Flight Service Supervisor Ellie Hosgood throughout regular instances
The signature Vivienne Westwood look is out, dressing like a surgeon is in.
MailOnline Journey caught up with a stewardess from Virgin Atlantic for some perception into how completely different life within the skies is in the meanwhile, and she or he revealed that at instances it feels ‘like one thing out of a film’.
And it isn’t simply because she generally has to cowl her Westwood-designed uniform with PPE.
Flight Service Supervisor Ellie Hosgood, 37, reveals how colleagues have retrained as Covid testers, that she generally flies to the opposite aspect of the world and again with out getting off the airplane (however does get to sleep in enterprise class) and that the pandemic has led to an excellent nearer bond between crew members.
They’re classed as key staff and crew Dreamliners and Airbus A350s enterprise vital cargo missions and offering connectivity for purchasers for whom journey is authorized – and important.
Reporting for responsibility
Within the UK, Ellie’s day begins at Heathrow’s Terminal 3.
She mentioned: ‘These days no passengers are travelling via. The terminal is presently closed and can reopen as soon as journey reopens at scale, however within the meantime, we now have repurposed our Higher Class Wing as our personal Covid testing centre for cabin crew and pilots.
‘We go to the empty terminal earlier than departure the place we’re greeted by a small crew of crew who’ve retrained as Covid testers. Right here, we get examined earlier than each flight and anticipate our unfavourable take a look at outcome earlier than we head over to Terminal 2 the place Virgin Atlantic is briefly flying from.
‘Strolling via a abandoned terminal is absolutely unusual, however it makes me much more excited to welcome extra clients onboard our planes sooner or later.’
Virgin Atlantic cabin crew are classed as key staff and workers Dreamliners and Airbus A350s enterprise vital cargo missions and offering connectivity for purchasers for whom journey is authorized – and important. This image was snapped in Puerto Rico
Ellie (pictured) revealed that some nations, reminiscent of India, require crew to put on full PPE
Earlier than boarding, the plane is given a virus-zapping cleanse.
Ellie, who has been with Virgin Atlantic for 18 years, mentioned: ‘Earlier than we board the plane, it undergoes rigorous cleansing the place each floor is wiped down and a course of referred to as ‘fogging’ takes place. That is the place the plane is cleaned with a hospital-grade spray to make sure 99.9 per cent of any potential micro organism or viruses are killed. That is finished earlier than each departure in any respect airports we function from, which helps reassure us as a lot because it does our clients.
‘We should put on a masks as quickly as we’re within the airport, and we put on them all through our flight. That is positively a problem because it makes speaking with our clients a bit troublesome. Virgin Atlantic crew are famend for his or her heat smiles and welcoming personalities, however now our passengers cannot see our faces!
‘I’ve actually labored on conveying my feelings via my eyes and my mannerisms, while additionally listening very carefully as it may be arduous to listen to via the masks over the noise of the engines.’
Ellie, who lives in Pullborough, West Sussex, revealed that for some flights her look is extra medical than flight attendant.
She mentioned: ‘For some locations, reminiscent of India, we now have to put on full PPE for boarding, which is unquestionably a change from our signature Vivienne Westwood look!’
Earlier than passengers board, the crew focus on the journey guidelines in place for his or her vacation spot.
Ellie receiving a pre-flight Covid take a look at. She revealed that some crew members have retrained as virus testers. She’s pictured on the best in her ‘normal’ pandemic attire, ready to greet clients onboard
Ellie mentioned: ‘We do our preflight briefing onboard the plane, speaking concerning the flight forward, any particular necessities for the flight and the processes and procedures within the vacation spot we’re flying to. Every vacation spot has completely different steerage that adjustments on a regular basis, so we have to be certain the crew are all conscious and assured of the restrictions. We then welcome clients onboard. The boarding course of has modified barely, and we request clients board the plane in smaller teams, to restrict social contact as a lot as potential.
We have moved from taking individuals on holidays of a lifetime to welcoming people who find themselves travelling for important and sometimes actually emotive causes, notably in the event that they’re returning residence to go to a sick liked one
Ellie Hosgood, Virgin Atlantic
‘We often hand out in-flight packs that comprise toothpaste and socks, however we now have additionally launched a well being pack for all clients that incorporates medical-grade face masks, anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitiser. Clients are required to put on face masks all through the flight, and we offer wipes and santiser for their very own consolation and peace of thoughts all through the journey. Suggestions from clients on how we maintain them protected and wholesome all through the journey with us has been very optimistic.’
As soon as the flight is underway, Ellie and her crew supply a pared-down service, however there’s nonetheless free booze.
Ellie mentioned: ‘Because the Covid pandemic struck, we have completely redesigned our meal companies to assist maintain our clients and us protected. As a short lived measure, we’re now providing a simplified sizzling meal service which reduces the quantity of contact we now have with our passengers, which many have mentioned they discover reassuring.
‘We maintain updating our tasty meals providing and we’re nonetheless providing our buyer’s favorite Eric Lanlard afternoon tea alongside complimentary alcohol in all cabins.’
Ellie revealed that service is now pared down, however complimentary alcohol continues to be served in all of the cabins
The meal service is not the one factor that is modified. The flights are actually typically stuffed with passengers experiencing very troublesome emotional conditions, so the crews have needed to recalibrate their interactions.
Ellie defined: ‘We have moved from taking individuals on holidays of a lifetime to welcoming people who find themselves travelling for important and sometimes actually emotive causes, notably in the event that they’re returning residence to go to a sick liked one.
‘Our crew have been phenomenal in recognising all of the distinctive conditions individuals are discovering themselves in. The care and a spotlight I’ve seen has been outstanding and I actually imagine these clients will bear in mind us for a very long time. It is these connections which have actually stored us going all through the pandemic.’
Instagram moments on maintain
The crew have additionally needed to adapt to their downtime being much less glamorous and adventurous. And generally flying cargo-only operations that imply remaining on the airplane on the vacation spot earlier than returning a number of hours later.
Ellie mentioned: ‘Sadly, biking throughout the Golden Gate Bridge, journeys to the Taj Mahal and purchasing in New York are distant recollections for now, as in some locations we’re required to remain in our resort and even in our rooms. It is a unusual feeling and sometimes looks like one thing from a film.
‘Nevertheless, we’re an adaptable bunch and these new experiences create such a novel, sturdy bond between us all. It is also given me a brand new appreciation for my job and seeing the world. I am unable to wait to have the ability to discover once more, particularly our new locations of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Pakistan.
Our cargo flights
‘A few of our cargo journeys are actually classed as “ultra-long-haul”, which implies we fly to the opposite aspect of the world, choose up very important cargo and fly residence once more with out getting off the airplane,’ mentioned Ellie
Cargo flights are often crewed by two attendants, who get to mattress down in enterprise class
‘One factor that’s utterly new for the reason that Covid pandemic hit is that on some flights, we might not have any passengers in any respect. Our cargo operation has elevated considerably up to now 12 months, and to many locations we’re working cargo-only companies. We function as one or two cabin crew members onboard for security causes. Now we have additionally operated some particular charters for the Division of Well being and Social Care carrying important PPE and medical tools and we even acquired particular dispensation from the CAA to hold this treasured cargo within the cabins.
‘Seeing swathes of containers instead of smiling passengers positively feels odd, however it’s an actual privilege to know we’re supporting the NHS entrance strains by bringing very important medical provides residence.
‘We’re used to lengthy flight instances, however a few of our cargo journeys are actually classed as “ultra-long-haul”, which implies we fly to the opposite aspect of the world, choose up very important cargo and fly residence once more with out getting off the airplane.’
Ellie mentioned that she had crewed cargo flights to Shanghai and Hong Kong, which took round 11 hours, spent two to 3 hours on the bottom contained in the airplane, then flown again.
These flights, ‘the results of some progressive pondering throughout the enterprise’ are ‘serving to us play our half within the combat in opposition to the pandemic’, mentioned Ellie.
They’re often crewed by two attendants who monitor the cabin, the cargo within the cabin, the galleys and the bogs, and who verify in on the pilots.
Ellie added: ‘The return sector is then for sleep and it is at all times a privilege to mattress down in one in every of our Higher Class suites.
Throughout these ultra-long flights we get to see the dawn and sundown twice, which at all times feels fairly particular.’
Corneel Koster, Chief Buyer and Operations Officer, Virgin Atlantic, commented: ‘I am so happy with our cabin crew who’ve tailored effortlessly to a much-changed operation and to the rigorous, multi-layered well being and security measures we have carried out all through the final 12 months. From the start, our absolute focus has been to make sure all our clients fly protected and fly nicely and our onboard groups have performed a significant position in making this occur, doing so with that signature Virgin Atlantic aptitude we’re well-known for, albeit from behind a face masks!’