Conversations With A Flight Attendant: Selvarani Naidoo

Kindly tell us about yourself and what inspired you to become a flight attendant?

My name is Selvarani Naidoo, born in Durban, South Africa. I became a flight attendant in order to earn money to complete my studies. My cousin mentioned to me that South African Airways, was recruiting cabin crew, I applied and got the job. After joining the airline and becoming a flight attendant, thatis when I became fascinated with the aviation industry and my passion for travel was ignited.  27 years and a few months later I’m still in the airline.

Which airline (airlines) have you worked for? 

I have only worked for South African Airways. I started on 13 March 1995, and am still with South African Airways.

Being a flight attendant means spending a lot of time away from family and friends. How do you maintain healthy relationships with your loved ones while traveling?

Keeping in touch and staying in touch with my loved ones is easier now that technology has advanced. Effective communication helps with maintaining healthy relationships. My family and friends are aware of my schedule and they are extremely understanding that my job, is different from working 9to5.


Which countries do you like traveling to? 

New York City(USA) is my favourite… from the hustle and bustle of the city to the shopping, sight seeing, Broadway Shows, museums… it has such a vast range of things to do and places to see. It’s my all time favourite place in the world.
I enjoy London, (UK), for the fashion, Germany for the Vegan food and toiletries. And Mumbai for Indian fashion and food.

What advice would you give to someone new in this industry?

My advise to newcomers to the Industry is, to keep an open mind. Go out and explore a new city/country. Don’t sit in Your rooms when overseas. One grows in all aspects of life, when You are in the aviation industry. You become confident and sensitised to other cultures and languages. The industry is dynamic and continuously evolving for the better. Embrace it.


What was the hardest thing you experienced in your career as a flight attendant? 

The most difficult experience this far, for me was Covid 19. It changed the face of the Aviation Industry and Travel. For me it taught me not to take anything for granted and to make the most of the present. Don’t have regrets. When travelling go catch a show or eat at a Michelin Star restaurant… that opportunity may not come around again.


What skill do you think is the most important for someone who is working as a flight attendant? 

Most important skill is Effective Communication… it goes a long way in making Your work environment pleasant, having a healthy career and a balanced life. Setting health boundaries with colleagues, friends and family also assists… rest is important as a flight attendant. Loved ones understand when You explain to me them that You are tired or away on a flight… that is why You are sometimes not available…


How would you respond to a customer who was refusing to follow rules and regulations on a flight? (Like unbuckling the seat belt during takeoff)

Being Firm, Consistent and not compromising of safety, goes a long way.  They comply when we all speak the same language onboard the aircraft… there are no grey areas.


What are the most common misconceptions about being a flight attendant?

The most common misconception is that Flight Attendants are not intelligent… however many of us are very accomplished intellectually.


Tell us about your best memory of being a flight attendant?

My best and favourite memory as a flight attendant, was walking the streets of New York City… I felt like I was in a movie. The experience will always be unforgettable for me.
My second best was watching snow fall for the first time, in Frankfurt,  Germany, it gave me goosebumps from the sheer beauty of the sight.

Being a flight attendant, for me is the best Career.  I love the lifestyle and the travel and I was able to develop myself, further in the Aviation Industry.

Thank You .

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