Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Flight attendants are the face of hospitality for each airline company. They are the warm smiles that welcome you when you board the airplane, greeting you with a friendly chat or a jovial “hello.” To most people, a flight attendant reflects the glamour of air travel, and becoming one will open doors to globe trotting, international alliance, and a worldly lifestyle. This is the most common notion people have of this profession, and many long to be part of this “elite” and cosmopolitan mix of young professionals.

This prestigious line of work calls for innovative forward thinkers, who, by nature, are also travel hungry explorers --- quick to respond to guest’s needs and have the patience of a mother with its mission to tirelessly exceed customer expectations.

Their job is not just defined to police passengers and make sure they follow regulations, but also to provide assistance with food, drinks, safety, and all other essentials for and precautions in flying.

Reality, however, goes beyond a flight attendant’s pleasing façade built in a snappy chic uniform. Not to mean that they’re anti-social, inhospitable, and hostile, but the life of a flight attendant is really not as glorious and elegant as it may seem underneath the layers of makeup and programmed poise.

The influx of budget airlines and promo fares these recent times have added more meticulous guests onboard whose needs flight attendants have to tend to, detail by detail. No two days are ever the same for a cabin crew. Everyday is a different destination, a different set of passengers, and a whole new wave of characters and wishes to look after. While working long hours at any given day, even Sundays, flight attendants have tele-cine worthy lives to worry about in their hometown. Yet these woes and problems are hidden by their smiles and generosity to everyone onboard. I’d say they deserve more appreciation for their hard work, as these individuals, for all we know, travel continents just to provide and secure a future for their family. Each has a story to tell, yet concealed underneath layers of foundation and lipstick.

Take the life of 28 year old Jessica Patricio, the latest addition to the breed Filipino flight attendants. This Davaoeña will be one of the faces who will represent the Philippines to passengers flying via Qatar Airways.

Jes is a certified nurse who took side jobs as a model, as she embraced the responsibilities of a single mother. Her eyes and winsome smile won her a role in a shampoo advertisement alongside actress / TV star Angelica Panganiban. She became a regular on the runway and her face became more popular after series of fashion shoots with reputable photographers in Davao City.

“I knew being a flight attendant is not easy job. I didn’t know how to live every single day of my life not seeing my son. What I used to make in this town was not enough to secure a good future for him, and I intend to give him all that he needs to achieve his hopes and dreams. This job opportunity with Qatar Airways is something that I’ve contemplated on for a long time. I weighed the pros and cons. After months of thinking, and after I got the letter of acceptance from the company, I summed up my courage and embraced this new undertaking in life.”

“This will be a different adventure for me, and this is something I am not doing for myself alone. This is for my child. I think of my child’s future with every customer I meet. I may have to deal with hundreds of personalities each day, but no amount of sweat can ever equal to the fulfillment I feel whenever I am able to provide for the son. I try to communicate with him as much as I can, reminding him of his promise to do good in school, and of how much I love him. Being far and out of touch is such a huge sacrifice, but I know my son understands the reason why I took this job. He is the sole reason why I am driven to do better at work, and to be stronger whenever I’d feel homesick and stressed out. In a way, I get to share the wonders of this world to him. Whenever we talk, I tell him the places I’ve been to, and how I will strive hard to have a little more than enough to be able to take him around the globe in the future.”

Photographer: Paul Borromeo
Location: Leadfoto Studios
Clothes: MAGS
Story published on my newspaper column, Metro Mom.
A4, INdulge section, Edge Davao, Vol. 5 Issue 142, 19 September 2012.


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