As Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew pays a visit to the Kenwood Travel offices, we ask if life with the airline really is as glamorous as we think.
You must have seen a Virgin Atlantic advert. Even if you haven’t, even if you don’t own a TV you’d probably be able to guess it was Virgin Atlantic within a few seconds of airing. You can’t mistake that look: beautiful flight attendants in vibrant red uniforms and chisel-jawed pilots, sauntering through airport concourses and across aircraft wings to the delighted gasps of onlookers. Surely life at Virgin Atlantic isn’t really that glamorous, is it?
“You know what? I think it is. Yeah, definitely.”
Virgin Atlantic Cabin Service Supervisor Tonya Baca has been with the airline for over a decade. Herself and colleagues dropped into Kenwood Travel Towers the other day to meet the team. And to serve us some Pepsi in that inimitable style only Virgin Atlantic Cabin Crew can pull off. True to form, might we add, this proved particularly timely as the morning’s coffee hit was beginning to wear off.
Indeed, the offices were beginning to feel a little like the adverts. Intrigued, we jumped at the chance to quiz Tonya on what life’s really like working for Virgin Atlantic.
“Great lifestyle, great company and you get a lot out of it as well. I just love meeting all the different people everyday – different crew and different passengers. It’s fun, they’re innovative, and they fly some amazing routes. As crew you get to fly all of the routes so you get to see everywhere in the world.”
So with a whole world to choose from, where is Tonya’s favourite destination?
“Cape Town. It has everything: the vineyards, Table Mountain – you can walk up there if you have the energy or fitness – the bay, the beach, and the waterfront, where it gets a bit more touristy. They have fabulous restaurants over there and great nightlife in the bars and clubs. It’s got everything there in one place, and it is stunning, absolutely beautiful, I would definitely recommend someone to go there.”
Which would seem an appropriate time to tell you you can find holidays to Cape Town with Kenwood Travel here.
What is it that makes Virgin Atlantic different from other airlines?
“I think it’s their fun outlook. They try and instil Virgin flair in us and I think that shows in the crew we have, also in the uniform as well. It’s never your standard navy blue. It is standout and the new one will be even more so; it’s quite different. It was designed by Vivienne Westwood.”
That’s right, an uber-hip new uniform is set to come out next year, and presumably that means we get a new advert?
“Yeah, I’d imagine so! At the moment we’re trialling and I’m one of the people trialling it. I had to wear the old uniform today, but I trial the new one for 3 months. It involves testing wearability and comfort, how it washes and dry-cleans and how it works for our job.”
With the hours involved and maintain that advert-ready look, you’d presume this is a job that can wear one down, but does Tonya encounter much stress from passengers?
“Actually no, not really. Stress from passengers is few and far between. Obviously we try and turn that around on board, but I haven’t had many incidents to be honest. I’m one of the lucky ones!”
So, no stress, great staff, friendly and innovative company, and Vivienne Westwood uniforms. Does a job get any more genuinely glam?
“You never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes we have celebrities on board. One that really stands out is Matt Damon. And he was such a down-to-earth guy as well. We didn’t even know he was coming on board; normally we get a heads-up. But on this flight he just walked on. I had to do a double take!
“I was in the aisle serving boarding drinks and he came on with his family. I just thought: ‘wait, did Matt Damon just walk past me?’”