Since the advent of globalisation, there are infinite opportunities to be sought. The dilemma of choosing the career path is surely a daunting task, wrecking the peace of mind of many teenagers for whom the impending question is ‘What Next?’ Finally, however, most follow the traditional fields, whereas a small section of youngsters wants to try the new avenues and taste success.
Meet this dynamic young lady Ms. Kavya Hebbar who belongs to this latter section. Despite choosing a path less travelled, she is has been able to scale great heights. Daughter of Mr. Narahari Hebbar – Ms. Rekha Hebbar-who hail from Hosamata near Kukke Subrahmanya , Mangalore , Karnataka , she continues the legacy of, Mangaloreans who are ready to take challenges and convert them into achievements.
Now employed with Jet Airways- International Flights, Ms. Kavya shares her thoughts with Veda Athavale .
- How did the idea of becoming air hostess occur? Was there any role model? How did your parents react to your decision?
Frankly speaking, I didn’t have any dream or goal during my school or college days. I just used to go to school, come back, go for classes, study and then sleep. That’s it. There was no role model for me to become an air hostess. It just happened one day. It was the last day of my 12th board exam, a person was distributing Frankfinn leaflets [Frankfinn is an institute for Air Hostess training]. I randomly filled one, thinking ” Just fill the form, who cares if I get a call or not”. And the very next day I received a call to attend an interview. Out of 10 people who had come, I was only one who got selected for the course. I went home, discussed it with my parents and their response was positive. That’s when I realised what my dream was! My parents were a big support for me.
- Tell us about the structure of air hostess training? Is being beautiful important for this course?
Qualification required for the training is – HSC / 12th / PUC passed. Age – 18 to 30 years. The training period is 12 months. Fluency in English is appreciated. Regarding physical features, height and weight should be proportional with a clear skin. It’s not just the beauty, but beauty with brains, confidence, pro- activeness, the initiative to learn things, communication skills etc. are most important. The curriculum includes lessons on healthy diet, First Aid, customer service etc.
- What is the job of an air hostess? Please explain in detail.
Safety and service are the most important job of an air hostess. Air hostess is responsible for ensuring all passengers are seated and secure before take-offs and landings, securing the main door on flights and instructing passengers on all safety procedures and ensuring all cabin equipment is working before flights. Service duties would include passing out pillows and reading materials before take-off, getting booster seats for toddlers or escorting elderly passengers on and off the plane, providing First-Aid in the case of emergency and serve drinks, snacks, and meals, collect trays, trash, and glasses before landing.
- Is this job financially attractive? Are there any other benefits in this job?
Air hostesses are paid well. But the main attraction of this job is you get paid to see the world! You can explore every corner of the world. Travel to places where you have seen those only in movies. Stay in star hotels and all this is company paid. Other benefits being huge discounts for the family to travel in both domestic and international and also medical insurance for the family.
- Can an Air hostess balance family and work life after marriage? What are the other jobs she can opt if she decides to leave?
To some extent, yes. Family life gets affected after marriage. But with a supporting spouse, one can balance personal and professional life. One small advice to all the girls and guys out there, never marry a person of the same profession. For example, if I marry a guy who is a crew, we won’t be able to give enough time to each other and to the family because of the time clash. Also, there are many job options for an experienced air hostess. They can become trainers, or seek jobs in management and hospitality industry.
- What are the challenges for an Airhostess? What is your opinion about the recent movie ‘Neeraja’ which depicts the life of an Airhostess?
I feel Physical fitness is the biggest challenge. I myself had faced this problem while giving interviews. I got through Jet Airways when I tried for the 4th time! They rejected me thrice just because of my weight and all my confidence had dropped. I lost hopes completely. But then again my parents and friends imbibed the confidence in me, motivated me, gave me enough strength to face the challenge again. I joined a gym, went for swimming classes and lost weight. And that was when I succeeded.
The other challenge is staying away from the family as we get off once or twice in a week, which builds psychological pressure. So developing right food habits, keeping ourselves mentally occupied in a constructive way is very important to overcome these challenges. Regarding the movie ‘Neeraja’, it’s a must watch for every other person out there who thinks an Air hostess job is just like a waiter in the hotel! I am sure the concept of an Air hostess will change after watching the movie.
- How do you feel about your Kannadiga roots? Any piece of advice to youngsters?
Of course, I feel happy. Though I am settled in Mumbai, I am in constant touch with my parental and maternal homes in villages near Mangalore . My relatives have always supported my decision of becoming an Airhostess. Yes, it’s true that people choose to be engineers or doctors, but I chose to be something unique from others. Now, when anybody asks, “what does your daughter do?” my parents, with their heads high, say that- “She is an air hostess with Jet Airways!”