Biokineticist turned cabin crew member taps into her onboard training and shares lockdown tips

Kirsten Duthie. Image supplied by Emirates
Kirsten Duthie. Image supplied by Emirates

Kirsten Duthie grew up in Knysna and completed an undergraduate degree in Sport Science and Honours degree in Biokinetics at Stellenbosch University. She worked at the Sport Science Institute of South Africa in Cape Town as a Biokineticist. 

Although she was passionate about her career, she had an unrelenting desire to live abroad, discovering new destinations, and learning about people and culture. 

This is how she would end up as an Emirates cabin crew member.

“I saw a Facebook advertisement that Emirates was recruiting cabin crew in South Africa and immediately applied. I went through the recruitment process and felt truly blessed when I received the Golden call of acceptance to join at the end of 2018,” she says.

READ MORE: This is how you should be washing your clothing and bedding in the thick of the coronavirus pandemic 

Kirsten has been flying with Emirates for just over a year and has been to different destinations including Asian countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, and India as well as Brazil, the Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Kenya.

selfcare, cabin crew, lockdown
Kirsten Duthie. All images supplied by Emirates


Having travelled so extensively, being confined to staying at home would take some creativity from someone like Kirsten to stay upbeat and entertained. 

Kirsten shares her tips on how to best remain healthy and happy during self-isolation by replicating onboard training at home: 

Acts of service towards others 

On board our purpose is to deliver the world’s best in-flight experience to our passengers. I am still applying this at home with my two flatmates, by staying positive and band together, similar to how we would on an aircraft.

Teamwork is one of the most important concepts we take on board as cabin crew and is crucial when preparing the cabin for passengers, conducting the safety and security check effectively, during meal services, assisting with medical cases and much more. At our apartment, we have created this similar sense of teamwork.

In essence, we all wake up at the same time, do the household chores, go for essential grocery shopping, cook meals and complete our online exercise classes together. This feeling of togetherness and teamwork makes each day more enjoyable.

READ MORE: Lockdown: If you live away from family you probably miss them - women on scents that 'smell like home'

Practising “We Care” at home 

Onboard after meal service, we conduct a “We Care” function in the cabin to ensure that our passengers are comfortable and safe. Our “We Care” service involves checking the cleanliness and safety of the cabin and lavatories, collecting anything that needs to be disposed of, as well as serving a round of drinks and answering any questions or requests passengers may have.

I find myself often conducting a “We Care” service in the apartment whether checking if my flatmates would like tea, coffee or beverages when I’m in the kitchen, walking through the apartment and seeing if anything needs a touch-up, from clearing up a table to taking out the trash. When I catch myself conducting a “We Care” service at home, I stop and laugh.

READ MORE: Love at first flight - How a drone and a bubble secured a date for this couple during quarantine

Adding a touch of glamour at home 

When I talk to my colleagues, there are many things we miss about operating flights. I particularly miss wearing my uniform, applying my makeup, and walking around the aircraft with a smile.

So, some mornings when I need a ‘pick me up,’ I’ll wear my pearl earrings or apply my favourite shade of red lipstick, which always makes me smile and reminds me of being on board. 

READ MORE: In Cape Town, Paris, New York and beyond – 5 must-see virtual fashion exhibitions as we lockdown

selfcare, cabin crew, lockdown

Getting enough sleep and adequately managing your rest - When doing a long-haul flight, we need to ensure that we are well rested before the trip and in the Crew Rest Compartment break onboard. This can be applied when staying at home by keeping a good sleeping pattern, which is essential to the success of your day. 

The busier you keep, the quicker the time passes - I always aim to keep myself busy at a quiet period on board by creating small things to do. The same is applied now – when I find myself sitting on the couch staring at the wall and saying ‘I’m bored” – I do something to change that. 

Getting to know colleagues and learning new things - There usually comes a time during a long-haul flight where passengers are sleeping, the meal service and “We Care” cycle has been completed and we are sitting in the galley together as a crew, staying alert in case our assistance is needed.

The best way to pass the time is to talk to the other crew and learn about each other, discuss layover tips, share stories and sometimes even learn about cultural differences or words in different languages. 

 Take home message: Be kind to others and be kind to yourself.

How have you made lockdown interesting? Share your ideas with us here.

Compiled by Nthabi Nhlapo. 

Information supplied by Emirates.

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