The coronavirus pandemic has affected every sector of society in unique ways, but one of the groups most impacted by the global situation is flight crews.
From pilots to flight attendants no one's work has been unaffected by the virus, and it turns out the changes range from the astronomical difference in attire, to minute and bizarre details you would never have thought of.
Qatar Airways flight attendant, Braydin Tumataroa-Cann, tells Yahoo Lifestyle the pandemic has had a huge impact on her work, with everything from what she wears - full PPE all the time - to what they serve being impacted.
Braydin hails from New Zealand but now live in Qatar. She began working with the airline five years ago, though these days her job looks very, very different.
"These days, not only are the crew equipped with PPE, all Qatar Airways passengers are also given a complimentary protective kit containing a single-use surgical face mask, large disposable powder-free gloves and an alcohol-based hand sanitiser gel," she reveals.
"We have also modified our meal services to adhere to the strictest hygiene standards."
What that involves is crew avoiding touching anything from your cutlery to your crackers.
"There’s no change to the quality of the food at all, but now all tray items are individually wrapped for hygiene purposes including our bread rolls to avoid physical contact," she explains.
She says the full PPE that the airline has staff wear was a serious adjustment at first, particularly for a glam industry like flight attending, where a full face of make-up and immaculate hair is the typical calling card.
"Initially most of us weren’t super comfortable wearing masks, gloves and PPE suits," she says. "It took a bit of getting used to, particularly when it comes to serving passengers."
She says a surprising challenge is that they need to dial their customer service up even higher than usual, to communicate across a face mask, eye shield and suit.
"We need to speak a little louder to ensure we’re audible, smile a little more behind our mask and so on," she says.
How to keep flawless under a mask in the air
And when it comes to keeping up the trademark immaculate appearance, even under layers of protective equipment, Braydin has some insider tips.
"When purchasing make-up I prefer to use medium to full coverage matte foundations to ensure my makeup lasts the duration of the flight," she reveals. "Many of our flights are very long some even 17 hours such as the Doha to Auckland route."
She says her secret weapon is setting spray to keep everything intact while in the hair.
Surprising perk she misses most
As for what she misses most about her job before the pandemic, she says for most cabin crew it's the chance to visit wherever you want in the world.
For her, it was all about the incredible perk of shopping all over the world.
"The best perk of being a flight attendant is being able to travel the world and getting what you need at the best price and quality around the globe," she said. "We can request to operate a flight wherever we need. Before, I would do grocery shopping in Australia, buy tax-free handbags and shoes in Europe, and pick up my vitamins and make-up in the US."
"Obviously since our flights have decreased and immigration rules changed so has this, but we are looking forward to that soon when travel is normalised again."
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