Flight Service Supervisor Ellie Hosgood throughout regular occasions
The signature Vivienne Westwood look is out, dressing like a surgeon is in.
MailOnline Travel caught up with a stewardess from Virgin Atlantic for some perception into how totally different life within the skies is for the time being, and she or he revealed that at occasions it feels ‘like one thing out of a film’.
And it is not 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 aircraft (however does get to sleep in enterprise class) and that the pandemic has led to a fair nearer bond between crew members.
They’re classed as key employees and crew Dreamliners and Airbus A350s enterprise necessary cargo missions and offering connectivity for purchasers for whom travel is authorized – and important.
Reporting for obligation
Within the UK, Ellie’s day begins at Heathrow’s Terminal 3.
She stated: ‘These days no passengers are travelling by way of. The terminal is at the moment closed and can reopen as soon as travel reopens at scale, however within the meantime, we’ve got 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 group of crew who’ve retrained as Covid testers. Right here, we get examined earlier than each flight and look forward to our unfavourable check consequence earlier than we head over to Terminal 2 the place Virgin Atlantic is briefly flying from.
‘Strolling by way of a abandoned terminal is admittedly unusual, nevertheless it makes me much more excited to welcome extra clients onboard our planes sooner or later.’
Virgin Atlantic cabin crew are classed as key employees and workers Dreamliners and Airbus A350s enterprise necessary cargo missions and offering connectivity for purchasers for whom travel is authorized – and important. This image was snapped in Puerto Rico
Ellie (pictured) revealed that some international locations, similar to 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, stated: ‘Earlier than we board the plane, it undergoes rigorous cleansing the place each floor is wiped down and a course of known 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 executed 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 by way of my eyes and my mannerisms, while additionally listening very carefully as it may be laborious to listen to by way of 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 stated: ‘For some locations, similar to India, we’ve got to put on full PPE for boarding, which is certainly a change from our signature Vivienne Westwood look!’
Earlier than passengers board, the crew talk about the travel guidelines in place for his or her vacation spot.
Ellie receiving a pre-flight Covid check. She revealed that some crew members have retrained as virus testers. She’s pictured on the proper in her ‘commonplace’ pandemic attire, ready to greet clients onboard
Ellie stated: ‘We do our preflight briefing onboard the plane, speaking in regards to 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 totally different steering that modifications 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 changed barely, and we request clients board the plane in smaller teams, to restrict social contact as a lot as doable.
We have moved from taking folks on holidays of a lifetime to welcoming people who find themselves travelling for important and infrequently actually emotive causes, notably in the event that they’re returning house to go to a sick liked one
Ellie Hosgood, Virgin Atlantic
‘We often hand out in-flight packs that include toothpaste and socks, however we’ve got additionally launched a well being pack for all clients that accommodates 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 group provide a pared-down service, however there’s nonetheless free booze.
Ellie stated: ‘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 scorching meal service which reduces the quantity of contact we’ve got with our passengers, which many have stated 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 remains to be served in all of the cabins
The meal service is not the one factor that is changed. The flights at the moment are usually full of passengers experiencing very troublesome emotional conditions, so the crews have needed to recalibrate their interactions.
Ellie defined: ‘We have moved from taking folks on holidays of a lifetime to welcoming people who find themselves travelling for important and infrequently actually emotive causes, notably in the event that they’re returning house to go to a sick liked one.
‘Our crew have been phenomenal in recognising all of the distinctive conditions persons are discovering themselves in. The care and a spotlight I’ve seen has been outstanding and I actually consider 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 aircraft on the vacation spot earlier than returning a couple of hours later.
Ellie stated: ‘Sadly, biking throughout the Golden Gate Bridge, journeys to the Taj Mahal and procuring 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 infrequently looks like one thing from a film.
‘Nevertheless, we’re an adaptable bunch and these new experiences create such a singular, 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 at the moment are classed as “ultra-long-haul”, which implies we fly to the opposite aspect of the world, decide up important cargo and fly house once more with out getting off the aircraft,’ stated Ellie
Cargo flights are often crewed by two attendants, who get to mattress down in enterprise class
‘One factor that’s fully new for the reason that Covid pandemic hit is that on some flights, we could not have any passengers in any respect. Our cargo operation has elevated considerably up to now yr, 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 gear and we even obtained particular dispensation from the CAA to hold this valuable cargo within the cabins.
‘Seeing swathes of packing containers instead of smiling passengers positively feels odd, nevertheless it’s an actual privilege to know we’re supporting the NHS entrance traces by bringing important medical provides house.
‘We’re used to lengthy flight occasions, however a few of our cargo journeys at the moment are classed as “ultra-long-haul”, which implies we fly to the opposite aspect of the world, decide up important cargo and fly house once more with out getting off the aircraft.’
Ellie stated 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 aircraft, then flown again.
These flights, ‘the results of some revolutionary considering throughout the enterprise’ are ‘serving to us play our half within the struggle towards the pandemic’, stated Ellie.
They’re often crewed by two attendants who monitor the cabin, the cargo within the cabin, the galleys and the bathrooms, and who verify in on the pilots.
Ellie added: ‘The return sector is then for sleep and it is all the time a privilege to mattress down in one in all our Higher Class suites.
Throughout these ultra-long flights we get to see the dawn and sundown twice, which all the time 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 applied all through the final yr. From the start, our absolute focus has been to make sure all our clients fly protected and fly effectively and our onboard groups have performed a significant function in making this occur, doing so with that signature Virgin Atlantic aptitude we’re well-known for, albeit from behind a face masks!’