Crew Talk: Mikail Hansa

“There is a story in every journey,” says SAA‘s Senior Purser multi-award-winning Mikail Hansa. “Where one journey ends, another begins…”

My fascination with aviation and travel began during my first flight with SAA at the age of 12. The entire experience, from the hospitality of the cabin crew to the imparting of knowledge on the theory of flight by the captain, along with discovering and exploring a new destination and different cultures, inspired me to pursue a career within the airline industry.

The first step to realising my dream of travelling the world and becoming a “global citizen” was obtaining a degree in tourism management from UNISA. I further attained a pilot’s (PPL) licence at 43 Air School.



What I Love Most About The Job Is…

The unusual, flexible and dynamic “office” environment: I work at an altitude of 41 000 feet, travelling at 850 km/h, crossing multiple time zones in a 70 metre-long aluminium tube that contains 80 tons of fuel, with approximately 300 guests for dinner that stay on for breakfast the next morning.

Every flight brings together a multi-cultural and unique team of dedicated and professional individuals, with the common goal of guest safety and service excellence.

In addition, my travels around the globe have given me the opportunity to experience different cultures and capture breathtaking images as part of my photojournalism journey.

Making a difference in someone’s life is rewarding – you could be attending to a first-time flyer, a frequent flyer, an unaccompanied minor, a nervous flyer, or a guest that has special requirements.



Most Memorable Moment On Board

The pleasure of meeting influential individuals and celebrities is a definite perk, but it is the personal interaction with every guest that makes each flight magical and distinctive in its own way.

One moment that will be etched on my mind as a defining one in my career, is being thanked by the family of a guest who collapsed in the aisle during descent, and being recognised by the paramedics for performing life-saving CPR.

The world-class emergency medical training that we receive at SAA gave me the confidence to react and respond effectively and efficiently.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

What I Love About Travel

For me, travelling the world is an institution of learning that humbles one’s perspective and makes one appreciative of the level of freedom we have.

It allows me to step outside my comfort zone, experience new adventures, eat exotic food, witness awe-inspiring sites, and interact with exceptional people from different religious and cultural backgrounds.

I often find that journeying with loved ones enhances the travel experience. As a photojournalist, capturing, documenting, writing, and sharing my travels is as important as the journey itself.



When I Am Not Flying, I… 

… work as a freelance photojournalist with contributions that have appeared in Sawubona, Sunday Times and other national newspapers and magazines. I have also been interviewed for various television broadcasters, including CNN, related to my community-outreach programme.

I combined my passion for photography with the need to assist underdeveloped and underprivileged communities by founding a non-profit organisation called Focus on Education.

One of the highlights of my photojournalism journey was being asked to be the official photographer for the SAA Nelson Mandela Day events and capturing Tata Madiba’s 92nd birthday at his home.

I have furthered my penchant for knowledge by obtaining a degree in public relations management from UNISA, a digital-photography certificate from UCT, among others, and continue to seek knowledge and further my education.