in Abu Dhabi. Her journey into aviation is certainly an interesting one. Due to the COVID 19 restrictions, she joins us via Zoom to tell us her story.
ECC: Hi Nataša, thanks for taking the time to speak to us.
Madina: Thank you, its nice to speak to you, even if it has to happen through a screen!
ECC: Tell us a little bit about yourself please, how does a girl from Serbia end up working in aviation in the Middle East?
Nataša: That’s a good question, as you mentioned above, I am from Serbia, I grew up there and I studied Law at University in Belgrade. After finishing my studies I worked as an accountant for 2 years.
ECC: That’s quite a change, from studying Law and working as an Accountant to becoming a Flight Attendant! How did that happen?
Nataša: It is a big change but it wasn’t a straight jump, I also worked in a cruise ship for 2 years before I started in aviation……
ECC: Ok, this is definitely something we don’t hear of everyday. You need to tell us more!
Nataša: I started off working in accountancy because it was something, I was good and had good future prospects. I always wanted to travel and decided to look at working in the
industry. I of course wanted to work in aviation but I began my travelling career working on a cruise ship in the USA. This was my first trip overseas so it was a very big change. I remember that the cruise ship set off in Seattle and we ended up in Hawaii.
ECC: Not bad for a first trip! Did you like Hawaii?
Nataša: I loved Hawaii but we spent a lot of time there so I ended up wanting to go and see other destinations!
ECC: How long did you work on a cruise ship and why did you move into aviation?
Nataša: I worked on the ship for just over 2 ½ years. I loved it and I had a lot of fun but I also knew that I wanted to fly, it seemed a lot more glamorous and prestigious to me. I started applying for jobs in aviation and was lucky enough to be hired by my national air carrier, Air Serbia.
ECC: Do you feel your experience working on a cruise ship helped you adjust to working as a Flight Attendant, and did it feel more prestigious?
Nataša: I definitely think so on both accounts. Working on a cruise ship allowed me to improve my English so I was definitely more confident and had a much better command of the language because of it. Working on a cruise ship is hard work and it involves long hours on your feet, interacting with customers and meeting their needs, just like in aviation, I definitely feel like it helped me become a good flight attendant.
ECC: But now you’re in Abu Dhabi, what made you want to move on from working for your national carrier to working for one of the most premium airlines in the world?
Nataša: Air Serbia (Formerly JAT Airways) was expanding quite quickly and had partnership agreements with many airlines, one of these partnerships had a program where Air Serbia would send flight attendants to Abu Dhabi to get experience and training on offering premium service and bringing the methods and techniques back to Serbia at the end of this period. I originally agreed to go to Abu Dhabi for 18 months in 2015, at the end of my term I was offered the chance to stay, its now 2020 and I am still here.
ECC: What were the biggest differences between working for in Serbia and Working in Abu Dhabi, were you nervous before you made the move?
Nataša: I remember being nervous about things that seem trivial now, Air Serbia flies smaller planes like the Boeing 737 which seat around 150 people, in Abu Dhabi we would be flying Boeing 777’s which hold twice as many passengers so I definitely worried about things like how we would serve over 300 meals during a meal service. But then you realise that you have more crew and that we were here to learn about working on bigger planes with more crew. I loved living in Abu Dhabi and I started learning to dance Bachata in my spare time so these things definitely helped me feel at home.
ECC: What are your favourite layover destinations? Nataša: We are very luck to fly to a lot of destinations but I love flying to Australia and the U.S. Brisbane and San Francisco being my favourite destinations in each country, in Asia I am a big fan of Hong Kong.
ECC: Do you see yourself doing something else in the future?
Nataša: I really enjoy my flying so I can see myself in the skies for the foreseeable future. I have actually used some of the training Elite Cabin Crew provides for flying for a private carrier in the future. I am happy where I am now but it is always good to be prepared for the future.
ECC: Do you have any advice for anyone that wants to become a Flight Attendant?
Nataša: I would just tell everyone to go for it, it is such a fulfilling experience, I would also say that the job teaches you so many life skills. You learn to multitask, to work under pressure both in a team environment as well as in one on one situations with people from different cultures. Just be well prepared, polish your CV, there is information available out there for those who want it.
ECC: Thank you Nataša, it was great speaking to you. Nataša: Thank you.
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