Friday, October 25, 2013

Cabin crews and pilots tell all

´´They are the mysterious air travel questions many of us ponder.
Now we have the answers, with engineers, cabin crew and pilots from Cathay Pacific breaking down some of the top mile-high facts on the airline's website.
Here are some of the most interesting responses´´

Flight attendants

Is it true a flight attendant must be a minimum 160 centimetres in height and proportionate weight? And have a nice-looking face?

Kenji: "You don't necessarily need to be 160cm tall, as long as you can reach to 208cm. As for looks, we look at your personality. If you have a beautiful, sincere, genuine smile, a warm and kind heart, and you're willing to help others, you're what we are looking for."

How many kinds of special meals are there? It seems those are distributed before other passengers' meals. Why?

Candy: "We have many different types of special meals. Sometimes we distribute the special meal first because, for example, when a mother travels with a little child and orders the 'child meal', she may need to take care of them.
"If the mother gets her meal and the 'child meal' at the same time, then after she feeds her child, her own meal may be cold. If we have passengers who have ordered the 'diabetic meal', they may also ask for preferred times for medical reasons."

Do you fly with different colleagues each time? 

Candy: "We fly with different crew colleagues each flight, on different aircraft types and configurations. We have a 'crew position system' which will monitor our previous flying record and assign our positions on each flight."

Do you need to clean the washrooms in-flight?

Victor: "Yes we check the washrooms regularly to make sure they are clean and have enough toiletries for all users - including ourselves! (Yes, the cabin crew use the same toilets as the passengers). If the toilet floor is slippery, we need to clean it, and we also need to be alert for fire as a result of people trying to smoke."

Do you have any skin care problems with flying to so many different places in different weather?

Teresa: "Since the humidity level inside the aircraft is low, my skin tends to get a bit dry, so I really pay attention to moisturizing. Normally l will do a mask before and after each flight. And after washing my face, l will apply a few drops of facial massage oil and then gently massage my whole face."


How do you spend your leisure time in other cities?

Simon: "Well it depends on which city I am flying to, but, for example, I always try to request a Vancouver flight each month in the winter because I love to go snowboarding on Cypress Mountain.
"After I arrive, I go to the hotel and get a good night's sleep. Then I get up the next morning early, at 6am, have a good breakfast and catch a bus that takes you straight to Cypress Mountain. I spend the whole day snowboarding and get back to the hotel for a good night's sleep before I fly back to Hong Kong."

How do you manage time zone changes and jet lag issues?

Emanuel: "If I'm flying on a route that may result in jet lag or body clock issues, I try to do some exercise to help me relax my body and mind. Then I try to get some sleep a few hours before my duty starts.
"Once I'm flying, coffee or black tea helps me stay alert through my body clock's 'night' stage. After we finish duty, the first thing I always do is sleep for about four or five hours before going out with the crew.
"During the layover period, I try to stay 'in tune' with my home time in Hong Kong to minimise sleep disruption when I get back."


Why are the windows so small?

Suresh: " Using a Boeing Aircraft as an example, the design of aircraft windows takes into account a number of factors beyond the basic necessity of visibility. The size of windows on aluminium aeroplanes are generally decided to maintain load requirements set by Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration (US regulatory body).
"With larger windows, you have to increase the strength capability of the fuselage skin and window frame support structure. Hence, as it gets bigger, then the skin thickness and all the support structure must be enhanced which will increase the weight of the aeroplane. In effect, you are providing an acceptable window size while trying to minimise aeroplane weight to improve overall 

How is an aircraft protected from lightning?

Stanley: "Primarily the pilot will try to avoid lightning strikes by using the weather radar and flying around storms where the lightning is likely to occur. The circular shape and the conductive nature of the fuselage means that the plane's body becomes a 'Faraday cage', which allows energy from the lightning to flow around the plane, thus protecting the people inside."

How much does the paint weigh on a 747-400?

Patrick: "The paint on a fully painted 747 weighs about 250kg (!!)"

What are aeroplanes made of?

Robert: "The wings and bodies of the majority of passenger aircraft flying today are constructed from aluminium as it is light and strong. Steel and titanium are used in high load absorbing areas such as the landing gear. For the latest generation of aircraft such as the Airbus A350, over 50 per cent of the aircraft is now constructed from carbon fibre - which is even lighter and stronger than aluminium and resistant to corrosion."


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