Working as a RAF Air steward

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Sally flies the world as an air steward in the RAF. Each passenger aircraft has a crew of eight – including two pilots, a navigator, three air stewards and an air loadmaster.

What does your job involve?

I look after people on board the aircraft. I've just qualified as a purser, which means I do everything from ordering the catering to serving the food to ensuring passenger safety.

Who are your passengers?

They're usually military – soldiers going off to the Middle East, for example. Or the aircraft might be fitted with stretchers so that we can carry casualties. In the summer, we get quite a lot of families coming back from Cyprus and the Falkland Islands for visits home.

Why did you join the RAF?

How2Become - RAF

I always wanted to work in hospitality and my mum ran a pub. Opportunities seemed to be much better here than in other places so I called the RAF, had some interviews, and that was it really.

What motivates you?

I like things to look nice! I take a lot of personal pride in what we do, even when I'm having a bad day. I also like the fact that there is a routine in this job, and that it's fairly structured – I enjoy organising things.

What other jobs have you done?

I've been a steward on a base. It was great. We changed jobs every six months. I was a waitress in the Officers' Mess, then I was a receptionist organising people's accommodation, then I worked in the bar, ordering stock and serving drinks. In the RAF, there are hospitality jobs on the ground and in the air.

What else could you do in the RAF?

My dream job would be on VIP duties for an air marshal. I'd be working in the official residence and doing silver service dinner parties.

What's the best thing about your job?

The travel, definitely! In a two-week period, I might go to the US, the Caribbean and the Middle East. And when we land in places like Washington, the whole crew goes out on the town.

Sally's RAF Air steward tips

  • If you're prepared to work hard, then you'll learn the job and get a lot out of it.
  • Take advantage of all the training opportunities and get as many qualifications as you can.

Becoming a RAF Air steward

  • You don't need any qualifications to join the RAF as an air steward.
  • After recruit training, you'll do a course to learn the basics of food and drink service, bar and cellar work, reception and valeting.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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