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Who only works according to instructions
does not have much fun at work

A talk between the juvenile reporters from the Böser Wolf and Lennart von Groeling,
known as Lenno, a Flight Attendant at EasyJet

We met Lenno on the return flight when we went to Rust to pick up the ‘Europa-Göre’ prize. Lenno was interested in our work and even did some advertisement for us on the plane. We wanted to know more about him. Here is Lenno talking about his profession. Social engagement is also very important for him. And we can reveal to you: Lenno was nominated for the Easy-Jet Flight Attendant of the year 2015. Congratulations!

How to become a Flight Attendant: training

Why do you wear a suit?

Steward Lenno: The uniform has something to do with authority; it emits something trustworthy and serious. In dangerous situations, people totally depend on us. In cases of danger, we know where to go and where not and are trained to evacuate. Of course training is necessary.

How long does the training take?

Flight Attendant Lenno:That depends on the flight company. Training takes about four weeks at EasyJet. In the beginning, you learn about the general company and then you have a first aid course. It is not possible to call an ambulance on board that is why we have to learn how to help people until it is possible to land. Which usually takes about twenty minutes. Of course we also have to ensure that every passenger gets safely on land in the case of danger. Krankenwagen

Is there any other training afterwards?

Flight Attendant Lenno: Yes, every year. We rehearse emergency scenarios again and again. We also have to refresh our first-aid skills.

Danger of flying

Have you experienced any emergencies?

Flight Attendant Lenno:Not really. I was always lucky and nothing bad happened, which is also due to the flight company. Once there was a big screw left lying on the runway and when we landed we had a flat tyre.

Which dangers exist?

Flight Attendant Lenno: During a storm there is the danger of being struck by lightening. The cabin body consists of several layers and only the outermost layer can be damaged. But a sensor could be struck, so you have to be careful. Birds can be a problem. There is often a lot of grassy areas at the airport and there are always a lot of birds habited there. They can get into the engine. Technicians then have to come to make sure everything is fine.

And are there any problems with birds in the air?

Flight Attendant Lenno: No, because they don’t fly that high. The trouble with birds arise only on take-off or when landing. Once you are in the air, not much can happen.

Various job experiences

Which jobs did you do before?

Flight Attendant Lenno: I started as a waiter; afterwards I worked as doorman in a club. Then I worked for the television, I took care of the guests in a talk show. This is where a graphic designer discovered me and trained me to become his assistant. I became an independent graphic designer, travelled a lot and moved back to Berlin at some point. I applied to be a Flight Attendant; they took me immediately because I had a lot of experience working with people and had traveling experience. Three weeks later I went to London for my training and seven weeks later I took my first flight as a Flight Attendant.

Are you satisfied with your job?

easyJet Flugzeugsmodelle

Flight Attendant Lenno: I love my job, it gives me a lot of satisfaction, but flying is very exhausting. In the air, the strain on the body is higher than on land, the pressure equalisation is not the same. There is less oxygen and the organism has to balance this out. It makes you tired. Work on board is not really exhausting. We have less service to do than Stewards have to do in classic airlines where the passengers get food, newspapers, pillows, etc. So it is easier to work for low-cost airlines.

What else do you have to do?

Flight Attendant Lenno: You help people with their luggage, if they are not able to reach the storage space, for example if they are old or too short.

Isn’t it difficult to be always polite?

Flight Attendant Lenno: Yes, it is! We have to deal with people who come from everywhere. That is not always easy. The average passengers turn into the vacation modus the moment they cross the airport gates. Due to added stress they are sometimes unable to cope thus something annoying for them happens, for example: their luggage is too heavy or they forgot to take expensive cosmetics out of their cabin luggage and they have to throw it away. So when they come on board, they are really irritated. If you cannot cope with this frustration, you have chosen the wrong job.

How many languages do you have to speak as a Flight Attendant?

Do you have to know the language of every destination you are flying to, for example if you fly to Italy or France?

Flight Attendant Lenno: The basic requirement is to know the language of your home airport. And English is necessary. Lessons and meetings are usually held in English. Of course it is always an advantage to speak as many languages as possible to interact with non-English speaking passengers. Most of the airlines pay a bonus for every foreign language you are able to speak.

Which languages do you speak?

Flight Attendant Lenno:I am fluent in German, English and Chinese. And I am really bad at French.

Flight Attendant, a dream job?

There was the cliché of being a Flight Attendant as a dream job, with great payment and great vacations…

Flight Attendant Lenno:It was indeed really well-paid. Being a steward and especially a stewardess was almost as highly regarded as being a model. It used to be really hard to get this job. But that has changed over the time. It has something to do with the fact that nowadays anti-discrimination laws exist that companies have to follow. Now it is enough to look decent and neat. There is a certain body height you cannot exceed or fall below, but that has to do with the construction of the airplane.

Do you sometimes experience fear while flying?

Flight Attendant Lenno: I have some colleagues that are a little bit insecure, especially while turbulence, because they might have experienced an aircraft decline and an injury in the past. You have to deal with this. Personally, I do not have any fear.

Safety precautions

Were you a Flight Attendant in 2001 during the terror attacks?

Flight Attendant Lenno: No, I wasn’t. I have been a flight attendant since 2005. In my opinion, flying is really safe, especially since the security controls were heightened after the attacks in 2001. I do not have any concerns about Europe. The standards there are really high and there are a lot of safety checks.

When you walk into an airplane and you see something suspicious, do you completely trust the previous safety checks?

Flight Attendant Lenno: It is part of my job to do the rounds in the airplane every time I step into it. You check every open space, look if something was left somewhere. If something seems suspicious, I report it to my superiors, and if there are any doubts left, a special team has to come.

To be socially involved

You are socially involved. What does it have to do with your job?

Flight Attendant Lenno: I believe compassion and involvement are a key point in every job in the service area. Who only works according to instructions does not have much fun at work. It is the personal contact, when you get involved with people that will make you stay in people’s minds. And maybe your company will stay in your mind as well. I am responsible for the feelings that the passengers have when they leave the plane.

Interview: Chloe, Clara, Dagmara, Emmanuelle, Julienne, Leopold, Natalia and Zoe
Drawings: Alica, Felix and Maxime
Translation: Alina Fetting
Text, drawings and photos: © Grand méchant loup | Böser Wolf 2015