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She Did It! Nerisa’s Journey to Becoming a Flight Attendant

Did you know that according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics that there are currently over 119,000 working Flight Attendants (FA)?  The highest number of Flight Attendants  reside in the state of Texas — 16, 310 to be exact.

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Flight Attendants help ensure the safety and comfort of passengers on airline flights. Their important job goes beyond serving food and drinks. Most of their responsibilities are mandated by federal law. Flight attendants instruct passengers on safety procedures, like how and when to use the plane’s seat belts, and how to use oxygen masks and exit the plane in an emergency. Before each flight, attendants make sure all necessary equipment and supplies are available on board. Flight attendants may also perform first aid and deal with any other problem that occurs during a flight.

I’m so impressed with this career field that I made it my mission to seek out a new Flight Attendant to interview because I wanted to know what it was like for them to choose this career and what that very first flight (after training) was like.

That’s where Nerisa of Burlington, Kentucky comes in. I met Nerisa by chance via social media and was thrilled when I had learned that she had recently embarked on her career as a Flight Attendant. I felt even more honored that she accepted my invitation to be interviewed for my blog. I was finally getting the opportunity (firsthand) to learn about her experiences becoming a new Flight Attendant.

Here’s what Nerisa had to say, during our interview…

How long have you worked as a Flight Attendant and for which airline?
Two months with PSA Airlines/American Eagle

What made you choose this career path?
Growing up in Jamaica, I’ve always wanted to be Flight Attendant (FA), the whole demeanor that comes with the position; prestige and class. In high school, there was a teacher that said to me, “FAs are merely waitresses in the air.” I was so heartbroken, my brother, Dave, then told me I can be the best at whatever I choose to be. This lifted my spirit. Eighteen years later — BOOM! I landed my dream job. (In your face teacher)

What was the most difficult part about Flight Attendant training?
Just the thought of not passing the training. It was nerve wrecking! ‘Emergency Procedures’ were really the hardest sections, so much to memorize in such a short time. I loved the shouting part of it, reminded me of cheerleading days. It took a lot of practice.

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Describe your very first flight in your new role as a Flight Attendant after training?
During my very first flight I was super nervous, I worked for the FWD/1st Class. The person that was scheduled to work with me didn’t show up, I ended up working with a really nice guy. My first class passengers were great. I learned so much during that trip, the other FA poured out a wealth of knowledge. I now look forward to going to work.

What’s the wildest thing that you have experienced in flight with a passenger?
Hahaha, one night we were flying and I was working the AFT/main cabin. During the flight, a lady approached me stating that she would like to speak with me privately. She expressed her concerned, that a young man was trying to open the overwing exit. I noticed he had changed his seat to the exit row without permission; it wasn’t a full flight. She was like he’s fidgeting and using his cell phone. I told her thanks for the information. I was scared, but I kept my composure. I kept saying in my head I’m not ready to die. I brought it to the attention of the other FA and he said: “Just go ahead and brief him, it may not be anything.” I briefed him and then realized he had asked for a blanket earlier. He was just cold, hence the fidgeting. He wasn’t trying to open the exit windows. It was more of racial profiling.

What do you like about the brand “FlightsInStilettos”?
Everything!!!! It’s so classy and believe me, one of my favorite words are ‘Stilettos’. I love what the brand stands for; bringing back style into traveling. I remember in 2006, that’s all I was about when traveling.

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What’s the best piece of advice you’d offer to someone wanting a career as a Flight Attendant?
Make sure that this is what you want. You have to do your research, research the company you want to work for, its pay, the benefits, where they are based, etc. You have to love flying, this is more than a job it’s a lifestyle. The 1st year is the toughest when it comes to your paycheck.

After I completed this interview I actually felt enlightened about this career field. What resonated most is the story about the passenger thinking that a passenger who was simply cold was up to something much more nefarious. We encourage American to say something if they see something, but it must be very hard when you’re NOT seeing what you think that you are. Nerisa, as a new FA, experienced fear, but I’m so glad that she could recall her previous interaction with the passenger in question and as a result could connect the dots. Before that happened, I know that this was a frightening time for this new FA.

Without a doubt, Nerisa has grit, dedication, and perseverance — she will excel in this career. Remember her face, because she may be serving you on your very next flight. And as you see — this Flight Diva — takes FlightsInStilettos!

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Until next time…

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A Glimpse Into the Life of the Ultimate Glamorous Traveler (Emirates Airline Flight Attendant) Rosetter Tahnson

I have had the pleasure of interviewing a number of people who have traveled the world and have passport stamps that would rival the most avid travelers of them all.

This is by far the most exclusive interview that I have landed with the super fabulous Rossetter Requeller Adjoa Senah Tahnson, from Ghana who currently  resides in the United Arab Emirates’ city of Dubai. Yes, she LIVES in Dubai.

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I met Rosetter via Instagram earlier this year.  She found me with my unique handle and business name FlightsInStilettos. Because of her love of all things glam and of course her obsession with stilettos, she was drawn to my Instagram page.

I have met many people with similar interests, but Rosetter really rises to the top.

She has it all, looks, charisma, intellect, culture, elegance and travels the world as a Flight Attendant for the most luxurious and prestigious airline of them all – Emirates.

My business theme song is “Glamorous” by Fergie. If you’re not familiar, here are a few lyrics:

We flying the first class
Up in the sky
Poppin’ champagne
Livin’ my life
In the fast lane
And I won’t change
For the glamorous, oh the flossy flossy

And now, I share this theme song with my glam sister, because it reminds me of her.
As you might imagine, working for one of the most prestigious airlines is both rewarding and challenging.

I asked Rosetter a number of questions to really get a sense of how she landed a career with the most sought-after airline, as well as other questions to explore her love of fashion, stilettos and her take on the most glamorous cities in the world. She of all people would know! LOL

It is very rare that I meet someone and feel like I’m looking in the mirror and or having a conversation with myself. Rosetter’s mannerisms, sophistication and extreme femininity remind me of myself – and that’s just fantastic.

The interview took place over the phone while Rosetter was in Tokyo.

When did you know that you wanted to travel the world working in one of the most respected professions – as a Flight Attendant?

As a little girl, (6 years old) my mom had a friend we popularly referred to as Aunt Sylvia, who was at the time a flight attendant. I was so fascinated by her way of life – glamour, that I decided to ‘be like her when I grow up’.

That was the beginning of the dream of my amazing lifestyle.

After high school, while I waited to go to university, I enrolled in an aviation college in Ghana, with the hope of becoming a flight attendant.

However after completion, my national carrier – Ghana Airways at the time was going through financial troubles, so I decided to stay in aviation and wait till things improved, so I could get my shot at that dream job.

Unfortunately, that did not happen, but I did not give up.
I carried on with my life, working with a travel management company, Travel King.

What led to your decision to work for Emirates and did you find the interview and selection process extremely competitive? What percentage of the Emirates Flight Attendants are of color?

A few years after working, the national carrier of Ghana finally became bankrupt and consequently collapsed.

Then came what you could call a replacement to the national carrier, called Ghana International Airlines! And here, I gave my dream job a shot and got accepted, so I started my flying career in 2006 as a flight attendant.

This was exciting but then, the company started having financial issues too, so I decided to ‘jump ship’.

All this while, Emirates started operations in Ghana and consequently started hiring from Ghana.

Emirates became the most iconic and glamorous airline in my opinion due to their flamboyant uniform and ever young and beautiful flight attendants. They were always elegant and stood out from all cabin crew! So I decided to be a part of that glamour and flamboyance!

I applied at Emirates, which at this time started operating in my city of Accra.
I got invited and made it to the final stage of the selection, but did not make it to Dubai on the first try. I knew and wanted to fly for Emirates so much, that I applied again for the second time.

My opportunity came on the third try, where I miraculously made it in August 2008.

The crew of color will easily be at least 30% of the total number. Of course, the selection criteria is rigorous as you would expect — extremely competitive.

The standards are so high as you would expect. The interview started in the morning and at each stage, there were eliminations. Out of about 200 applicants who were invited, only 8 of us received the ‘golden call’ (as its called).

What is the most challenging aspect of being a Flight Attendant?

The most challenging aspect of being a flight attendant to me will be the odd times of work.
It is a shift work, but our timings are out of this world.
You could wake up at the base (Dubai) for breakfast, have lunch halfway across the Atlantic and have your dinner after 16 hours when you land in San Francisco or Auckland in New Zealand!

This is how our life is, mostly because we have so many long-haul flights.

Who is the most famous person that you have serviced as an Emirates Flight Attendant?

I have had the pleasure of flying some of the worlds famous actors and actresses, but unfortunately, due to our company procedures, I am unable to name them, mainly because they do not want us to. (Some of my colleagues got into trouble for doing so).

Which city is your absolute favorite, in terms of people, culture, fashion and food?

My absolute favorite city has got to be Milan, even though Venice and Paris are also favorites.

There is this sense of belonging when I land in Milan because I call it the city of glam.

Everyone you meet is glamorously dressed in Milan! As you know, I like to be glamorous even when I go for breakfast. (Me too, Gosh she’s a true glam-sister)

The men wear nice shirts and shorts or pants, with good shoes.

The ladies – a nice dress or whatever they wear is fashionable.

You don’t run into people wearing flip-flops and looking shabby in Milan often. It is as if everyone got a memo at home to show up well dressed. (This resonated with me so much because there’s nothing that I despise more than the wearing of flip-flops as part of a woman’s attire).

Whether it’s pizza, pasta or lasagna, you’ll love it in Milan.

Just go downtown and get lost in the wonderful nature and experience the Italian culture.

As someone who travels the world, what are your top 3 favorite cities for shopping?

The Top 3 cities where I do not spare my credit card are London, New York, and Barcelona or Madrid.

London has everything from budget to high-end fashion, and you can really get fashionable items in your size, color and just be you.

Good old New York has its thing too if you take away the tax that you get slapped with at the checkout?

Madrid or Barcelona because they have great quality European made fashion at a very low price. Zara and Mango just to mention a few are all at a giveaway price here!

As a glamorous flight attendant, exactly how do you feel about wearing stilettos while in flight?

As a glamorous flight attendant, I would say I hate my court shoes for work because they are not stilettos.
Emirates has its own set of shoes for inflight and the ones we wear out of the aircraft.
They are unfortunately not stilettos, because we are multinational and they want us to be in uniform.
That is why I have my personal stilettos always packed and can’t wait to always slip into them.
I would totally love to wear them but we are not allowed to.

If there’s someone reading this blog who wants to pursue a career as a Flight Attendant, what best piece of advice would you offer anyone seeking to work for an elite airline such as Emirates?

My advice to anyone who would like to join the Emirates family is to be prepared and have a very open mind. Things change a lot around here because it is a multinational company and also has middle eastern culture incorporated in its running.

Thankfully, one will never feel like a ‘fish out of water’ here because you will find someone of the same background or belief.

Working with Emirates is absolutely rewarding, as long as you are willing to adjust to the culture here.

It is hot for the most part of the year, but amazing between October and February, subject to what nature decides.

Which shoe designer satisfies your very desire in stilettos?

Kurt Geiger and Christian Louboutin are my top favorites in the stilettos ‘department, however, I find great stuff at ‘Schuhs’, ‘Office’ (mostly found across the United Kingdom) Nine West and ‘Bebe’ too.

In short, if it’s a stiletto, and I find the right fit and color, I’m wearing it!

This interview gave me all the things I love, career goal achievement, ambition, travel to the most glam cities in the world, prestige, fashion and of course, a shared love of stilettos.

If you’re interested in following Rosetter on Instagram to see her fabulous pictures of her traveling the world, her Instagram handle is: @damme_senah_tahnson . She’ll be making a big announcement soon, so be sure to follow!

If you’re interested in being featured on my blog, send me an email at flightsinstilettos@gmail.com and follow me on Instagram @flightsinstilettos.

Until next time, Dubai….