ROLLING WITH THE HIGH FLIERS
Name: KIRSTEEN CRUICKSHANK
Job title: PRODUCT DELIVERY AND CHARTER LIAISON MANAGER
Company: BMI REGIONAL
WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE?
My job focuses on customer experience; from the food on-board to cabin
crew I make sure that anyone who flies with bmi regional experiences the highest level of service.
This means that my role covers a wide variety of aspects including choosing catering for the flights. For our on-board catering we work closely with local suppliers wherever possible.
We recently started working with BrewDog, making us the only airline which has BrewDog on board, so that’s been really exciting.
Although based in Aberdeen, I provide support across all of our bases, including Sweden and Germany. At the start of this year we opened a base in Munich so I was over there meeting catering companies.
As well as responsibility for catering I am responsible for cabin crew, who fill in flight reports every day that I review. With bmi regional operating over 300 flights a week this can keep me very busy, but it is crucial to our customer service that I am aware of everything that’s going on on-board.
As well as covering flights to 22 destinations across Europe, we deliver a number of charter flights. For these I work to deliver exactly what the client wants on-board and I sometimes fly as cabin crew for them as well. In terms of who we deliver charters for; we work with the majority of the English premier league football teams.
We also work with a range of companies such as car manufacturers. We charter flights for them to take journalists across to test drive the new cars. For flights like that we have VIP catering on-board which include three course meals served on china plates.
We have also flown charters for a number of musicians including tours for The Killers and Depeche Mode.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER?
I had always wanted to be cabin crew because the travelling involved in the job really appealed to me.
When I left school, I worked as a gardener but I continued to want to be cabin crew and decided to make my dream a reality and moved to Spain where I worked with a holiday company.
I worked as guest manager, which was mainly a customer-service role and I was on-call 24 hours a day dealing with any issues which might arise,
from outbreaks of illness to building work issues. I then moved jobs to
work for an airline as cabin crew.
After six and half years flying cabin crew from Spain, I decided I wanted to move back to the UK. I had always wanted to work for bmi regional and when I was on a bmi flight one day I decided to take the chance and ask if they needed crew, and they did. I flew as crew for a year and then moved to my current role as product delivery charter liaison manager. The job appealed to me because it was a bit more challenging but still gave me the chance to fly if I wanted to.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF YOUR JOB?
My favourite part is the travel; you get to travel to places that you wouldn’t normally go to. But also trying out all the new food is fantastic. I have probably travelled more extensively in my new role than I did when I was cabin crew as I get to go to the bases in Germany and Sweden. It’s also my job to do assessments of cabin crew so I can be stationed at any of the 22 airports that bmi regional flies from.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE YOU HAVE TRAVELLED TO?
One place which stands out for me was the Faroe Islands. It’s somewhere that I would otherwise never have had the opportunity to visit. I went as part of a football tournament with a team from Croatia, HNK Rijeka. I also really enjoy travelling to Munich; I am currently learning German, so I love visiting and getting to practise.
Also, when I am there, it is local people I am working with so I get to visit places you wouldn’t see normally and it’s interesting to see how they work over there. It’s a completely different work culture.
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST WAY TO MOTIVATE PEOPLE?
As part of my role I am responsible for the cabin crew on-board bmi regional flights, I work closely with them resolving any issues which they may have and ensuring that our high standard of service is delivered across all of our aircraft.
In order to ensure this, I want the crew to enjoy their jobs and to feel like they can come to me with any issues or concerns, therefore, I think you have to be approachable and friendly. I think that is the best way to get the most from your staff.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ANYONE LOOKING TO WORK AS CABIN CREW OR IN A ROLE SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU DO NOW?
I think you have to keep persevering. Jobs like the one I have now aren’t roles that come up very often but just keep sending in your CV and keep looking at what’s advertised.
Look beyond the traditional places too; lots of companies are advertising on social media now so look everywhere. Keep updating your CV and get any customer service experience you can. But I think what is probably most important if you want to be cabin crew is good common sense and situational awareness.
You can be on the aircraft on your own and you need to not only pay attention to what you are doing at the time but be aware of everything going on about you.
You are the one who has to deal with any issues or emergencies on board so you have to be aware of what’s happening all the time. But if it is something you want to do I would say go for it, it really is a great career choice, you get to travel a lot and meet lots of different people.