| October 25, 2020

Exploring passion and places

Exploring passion and places
On the job
KATHMANDU, April 25: Mahesh Basnet is a 30-year-old cabin crew working for Malaysia’s AirAsia X since December 2013. Through his job, Basnet is living his lifelong dream of traveling to new places every once in a while.

He says working for an airline is the best job for people who are passionate about travel. But this is not such a glamorous job, he cautions. It entails a lot of patience, and can be hard for people who love staying close to family and home. He says, “Many times, you will be flying with crew members, many of whom you have not met before or may have flown together a long time ago, but they will be your family as they are the only ones you will have at 39,000 feet in the sky. But for those who are ready to travel often, this job will literally take you places.”
In Nepal, most people suppose that being a cabin crew is a woman’s work. Do you get that from friends/family or strangers?
Yes, we usually picture a young and beautiful girl wearing a uniform, smiling and welcoming the passengers when you think ‘cabin crew.’ But things are changing now and a bit of exposure to western culture have helped people change their perception and see the bigger picture.

Why did you choose to work as a cabin crew?
To be honest, it never crossed my mind that someday I would take this up as a career. However, traveling was always my great passion though I did not know how I would ever fulfill my dreams. It’s not easy to be an avid traveler with a Nepali passport. It’s difficult to get visas and let’s not even talk about the expenses. That’s how I decided that it was best if I was part of an airline. After two years of struggle and effort, I ended up here in AirAsia X as a cabin crew.

Tell us about your job responsibilities.
People often assume that cabin crews have a glamorous job which is not exactly true. It’s tough, both during training and during your career. You go through a rigorous training to learn the aviation terminology, the safety emergency procedures and first-aid information and treatment procedures. We have to take the test every year. You are not just a good looking person standing there welcoming passengers onboard. You are a safety officer scanning for any possible threat later during that flight. You need to have a smile on your face and keep away your stress while assuring comfort to the passengers. It requires equal physical and mental exertion.

What are the perks and the disadvantages of your job?
My job takes me around the world to places I had never thought I’d ever go to. I can go sightseeing whenever possible or make use of the free tickets. Though I’m based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, I can come and visit my family in Nepal almost every month even though I don’t get to stay more than a couple of days. The respect you get for the uniform and the good pay are also great job perks. On the downside, you’re almost constantly on the move and must be ready to pack your bags and leave home.

What are the most important skills to have in your line of work?
It’s not just about being well groomed as this is not just a job but a lifestyle where you need to be kind, and have a lot of stamina, patience and a sense of responsibility.

Do you have any anecdote to share about a passenger?
I vividly remember the time we had to restrain a passenger as he was likely to jeopardize the safety of other passengers. I felt rather sorry for him later as he was not even allowed to go to the bathroom throughout the flight as we were still concerned about other passengers’ safety. When we landed, we handed him over to the security personnel.