Despite the title of this post, I have been doing anything but “lounging”! However, I have been working in the respective Lounges at work since completing my buddy training a few weeks ago. It is a promotion of sorts- helping out my colleagues “upstairs” whilst others are on leave. This was quite unexpected as I hadn’t received much notice that I would be learning new skills (I applied in December! That’s airlines for you!) but it was a welcome change nonetheless. I’m not saying that working on the floor isn’t fun too (it is!) but it can more than often be very fast paced and there isn’t much time for valuable interactions with our passengers. Now, I have more resources, and more time to try and brighten everyone’s day, and make their work trips/ flights/ holidays more enjoyable before they even set foot onto the aircraft!
So, you might be wondering…what exactly do I do? Basically, I am a very polite and informative Host (bouncer)/check in agent. I welcome members and guests into the clubs, answer any queries about seating/flight transfers/upgrades/ the weather/ towels…you would be surprised at the questions that we are often asked!
I also monitor all of the incoming and outgoing flights, make announcements (PA’s) regarding these and basically monitor the general ambience of the lounges… right down to the height of the blinds, the positioning of furniture and the experience of everyone inside. It might not sound too difficult, but I am certainly kept busy helping everyone out, granting access and calling flights, especially when there are unfortunate delays and other mishaps. It is unbelievably busy in peak times, and pleasantly steady at other times of the day. I feel like I have a whole new job now every time I come to work, there so so much to do, see, learn and test! Seeing a few well known “famous” faces is always interesting, too!
As staff it is important to know what is on the menu to be able to recommend this to customers. So far I have tried some amazing rare fruit, including pepper berries, finger limes and not to mention our world- famous pizza from the only lounge in the network that makes it onsite, from scratch! Thankfully I have only sampled on a need-to basis and not every shift, otherwise I might need a new set of uniforms…
A nice perk is being able to have a barista-made coffee on my lunch break (if I am lucky!) and sometimes a nice little breakfast every now and then too. As per usual, this post has been centered around food (not intentional, I am not even hungry! I actually just had a piece of Honeycake), but my main aim with this post was to update everyone with what I’ve been doing work-wise! Also, if you are ever at an airport and you need to find something/someone.. ASK! You would be amazed at how knowledgeable both Cabin Crew/ Ground Staff (and lounge agents!) are, not to mention how helpful we might (should) be!
A few helpful hints/reminders when entering the general vicinity of the airport
NEVER LEAVE YOUR BAGS UNATTENDED! Ever.
Security will be called, the AFP might be called. It will be removed and you will have some explaining to do and possibly miss your flight or worse. It is a security threat, and if you are too late to check in bags for your flight, you more than likely will be taken off and put on the next one. You CANNOT voluntarily travel without your bags, and just leaving them chilling in there terminal is a no no!
2. Observe Rules/ Regulations/ Pay Attention
It is good (and time saving) idea to pay attention to the prompts when you check-in online. I see at least 5 people per shift that have selected “yes” to carrying Dangerous Goods when they in fact where just in a hurry to get back to Instagram and not reading what the website said. (True Story) This could be the difference between smooth sailing/ missing your flight if it is peak hour at the airport! Rules are important too. Always check websites/ call the airline if you are travelling with anything out of the ordinary. Fun fact: Hover boards aren’t permitted to carry as checked in or carry on baggage, under International Civil Aviation Organisation laws. Always observe restrictions for liquids/gels for international flights, and perhaps the most obvious thing…VISAS!
3. Check the Visa/ Immigration Requirements
Make sure you check the visa requirements for where you are travelling to, always travel with a valid (for more than 6 months) passport, photocopies of it (if it gets stolen) and keep all receipts/ screenshots of purchasing Visas. For all of the Aussies out there planning a Canadian Adventure, you will now need to have an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to enter Canada (even if you are passing through!!), much like a US ESTA (visa waiver). They can only be purchased from the Australian Department Of Immigration and Border Protection and Department of Homeland Security websites and cost approximately $14 and $20 respectively. Anything costing more than this and you are most likely handing your credit card details over to a scam website that will charge you $99 and you still won’t have a valid visa for travel 🙁
Also dress codes are important. No one likes to refuse entry or be refused into the lounges, but we are just doing our jobs! With my airline, you only need to be wearing some form of shoes to be accepted for travel. For the Lounges, a smart casual dress code is to be respected, which means no beachwear (thongs of either variety- flip flops or otherwise, bathers, board shorts) and no sleep wear. No ugg boots, no slippers, no full gym wear just sweaty from a work out! It is to provide a premium and consistent experience that we have to observe dress codes…plus if I have to wear dressy shoes to work then everyone else should leave their Uggies at home too! 😉
As always, I’ve found being polite and courteous will get you everywhere in life (plane, train, work or otherwise!) and I am really enjoying welcoming so many new and regular faces into the Lounges in my new role. I have even had my palm read, complied a new reading list and have about 1000 TED talks to watch thanks to the recommendations from guests!
If anyone needs me that’s what I’ll be doing on my days off! Or playing with puppies! I’m looking forward to going on Leave in a month or so (destination: Melbourne) and welcoming my longtime long distance friend Francesca back to Perth!
As always, fly safe and smart!