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The flight attendant training as a pilot during the pandemic

The flight attendant training as a pilot during the pandemic

(CNN) — When Jordan Milano Hazrati was offered a job as a flight attendant with Virgin Atlantic, it was a dream come true. It was everything I’d ever wanted — I still can’t believe I did it,” she says. “I was sitting on the flight deck landing at Heathrow on my first flight, and I’ll never forget that view of the sunrise, and feeling so lucky I’d managed to do it. And the crew are the most amazing people — it was the people who did the job.”

Hazrati, who’d previously been a flight attendant for Jet2 in her native Manchester, relocated to London’s Heathrow airport in February 2020 to take up her dream job. But it wasn’t to be — eight months later; she became one of the many casualties of the crisis that hit the aviation sector. Many would have looked at an industry in crisis and walked away. But Hazrati has used the pandemic as a chance to play for the job she always wanted, deep down: that of a pilot.


Runway to the skies

Jordan Milano Hazrati lost her job after eight months as a Virgin Atlantic flight attendant.

Courtesy Jordan Hazrati

Hazrati can’t remember when she decided she wanted to fly. She started her career doing something different — she was a dancer performing in musicals.

“There were so many points that I thought. ‘Something’s not quite right,’ and I was always attracted to aviation,” she says. “But I never wanted to admit it, fearing the cost.” Learning to fly is notoriously expensive — and a “big obstacle,” she says, for those not from a wealthy background.

In 2017, two things happened: a change in her personal life meant she had a chance to take a leap career-wise, and her parents bought her a flying lesson for her birthday — “they knew how much I loved planes,” she says.

“As we descended the runway and took off, I was addicted. Ten seconds is all it took — the instructor said I would manage takeoff; I was terrified rolling down the runway, but I did it, got airborne — and got addicted. And that was it.

“We were looking down at where I went to university, at the M6 motorway I used to drive daily. I thought this was the perspective I needed for the rest of my life.

“When I came down, I said, ‘I’m going to do that.’ The big question, though, was how.”

She still couldn’t take the plunge, though. She says that learning to fly is a “lifelong commitment — it costs so much that you’ve always got to be sure this is the right path.

“It probably wasn’t until I was pushed by the redundancy that I realized I was sure. It came to the point where I thought, not only do I want to do this, but this is a perfect time.” So when the pandemic hit, while others were shoring up as much savings as possible, Hazrati did the opposite, pouring all the money she had into her dream of becoming a pilot.


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