Arta Luse is not only a flight attendant, but also an airBaltic ambassador who represents the airline at various functions. Baltic Outlook asked A. Luse to outline her duties as a cabin crew member and explain her role as ambassador for the airline

How did your career at airBaltic begin?

I was studying in Finland for a while and during that time, I often flew from Riga to Helsinki and back. I observed the flight attendants working in the cabin and felt a genuine sense of admiration for them. I thought I would also give it a try, and I must say that I haven’t regretted my decision at all, not for a moment! In April I will have spent six years working at airBaltic.

My career here has advanced quite smoothly. After beginning as a trainee, I was assigned to work on Boeing 737-300 and then Boeing 757-200 aircraft. When I had spent two years on the job, I became a senior cabin crew member. Then I worked on Fokker 50 and Bombardier Q400 Next Gen aircraft, which brought new changes to my job. Last year I also started working as a line trainer, teaching both novice and experienced flight attendants during flights. For this reason, I always have to be up-to-date with the latest aircraft procedures. I have been really fortunate, because whenever I feel the need for a change, a new challenge presents itself. In the spring of 2013, I had the opportunity to work for two months as a flight attendant with Air Berlin. Although we were based in the German capital, we had to spend five or six nights a week at hotel rooms in other cities such as Dusseldorf, Dresden and Nuremberg. I can say for a fact that the grass is not always greener on the other side. I’m really happy about the way that our work is scheduled here at airBaltic. We get to fly back to Riga almost every day, which I think is a huge advantage. It’s important for me to be with my family and my friends.

How did you become an airBaltic ambassador?

I’m a person who enjoys a challenge and who likes to be active. When I applied for the vacancy, I had no idea that I would be attending so many different types of social events. I greeted airBaltic’s millionth passenger, I’ve taken part in the launching of new flight routes and attended many other fantastic events. Since I know how to speak German, I have also had the opportunity to represent airBaltic on two occasions – once at the annual International Travel Trade Show and once at Green Week in Berlin. This year, Latvia co-hosted Green Week as the presiding country of the European Council, and airBaltic set up a stand there.
Since I’m a very sociable person, I am happy at the opportunities that this job has given me. Of course, each and every one of us becomes an ambassador for the airline the moment that we put on our airBaltic uniforms or whenever we deal with our clients and cooperation partners. We try to leave our personal issues at home. Once we have boarded a flight, we devote ourselves to providing great service to our passengers, with warmth and enthusiasm and with a smile on our faces.


Your face can often be seen on the cover of various publicity materials and in Baltic Outlook magazine. Do some passengers recognise you?

Some passengers do ask if they are really looking at a picture of me in the magazine that they are reading. Usually they are surprised to find out that the photographs are of genuine flight attendants and not of professional models. It’s a wonderful moment of revelation when they see our stewardesses smiling not only in glossy pictures, but also in real life on actual flights serving coffee to a passenger at this very moment!

You were recently promoted to the position of crew team leader. What does that entail?

Right now I have attained the golden mean, in the sense that part of my work involves serving passengers in the air, while another involves administrative work and the resolution of outstanding issues in an office setting. We take people’s feedback and recommendations seriously to see how we can improve our service even further. In addition, crew team leaders are like a bridge between the airline’s top management and the flight attendants. I try to provide as much support as I can to my colleagues, to praise them often and to address their concerns when necessary. On the other hand, I feel that I can still learn from more experienced flight attendant group leaders. I’m always open to suggestions and advice. In aviation, everything depends upon good teamwork.

What are the advantages of working as a flight attendant?

Our work is pretty fast-paced and dynamic. We also get the chance to take part in wet-lease projects, which involves working for another airline in another country for a short period of time. One of the most highly valued bonuses is the opportunity to travel with the airline at reduced rates, which many airBaltic employees are happy to take advantage of. I already liked to travel before I became a flight attendant, but since joining airBaltic, flying to other places has become a passion of mine.
The company offers good opportunities for quick career growth and the chance to receive training within the framework of various projects. You naturally learn  to improve your communications skills in your job as a flight attendant, which is useful not only while you are serving passengers up in the air, but also on the
ground, and helps you to grow as a person.

Some will definitely see this as a dream job. What are its down sides?

I don’t know if I would call it a down side, but in this job you have to be able to analyse situations very quickly and make split-second decisions. You have to act
calmly in stressful situations, you have to be competent in your work and you have to be a team player. You have to provide excellent service with a smile on your face no matter how you feel inside, and regardless of whether it is your first day at work after a sunny vacation trip or your fifth day in a row on the job. It might be the last flight of the week and you might be dying to return home, but for some of the passengers it might be their first flight ever, so you have to treat everybody well at all times. In short, you have to be service- oriented; you have to be smiling, positive  and open, as the main concern here is customer care. And on top of that, you have to know how to swim! [Laughs.] Our work days go by very quickly. If you don’t actively plan your social life with a job like ours, you might find after a few years that you have missed out on a lot of things in life. Some people might see shift work as a disadvantage, but this type of job forces you to plan your time effectively, which I see as a very big plus. You end up either loving or hating this job; nobody remains indifferent.

How do you like to spend your free time?

It’s important for me to get a good night’s sleep and to engage in sports activities at least two times per week so that I feel good about myself. I enjoy playing tennis during the summer months and I like to keep in shape. Sports is a great stress reducer. I also like to read, listen to music and go to the theatre. I recently went to a wonderful performance of Gone With the Wind at the Daile Theatre in Riga. Although I read all kinds of literature, lately I have enjoyed reading crime novels. I read an interview with someone who claimed that there are better things to do than reading crime novels. Then someone else retorted that reading crime novels is far better than not reading anything at all. I also like to cook and receive guests at my home in a festive atmosphere.

Paris is one of my favourite European destinations. I always discover something new every time that I visit the city. I plan to take an intercontinental trip later this fall, but I’ll keep that destination a secret for now. Although I try to visit at least one new place every year, I am not the most active traveller among airBaltic’s employees. Some of my colleagues have travelled half the world!

How would you motivate prospective flight attendants to apply for a position at airBaltic?

airBaltic is a great company for starting one’s career as a flight attendant. Applicants should have a good grasp of Latvian, English and Russian, and any additional knowledge is always seen as an advantage. A university degree is not initially necessary, as you can combine your work with your further education. You have to be service-oriented and be able to work in a team under any conditions. I can hardly think of a better way to get to know the world of aviation than working in a dynamic and innovative company together with young and motivated colleagues.After awhile, one can further one’s career in other departments if one so wishes.

After all, who wouldn’t want to work at the world’s most punctual airline!

That’s right! The company is full of young and energetic employees. Often work relationships transform into enduring friendships.

 

If you would like to work as a flight attendant at airBaltic, check out the vacancies at http://recruite.airbaltic.com