How to travel and have the best job in the world

How to travel and have the best job in the world

Madara Fuksa has been working as a flight attendant at airBaltic for nearly eight years and loves to go mountain-climbing in her spare time. Those who are interested in joining her as a colleague can check out recruitment portal, as we are currently looking for additional employees. But before that let's take a look behind the scenes...

If not now, when?

It wasn’t a childhood dream of mine, unlike the case with some of my colleagues. I was looking for job vacancies on the Internet and came across the opportunity to apply for a position at airBaltic. I initially thought that I would not be accepted, because the profession requires certain skills. It turns out that I already possessed these skills, but didn’t know it at the time! I was drawn by the opportunity to travel. I’m the adventuresome type and thought that the job might be interesting. A huge number of people showed up for the selection process, but just one week later, somebody from the airline called to tell me that I had been selected and could start my flight attendant training. And so the greatest experience of my life began!

It's all about atmosphere

The positive emotions that I receive from those around me – both my colleagues and the passengers. As a child, I already liked the atmosphere at airports, bus and train stations, because these places have a special aura about them. The people at these places are experiencing all kinds of emotions. Some are returning home, while others are just starting out on a new trip, or will be flying on a plane for the first time. Those who work at airports do their job with pride, because we’re part of the process that lets people enjoy the pleasures of flying.

I don’t fly as often as before, because I’m also a safety and emergency procedures instructor to my fellow flight attendants and pilots, as well as a sales and service trainer. These two positions at the airBaltic Training Centre take up almost 90% of my work time.

Train hard, fight easy

My first trip was on a flight from Riga to Nice. After training for about a month, I felt ready to put on my uniform and take to the skies. However, on that first flight, I understood that theoretical knowledge is one thing, but dealing with the needs of real passengers on an airplane is another. The flight was full and there was so much work to do that I didn’t have time to sit down for even a minute. At the same time, I really liked what I was doing. It was very hard, but satisfying at the same time. When we took the return flight from Nice, I was allowed to sit in the cockpit for a while. That was a very beautiful and emotional experience. I knew then that I would really enjoy working as a flight attendant.

Ain't no mountain high enough

As was the case with my profession, I came across mountain-climbing quite by accident. Now, I can’t imagine myself working as anything else but a flight attendant, and I can’t imagine my life without mountainclimbing. Mountain-climbing is a risky activity. You have to prepare for each climb in advance and be ready to face the unexpected. Mountainclimbing is like a form of meditation for me. I’m alone with myself and take on a huge responsibility by putting my safety at risk and confronting my greatest fears. Every time I take on a difficult route, I have only one thought in my head: “What am I doing here?” That’s followed by an intense feeling of joy upon reaching the summit. Once I’ve got safely back down, I’m already thinking about the next climb that I should make. Mountain-climbing has given me the chance to visit fantastic places, see breathtaking views and feel the incredible beauty of Nature. I’ve gained close friends whom I can rely upon in any situation, and I also met my life partner. I train at climbing walls in Latvia about two or three times a week, and go mountain- or rock-climbing at least two or three times a year outside of Latvia. I’m glad that my profession also lets me enjoy nice views of the mountains from the air. I would be happy if everyone found an activity that gives them the same sense of satisfaction that mountain-climbing gives to me. The feelings are indescribable. You really sense how enormously powerful Nature is and feel grateful for the privilege of grasping just a small part of this power.

To travel is to live

Obviously, being a flight attendant opens up lots of opportunities for additional travel. First of all, the very nature of our job means that we have to fly to all kinds of destinations. Sometimes we spend one or more nights at these cities before returning to Riga, which means that we get the chance to explore these places a little more every time. Secondly, the passengers who we meet often tell us about the places that they have just visited. That gives us ideas for future travel plans. I have definitely travelled much more than I did before becoming a flight attendant.  In a way, flight attendants can be seen as travel experts. They know certain airports inside out. They feel confident when they set off to visit foreign countries; they’re not afraid to take risks and to visit more exotic destinations. Having flown to many cities as a flight attendant, I’ve understood that the world isn’t really all that big. If you have the will, then you can find the means to set out on a fantastic voyage. You can be in Riga one morning and then in either Paris, Rome or New York just a few hours later.  One of my favourite travel destinations is Chamonix in France. There are all kinds of sports activities that you can do there in the summer, including mountain- and rock-climbing, trekking, hiking and cycling, to name just a few. The mountain air is invigorating and charges up your batteries. I’ve been there twice and definitely plan to return again this summer.

Give it a try!

The only way of finding out if you are suitable for the profession is by giving it a try! You’ll gain experience that you won’t get anywhere else. You’ll meet people from all over the world. You’ll see fantastic places and you’ll work together with colleagues who’ll support you. It’s definitely not an easy job, but the sense of satisfaction and the positive emotions that you receive outweigh any hardships. I look forward to working together with you, high up above the clouds!

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