Tell us about yourself and how you began your journey as a Flight Attendant.
Hi, my name is Thomas and my Instagram account is: @Thomasvloog which translates to Thomas flew. Before I became a Flight Attendant I actually was a nervous flyer. Ironically, working with the KLM ticketing department I missed out on the staff travel. I challenged myself to take two flights by myself, one short-haul (AMS-EDI) and one long-haul (AMS-JFK). And only if I managed to do both, I would treat myself to a pretty awesome Rimowa cabin trolley I had my eyes on at the time. Boarding the 747 to New York I announced myself to the cabin crew and their attitude towards me, comforting me and encouraging opened my eyes to look beyond the glamour and romance of air travel. You need to be an authentic people person for this work to be rewarding. This appealed to me very much. So I applied. I got hired. And I’ve been up in the sky for 5 years. The contrast couldn’t be any bigger for a guy who used to travel with nausea and sweaty hands to an aviation professional who now assists passengers with a fear of flying. Since then my iconic German suitcase has accompanied me to destinations around the world. And every time I pack my bag I am remembered where I came from. Currently, I’m the proudest of my role as a teacher. All my progress and knowledge won’t go to waste teaching the next generation. Working as an Operator with KLM I meet my students working in all different areas of aviation is unbelievably fulfilling.
Name your top 5 favourite destinations.
My top 5 favourite travel destinations seems to have no logic behind it at all, but the destinations have one thing in common. Being away from what is familiar, which is also indicated as wanderlust.
Placed 5th on my list, I have Hamburg, meine Perle, which means, Hamburg my pearl. This is the catchphrase the locals use to indicate their love for their city. It’s Germany’s richest city and has a lot of similarities with my city of Amsterdam. Also, Finkenwerder Airport is located there. So all you avgeeks out there, I recommend to go and do an Airbus tour, now you can still see the A380 being assembled.
My number 4 destination is the Moroccan city of Nador. A harbor place, where the host will get you fish as fresh as can be and prepare it on the barbecue right in front of your eyes. Their hospitality truly invites you to open up to their culture. Also a ride in the taxi cab, which is incredibly tiny and tight in the back is a real adventure to drive through the old town.
The third destination on my list has to be visited when it’s snowing. Flying over the fjords to Kristiansund gives you awesome scenery. Can you imagine the photos you’ll take from above or while kayaking? Also, it is close to where Keiko, the Killer whale from Free Willy swam to, by himself to meet with humans and even allow children to take rides on his back.
Second on my list, is also the most touristic place you can visit. Viva Las Vegas. I have spent a lot of hours not sleeping while I had to and pinching myself on board trying to stay awake when the senior turned off the cabin lights. You can call me a sucker for the entertainment AMERICA style.
And then my number 1 destination is actually a destination I haven’t been yet. Which is Jakarta. As a baby I’m adopted from Indonesia being just 3 months old. Now, I’m trying to find my biological family. The search, unfortunately, has a lot of challenges. One of them is the lack of paperwork. And all paperwork that I DO own, might even be false. Also, taking blood tests to check the validity of claims of people who say they’re my family is an expensive investment. That’s actually the reason why I turned to Instagram. To broaden my network and find sponsors and support which can lead to finding my roots.
What advice can you give to aspiring Cabin Crew?
As a teacher in Aviation Services and as a trainer in Cabin Safety I have seen a lot of students who are passionate about becoming cabin crew. In my role as a mentor during internships, you could truly feel whether or not someone intrinsicly wanted to chase their flying dreams. My advice has always been: Better To Know It and Not Need It, Than Need It and Not Know It. So come prepared to a job interview, rehearse your commute to the location, know the history/present and future of the airline and last but not least, know exactly why you are THE best they could ever hire. Eventually, it doesn’t even matter what you say, but how you say it. And when you come prepared, you leave no doubt about your intentions, because it comes from within you.