Thuch Leakhena, 25, a flight attendant at Tonlesap Airlines, loves her job.
“I love travelling and I love something new - that’s why I wanted to be a flight attendant,” Leakhena said.
Leakhena has worked since 2007, but became a flight attendant in 2011. Her family lives in the city, but her work place is in Siem Reap, which means she doesn’t get to see her family too often.
“Being far away from home is not easy, but my family and I don’t see it as too much of a problem; I am happy to have this job, and my family is very proud, despite the fact I don’t get to see them much.”
Leakhena works three weeks out of four, and in the one week she has off, she usually spends it with her family.
She can speak three languages: Khmer, English and Japanese, which is crucial for her job.
“Flight attendants need to have excellent communication skills, especially in English because it is a universal language. The more languages you can speak, the better you are.
“Communication and smiling are very important when you are a flight attendant; you have to prepare and present your self in a professional manner. Looking after your body is also something that flight attendents need to be conscious of,” she said.
Before flying, Leakhena always prepares her clothes and gets a good night’s sleep as she has no time to sleep during the flight.
Just before the flight attendants board the plane, the airline staff have a brief meeting with them.
On the day of flying, she prepares herself and rushes to the aiport. Once she is on the plane and the passengers have boarded, she has to make sure everything on the plane complies with safety regulations.
She also checks up on passengers’ well-being.
“Between 15 and 20 minutes, I check that everything is OK; not only do I do that, but the other flight attendants do so as well,” she said.
When Leakhena is not flying, she spends her time relaxing and recuperating.
Her work hours are not regular; they follow whatever schedule the airline prepares for her. In one week, she can fly one or two times depending on the schedule and the country that she goes to.
Since she began the job, she has flown to South Korea, China, Vietnam and Thailand.
“When I do not fly, sometimes I stay at home and or I go to the office and read a guidebook or a book that relates to the trip so I can understand more,” Leakhena said.
Her first time flying was a little difficult as she was not used to it; she would feel dizzy and out of energy, but says she can fly without any hassles now.
“Some people say that working on a plane is taking a risk, but I think that it is the best job ever,” Leakhena said.
Leakhena graduated in 2010 in Hospitality and Tourism Management at the National University of Management.
“Flight attendants not only serve customers, but we have to take care of them and always look-out for their safety, ” Leakhena said.