I’m Waiting for my Start Date as Cabin Crew: What Now?

Jul 8, 2018 | Cabin Crew

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(Last updated on: 13/12/2021)

Yesterday I received an e-mail from a girl named Tayo that has recently secured a job as cabin crew with BA at Gatwick – well done! She sent me a long list of questions that she is dying to have answered while enduring the long wait until her start date (for me this was 4 months, but felt more like a year!). I often receive e-mails like this and I know firsthand how many unanswered questions you have that you can’t wait to have the answers for! It’s a very exciting time but it can also be a bit unnerving as you often might not know what to expect! So in an attempt to help Tayo and many others that are patiently waiting for the start of their flying careers, I have answered all of her questions here!

1. So my basic salary is around 12k and I know you get benefits and extras, but obviously, 12k is not something anyone could live on. So what is the pay like roughly including all these things per annum?

Your pay will be different every month. When I was training and if I had a lot of standby my pay could be as low as £800 – however, if I had a busy month with lots of flights, it could be up to about £1500. You are able to use your money down route so it’s very easy to spend it all before you earn it, especially if you like shopping! But if you budget on your trips and spend your money carefully then you can earn enough to live on. Safe to say, I wasn’t very good at that though! I would suggest having some sort of backup money for those ‘disappointing’ months!

2. Why are so many people complaining about mixed fleet being so unfair and bad? Isn’t it a good thing that you can choose whether you want to do long- or short-haul? My job title doesn’t say mixed fleet, but is that what I am?

Choosing whether you want to do long or short-haul was brilliant for me, although more often than not I didn’t really feel I had much of a choice. There is a bidding system called Carmen, but unfortunately, it is certainly not a guarantee that you will get what you ask for. One month I asked for Rio and LA and got Manchester there and backs and short Euro tours!

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of hype about mixed fleet. This is largely due to the terms and conditions being so different from the euro or worldwide fleets. Mixed fleet have FAR lower salaries, less time down route, fewer rights (I stand to be corrected but I don’t think they are allowed to strike), they get less uniform and I’m sure the list goes on. The reality is that the company could not sustain the remuneration packages offered to the old fleets so they have had to reform – hence mixed fleet began. The conditions have improved though, as staff have complained: you now get longer LA trips, higher hourly flight pay, and more days off after an Africa trip for example.

I'm Waiting For My Start Date As Cabin Crew: Now What?

3. Deductions!! Everyone mentions these deductions lol. Is that just from the first month’s pay all at once or do you just pay it out of your pocket?

I’m not sure what deductions you are talking about… If you mean money for visas etc when you first start then I think that came out of the first payment. Aside from the usual tax, NI etc, and any money you have spent down route, you shouldn’t really have any deductions after that. You pay less tax too-bonus!

4. Do we have to pay for our uniform? Lol

No, only if you want to buy extra.

5. Not that I’m planning to right now, but are new crew able to progress and become a manager or work in other departments for the company? e.g. internal vacancies for HR or helpdesk at the airport etc.

Yes! There are LOADS of opportunities to move around. Firstly, there is the FTC scheme for you to progress as crew and there are always lots of internal opportunities including temporary moves. There are great prospects within the company!

6. Do we actually get to see the countries we go to and go shopping, sightseeing or is it literally, fly there, sleep for a few hours, and then come straight back.

Good question! This depends entirely on the route. You may do a Moscow there and back where you will never get off and see the city, or you could get a 5 day Rio which can be like a mini holiday! Some trips give you more time than others down route but you generally do have some time to enjoy yourself! Also, my experience is based on LHR fleet which has a lot of daily routes, whereas there are a lot more holiday destinations that BA fly to from Gatwick which probably don’t have daily flights so you might have some nice, long trips from there!

So I hope that answers all your questions Tayo, and anybody else in her shoes! Have more questions before your cabin crew start date? Feel free to comment below and I will do my best to answer them for you!

Happy flying! 🙂

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7 Comments
  1. Tolani

    Hi, thank you for posting this. It’s really helpful. I am an applicant and I have my assessment booked. But, my question is, what documents will be okay for me to present on my assessment day, as I am a Nigerian applicant and I don’t have a work permit visa? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hayley Stainton

      There should be a list of required documents on your assessment day invitation letter/e-mail

      Reply
  2. Tolani

    Yes ma’am, there is a list of documents, but, what I’m worried about is, I don’t have a work permit, without the work permit, will other required documents enable me proceed with the assessment (along with maybe a temporary visa, since I don’t have a work visa)?

    Reply
    • Hayley Stainton

      I suspect they won’t be a able to legally employ you without a work permit

      Reply
      • Tolani

        Aww, I thought as much (it’s saddening). Thank you for giving me so much of your time replying me. Thank you soooo much. What can I do? I really want this to work out. I’m dying to be part of BA cabin crew. I can’t give up. I don’t want to.

        Reply
        • Hayley Stainton

          Where do you live? They do have some other bases around the world? Maybe look into that?

          Reply
          • Tolani

            I live in Nigeria.

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Dr Hayley Stainton

Hi, am Dr Hayley Stainton

I’ve been travelling, studying and teaching travel and tourism since I was 16. Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

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