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Interview with a Saudi Airlines flight attendant

Ahmed Mousa

With your culture, how do you handle the treatment of female passengers? Like everybody else. No special treatment these days.

During the Ramadan, how do you deal with not eating and drinking during sunlight with a very tiring job like yours? It’s allowed in our religion (Islam) during Ramadan to eat and drink while traveling, but some of us prefer to be fasting.

Is it true that female cabin crew can’t serve men during their “time of the month?Nooo! Of course it’s just rumors without source.

Can you marry and/or have kids and keep working? Yes. With the new rules females can marry and have kids. They have maternity leave for maximum one year.

Is there a call to prayer in the air? No, but if someone asks we’ll let them know.

During prayer onboard the aircraft when passengers need to get up and face the east, how do you accommodate for that? All the new fleet (wide bodied) is equipped with a worship place in the aft of the aircraft (A330 , B777 , B747)

Do you have a union? Sky Team Alliance. 

Do you have to share hotel rooms with other flight attendants? Yes, but only on domestic layovers. We get our own rooms when we work international flights.

What is the strangest customer request & how did you handle it? For me the strangest request came from a teenage girl. She wanted to kiss me. I had to take her number just to escape from her because she insisted on kissing me in flight. One of my friends had a passenger ask him if he could try and open the door during flight just to see how a decompression will occur.

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The company name is irrelevant…

I’m always asked, “which airline do you work for?” whenever I’m being interviewed.  As if the answer is going to give people a better understanding of why I wrote the book, Cruising Attitude, or why I feel the way I do about flying or travel in general.

“One of the big ones,” is the usual response, followed by something about how the book isn’t an airline expose so it doesn’t matter who I work for.   The company name is irrelevant.  Then I’ll remind the interviewer that the book is about being a flight attendant, not an airline, and how being a flight attendant is more of a lifestyle than a job.  “Half of the book takes place on the ground!” I’ll exclaim to get my point across.   Then I’ll wrap it up by saying something like, “It doesn’t matter who you work for, the job is the same wherever  you go.”

I’ll admit that there have been times, not many, when I’ve wondered just how true that statement really is, like when I’m checking into a layover hotel and spot a foreign crew doing the exact same thing.  Because certainly the job has to be different overseas!   And by different, I mean better, of course.   What’s strange is whenever self doubt begins to creep in, something will happen to confirm what I believed all along.  Take for instance the time a newspaper out of Australia reviewed my book.  I was shocked to see so many Australians felt the exact same way about Qantas crews as Americans feel about U.S. crews.

One of the most exciting things about having published a book about flight attendants is getting feedback from other flight crews, and not just flight attendants from other airlines, but from crew who live in foreign countries and work for international carriers!  Sometimes it comes in the form of a really nice letter.  They’re always my favorite.  Other times it comes in gold and arrives wrapped in bubble wrap inside a Fed Ex envelope.  Imagine how excited I was to receive a pair of Saudi Airline flight crew wings yesterday!  A sign to me that flight attendants worldwide really do have parallel lives, regardless of the company name written on the side of the plane.

Saudi Airlines flight crew

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