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Crew Talk: Gladys Mbatha

As a cabin crew member, GLADYS MBATHA has been proud SAA ambassador for many years now. Here’s what inspires her…

It was not by default that, I became a cabin crew member, or an air-hostess, as previously known. It was a move inspired by my late grandmother – she travelled a lot and would always tell me wonderful stories of her experiences on-board with the “air-hostesses”. She had no idea that what she actually doing is inspiring my future career! I always wanted to travel the world, either by land, sea or air, but air travel was always a preferred way for me – it’s much faster, safer and offers such a wide variety of destinations.

WHAT I LOVE THE MOST ABOUT MY JOB…

The flexible working hours are great. With the flight schedule we have, it’s of course not your typical 8am to 4pm office-type job. It’s not routine, every flight is different, and I really appreciate that.

MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS ARE…

I have had the great pleasure of meeting a lot of wonderful passengers and had manv memorable moments on-board throughout my career, but the ones that really stands out are renowned motivational speaker and author Dr David Molapo and African icon – and the great Madiba’s widow – Mrs Graça Machel. Both are such amazing, humble people.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT TRAVELLING…

It’s the opportunity of seeing different destinations, hotels around the world and best of all, I get paid for it as part of my job! You also get to meet people from different cultures, ethnicities and religions. I think it also teaches one to recognise and celebrate the diversity in the human race and be tolerant of everyone.

As a cabin crew members, my colleagues and I are also committed to creating memorable experiences for our customers – both frequent and first-time flyers – and I also get enormous job satisfaction from that.

IT”S NOT ALL ABOUT FLYING THOUGH…

I’m also a make-up artist, I do face painting, and I’m a total sports fanatic! I love football – I’m a huge Orlando Pirates supporter, as well as Real Madrid in La Liga, and Arsenal in the English Premier League. A little unusual for a woman, I guess! I also follow athletics, tennis and cricket quite closely.

FAVOURITE INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS

There’s quite a few, but my favourites are New York and Accra.

NEW YORK

It literally is a city that never sleeps – so vibrant and alive with musical theatres and so many other entertainment options.

Favourite place: Eataly restaurant is a must. It’s a sprawling with the dining areas organized around meat/fish/pasta/vegetables food groups. It’s perpetually full and the Italian food is utterly delish!

ACCRA

Ghana offers very deep history, humble people and the food is particularly delicious.

Favourite place:

GRACE’S TOP TRAVEL TIPS

GET COMFORTABLE

Loose comfortable clothes are crucial for long flights – and remember, the aircraft can get a little too chilly for some, so pack a lightweight jacket or jersey too. I always pack a travel pillow too for extra sleep comfort.

BRING A GOOD BOOK

Watching the inflight entertainment is great but there are times where a good book is just as good! Besides, reading is also a good way of calming your mind and can help you get some sleep on a long flight.

PACK YOUR CHARGER

If you’re like me you probably have your life loaded on to your smartphone and laptop. Don’t forget to pack their chargers … and remember you may need a plug adaptor for the country you are visiting.

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

A no-brainer, obviously, but sometimes one does forget the most obvious! Make and keep copies too just in case your lose something. It makes life a lot easier when needing to organise emergency replacements.

SOME FOREIGN CURRENCY

You rarely need cash these days and you can pretty much use your bank cards all over the world (remember to let your bank know where you will be travelling or they may flag your transactions as “suspicious”). I still like to have a little of the local currency on me when I land though … you might want to buy a few small items straight away.

SANITISER AND WET WIPES

Because you don’t want to pick up any foreign bugs on your holiday!

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