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Frequently asked questions and answers from passengers just like you!

Camden Market is a Daily Delight, in England: Day trips around London

Camden Market is open daily and is literally at Camden tube station, in England. This past spring mimicked summer so well that Brits and tourists alike only wanted to congregate outdoors. It is a pedestrian friendly and picturesque market. One of many day trips that can be enjoyed just outside of London and with a simple tube ride to spring cherry blossoms, bridges, locks, artsy goods, handmade items, a slightly hippy vibe and a beet-quinoa veggie burger which was delicious! The food stalls remind me of an international caravan of flavours claiming to be the once shunned, now celebrated, street eats of the world. I purchased my red patent dock marten boots here two years ago and enjoyed documenting my experiences. How you perceive this market can differ from moment to moment. Wandering alone this time throughout the market I was not lonely. Curious by nature, the photos made great souvenirs of a day well spent.

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Blog Statement

I release any airline mentioned in this blog of any liability, including Air Transat and it’s competitors, and all other airlines. I am simply sharing my own personal travel, eating, venturing, attending events, concerts, classes and modelling experiences in a positive light and with enthusiasm. I do not represent anyone, I simply record my travels and findings of many marvelous places around the world which I have stepped foot in. I believe it is my freedom of speech. Any information found here is for reading pleasure and a record of historical itineraries that others may enjoy reading about. By discussing trips and travels I in no way represent anyone, any organization and can not be held responsible for any liability as I don’t insist you travel. I can only encourage us all to explore this world inside, and out. We are all free to choose our experiences and read freely. Thanks, and may the force be with you as your journey onward!20160713_1654261

 

 

Festival of Inner Lights, Burlington December 9th, 2017 from 2-4pm-FREE Admission

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On Saturday December 9th, 2017 please join us at the Art Gallery of Burlington for the Festival of Inner Lights happening between 2-4pm. The Art Gallery is on Lakeshore rd., across from Spencer’s Restaurant and Spencer Smith Park, and the Shoreline room is near the front entrance facing the lake. A dynamic and heart warming event about Yoga Connection, igniting the spark we all have inside to bring back more joy and peace into our lives. This is a family friendly event which includes a guided meditation for Mother Earth we can all participate by sitting in a chair or on the floor in you prefer. Children love to meditate with us!

The word Sahaja in Sanskrit, a very ancient mother language, means “spontaneous” and “born within.” Through a simple guided meditation and just a few seconds of a method known as “thoughtless awareness,” the life force that lies dormant is awakened and can be verified scientifically by each person. The Yoga state can be achieved and felt as a cool river or cool breeze on the hands as it rises along the spine as well as the central nervous system (enlightening the nerves) like the sap that nourishes the tree of life we all have within. At this point we go from being collectively unconscious to collectively conscious human beings. We become aware of a new dimension to our lives. We get connected to the mains and a new reality enlightens our path.

Sahaja Yoga offers the actualization of attaining the Yoga state, also known as moksha, nirvana, enlightenment or simply connection. The poster is an unretouched photograph of pure energy that is awakened from within through Sahaja Yoga methods. Many people who have experienced getting what is known as their “self-realization” have experienced positive, transformational life journeys that will be shared.  The energy feels wonderful, no experience necessary, just come with an open heart and mind.

Expect Youth Ambassadors to inspire your family, listen to a magical flute, watch a creative dance performance, enjoy drums and music from around the globe that will wrap this season up in pure love for community, diversity, brother-sisterhood and positive energy. Please join us and spread the word about this Festival that celebrates our Inner Lights. Please visit and like our articles for more information at http://www.free-meditation.ca/archives/23047

 

 

Doctor Seminar on the Benefits of Sahaja Yoga Meditation Sunday November 12, 2017 Winnipeg-Always Free

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Cruise Deals and Cheaper Flight Tips from Flight Attendants

Flight Attendant Style, by Paula Erskine

Flight Attendants Know The Best Deals, photo and article by Paula Erskine


No one will give more of an honest answer than flight attendants when it comes to getting a great travel deal. After polling several of my colleagues,
here are the top tips:

1. If you are a Canadian looking for a deal, know that Americans do not travel on their Thanksgiving weekend, it is a big family holiday, and they like staying home and getting together. Canadians can take advantage as we celebrate Thanksgiving on a different weekend than our Southern neighbors. All you’ll have to do is make your way down to Florida, and flights at that time may be cheap as well out of major airports such as Toronto or even consider cross border flights from Buffalo or Niagara. Americans can likely save on Canadian Thanksgiving holidays, however, in the U.S. it seems to be a much bigger deal and much bigger population that is not travelling around. Maybe some Americans will reconsider travel on these dates, hopefully not too many…Shhhh…let’s keep it our Canadian secret.

2. Are you ok with basic cruising like a pool, but very unusual ports of call? Why not try booking yourself on a cargo ship? Cargo ships have a skeleton staff,can provide the same food they feed their staff, and usually a pool. This is no frills, and if you are not bothered about a particular time frame and can go away sometimes for up to 3-6 months or less. A colleague of mine knows of a couple who bonded with the crew over several months, the husband brought books to read and the wife, her knitting. She ended up knitting sweaters for the crew, and they were treated like family. Remember, if you want to make friends, you have to be someone you’d like to hang out with. The advantage is, ports of call you would never normally see on your average cruise. Plus from what I remember, it was about $6,000 but for about 6 months, now that is cheap living!

3. If you are a flight attendant friend, you can try booking through Dargal which services airline staff and their friends. Usually the flight attendant must accompany you on your vacation, but in very few instances, a deal can be extended to friends. It always depends on the flexibility of the patron and the season. If you are leaving during March break, your price will reflect a high demand. This year, due to a particularly harsh winter, there are very few airline/cruise deals, as everyone is desperate for a sunny escape. In fact, some airlines are adding destinations and multiple flights to their usual sunny destinations just to satisfy the demand.Keep an eye out in the newspapers and online for deals. A travel agent can keep a close watch for you so you don’t have to stress about it. Never give up, but be flexible.But don’t call if your not a flight attendant, identification is required to be faxed and/or letter of employment. You can likely view some of their deals online without a problem. Two years ago, I tried to get a cruise deal for my dad, and due to the single supplement requirement, found that booking a resort was cheaper than booking a cruise, and that was through Expedia.

4. Get yourself an email just for coupons and registrations. Now register for the major cruise lines. You agree to receive their updates and newsletters, and when that deal gets sent out, you will be ready to pounce on it! Disney is a great one to register for. After awhile, you will notice which times of year they start dropping prices. Also, when cruises are not sold out, they will start emailing out the deals. Start a few months early to get an idea of the prices and inclusions. Some cruises do not include airfare, but have no fear, especially if you live near the border of Canada and U.S. I have it on good authority, that when Torontos airports or Hamilton do not provide a compatible flight, Niagara and Buffalo in the U.S. can fill in the deficit. Spirit Airlines, operating out of Niagara Falls airport (if you blink, you might miss it) is a no frills carrier with red-eye hours to Florida. Very unusual flight times in the middle of the night, but you will be relieved at the price. The catch is that although tickets can be as low as $50, you are only allowed one backpack each and you will be charged handsomely for cargo. It is highly recommended that you register for Spirit. This will cost about $9, but it will bring down your cargo fees to dirt cheap. So my colleague paid $50 pp plus $200 for cargo for a family of four to Florida. And cashed in on a deal she got registering for Disney cruises. She shoved as much as she could of the heavy items (ie. shoes) into the backpacks they each carried on board the flight. Parking usually is much cheaper in the U.S. or you can bus it. Perx is also worth registering yourself for great deals and selloffs.

5. Holland America usually hauls in the 50 plus crowd, which is great for some. Several of my colleagues have highly recommended Royal Caribbean and Celebrity, their premium line which offers top notch service, lots of class, and reflects the quality of the crowd. Unfortunately, Carnival and it’s sister Princess have gone downhill in terms of service and quality, and the crowd is a bit more party, and alot more casual. We call this the spring breaker crowd. If you don’t mind that, there might be a deal in there somewhere. This comes from friends that prefer the other types of cruises.

What’s Your Cure For Jet Lag?

Photo of Paula Erskine, Photo credit John Vanderschilden

Photo of Paula Erskine, Catwalk to Runway creator, by John Vanderschilden.


What’s your Jet Lag Coping Strategy? Here we review different styles of dealing with short layovers from the newbie to the seasoned traveller. When I first started this flying business, I thought sleeping was over-rated. When am I ever going to shop here, tour here, explore here again? I had places to see and people to meet. Like the modelling, there are only so many years in your early twenties you can get away with not sleeping and showing up the next day all peppy, wide-eyed and refreshed. Jet lag strategies weigh in against layover length. Here is to pursuing happiness, sampling world cuisines and accomplishing short term goals beyond a hotel room.

Old-School: Pretend To Take Back the Circadium Clock

Staying awake after a night flight, dropping your bags in your room, start touring and go to bed at the local time of each country. Awake time ranging from 30-50 hours.

This is considered to be old-school practiced by seniors and the occasional eastern european in the flight biz. Hook yourself up to caffeine intravenously, wear a messenger bag so you don’t leave your belongings anywhere because even the seasoned flight attendants can suffer from serious delireum.

You will likely not be meeting any crew members for dinner. You might not care because you are so senior and you have been everywhere anyway and done everything. You’re that experienced and your air of confidence says you have such a satisfying home life that these layovers are just blips. Room service is your only friend. Yet, you are not lonely. Although you are getting away from it all by being away from home, you actually treasure this selfish act of aloneness. Still, you are a pro and accustomed to shopping while the veins in your legs pulse for help. Even though each night flight to Europe disrupts your circadium clock a few times per month, you still attempt to maintain some semblance of control by pushing your body beyond its limits. You not only seize the day you land in Europe, you pretend you didn’t skip a night of sleep by working it instead. But then, that’s how you appeared in this foreign land, so ultimately, you are fooling no one.

The Determined Keener

1 hour nap, shower and head for the shops in a haze.

Ok, I did a 2 hour nap twice in my life after being awake for 24-30 hours. but I can explain. The first time was my first layover ever in Rome. 35 hours awake was interrupted by a 2 hour nap that did not even put a dent into the level of exhaustion I had reached. With the support of 2 more determined keeners, we trudged our way to the Fontana di Trevi and picked up a gelato to soothe our pain. We mingled with a bicycle team before heading into the Vatican. We ended with a glorious Italian pasta dinner and dragged ourselves happily back to the hotel. 13 hours in Rome well spent.

Cut to Istanbul, Turkey this summer. I was experienced enough to know better. But with yet another 13 hour layover, there was no time to sleep for more than 2 hours. The Famous Turkish Bazaar was across the street and we felt like we were in slow motion. I bought jewellry from an Afghani vendor. His booth was 2ft by 2 ft. He showed me a picture of his baby and he thanked Allah that I had been sent to him. He offered me turkish tea, sweated profusely and adjusted necklaces. I bought a hot pink and gold tea set. My friends bought lots of things too, including spices with a few bugs in them for extra protein. ewwwww. We never made it to the Blue Mosque, our legs parked us for the evening at a typical turkish restaurant where the house specialty served in ceramic was set on fire then is smashed to reveal a delicious stew. Later we dragged our un-sorry selves back to the hotel for some long awaited R & R.

The Secret Sleepworkers

Catch some naps on the plane. Officially, this only works on a deadhead. A deadhead is a flight one takes in civilian clothing, assigned a seat, is a representative of the company and travelling to position for a working flight that day or the next day. Personally, I have never been able to sleep in the upright position. Traditional horseshoe neckpillows can’t seem to keep my neck in check. One time, while browsing through a skyshopper magazine, my friend found a triangular pillow that inflated so you could sling your body onto a stomach style position. Unfortunately, it would arrive in the mail long after my deadhead flight had come and gone. But if you can catch a few zzzzzz on a deadhead, you should be raring to semi-go if you don’t want to waste the day sleeping.

Liquid Oxygen Anyone?

They sell it in some duty free stores and it is sometimes available onboard your flight. Still on the fence about this one, and conducting an ongoing survey. A few years ago, they tried to bring oxygen bars to Toronto and the GTA. I tried it at some soiree and I actually felt refreshed. Casinos pump oxygen in to keep you awake, refreshed and gambling. The cockpit gets 100% oxygen pumped in, so a joke telling session in the cockpit between services can be refreshing on a whole other level.

Middle Ground Jetlagger

A Strong European espresso or latte, after a 3 hour nap. The alarm is pre-set for wake-up success. Reluctantly, I wake up because on a 24 hour layover, I don’t want to be spending the night watching BBC documentaries. Well actually, I do, but not before working a flight. The telly in the U.K. is soooo educational and enlightening sometimes. But I want to see daylight by 3pm. Shops close at 5pm. Marks and Spencer is the last stop with it’s marvelous grocery store as I stock up for the return flight. And I am missing some serious Indian food which is the late night food of choice all over the U.K. This is my kind of layover in a home away from home.

The Princess and the Sleep

A brisk walk after a generous nap, followed by a snack. This is ideal after an 11 hour Greece flight with obligatory layover. Some of this nap can be split with half the time poolside. Fortunately, Greeks eat dinner after 10 pm, and there is no shortage of night life from late night crepes at 3 am to all out night clubbing.

Slam Clicker

Keeping the first day abroad about securing shelter, and possibly a meal they’ve packed from home. Heck-bent on saving that per diem or recouping one’s right to do absolutely nothing. You only see these people on the plane during your shift. But I’ll tell you one thing. They are well rested and evasive about their goings on. Their story is boring at best. Why bother travelling at all. But then, this is just a blip for them. A blip of slam clicks. Can also be combined with a delsey diner.

Delsey Diner

The delsey diner brings food from home, which if used wisely, can save some money on meals out at least the first day arriving in Europe. I have brought many healthy “permitted” foods on flights and layovers and I encourage everyone to do the same. Sufferers of allergies can benefit from packing emergency food for their flights. Maximizing fruits and veggies while away from home base will boost your immune system when you’re running on empty.

When it comes to delsey dining, after more than a day,then you are not exactly getting fresh food and there is plenty of that at the local grocery stores. Don’t try to bring canned fish into Mexico, they won’t even let you bring a tuna pate. Sometimes veggies are taken away or overlooked. European countries are not so threatened by dried fruits, granola and tins of fish. The goal is to keep calm, and don’t get too attached to any of your emergency food items. Bags are often x-rayed and arguing is futile and foolish.

I knew a flight attendant who started her career during Portugal layovers cooking macaroni and cheese, canned food and hot dogs in her room’s kitchenette. I have seen her blossom into a more experimental eater with her favourites from every country. Who knew that the Nederlands was famous for their thick cut fries in a cone with gourmet mayonaise ranging from garlic to curry? Travelling can make you positively the biggest fan of world cuisine.

Delsey dining does not enrich your social life unless you picnic with a colleague in your room. Getting fresh salads from the local grocery and loading it up with grilled barbeque chicken, sundried tomatoes and stuffed olives and sharing stories with a friend is priceless. Flight schedules can fatefully throw you together for a blissful reunion abroad. Socializing on layover with crew or new friends builds and bonds friendships and the good times and laughter will keep you energized even at half-mast. Two of the best friends I have ever had I met in Belfast, Ireland watching bands play to packed houses in the late afternoon.

The Night Rider

Sleep all day after landing, go out all night. Repeat. Been there, done that. Not repeating. But no regrets either. There is nothing worse than the feeling of being sleep deprived for any reason before flying. You’ll do it a few times, and get cured fast. I watched an interview with a “sleep expert” on The Marylin Dennis Show who claimed that naps are not helpful and unnecessary in the course of a day’s activities. Marylin and I were quite surprised by his findings. He never interviewed a flight attendant. Long after a trip, there is nothing more refreshing than an afternoon nap.
And it doesn’t take one long to realize, that if you want to have optimal health and feel great all the time, quality of sleep is what we all talk about when we get together.

Get Cracking

Sleep with the curtains open during the day so I don’t sleep the whole day away. This does not work in Manchester, England. 7 days out of 7 I could not tell if it was dusk or dawn most of the time. Fortunately, there is so much to do there. You just have to trudge through the grey like they do. From museums, to shows to the country-side, that is one place I would never get bored.

This get your curtain cracking method also doesn’t work in Newcastle where luckily you can walk home from dancing in daylight at 3 am back to your hotel room. The night is elusive. So those blackout curtains have to solidly block out the Scottish brightness. Many studies have been shared that indicate darkness is what signals the body to go into recouperation mode.

Meditate to Refresh
Hands facing upward on your lap, meditation 5 or 10 minutes or day will clean the slate of any accumulated negativity within that may be weighing you down. The purist most transformative meditation I have ever tried that helps me balance myself is Sahaja Yoga Meditation. With a free Sahaja Yoga i-phone app or attend a free class or do the free online course http://www.freemeditation.com. Free classes are held world-wide in over 100 countries and it is a great way to evolve yourself, and ultimately mankind. It is like pressing the refresh button on your brain and making room for happiness. As someone who experiences jetlag monthly, it is a wonderful tool for life and happiness. And when given the chance, I visit classes in cities abroad.

What is your cure for Jet Lag?

Citizen of the World

Bon Appetit on Air France

Bon Appetit on Air France

By Paula Erskine

When I was a little girl on a plane ride to Croatia, for yet another privileged summer of bathing in the Adriatic Sea, a stewardess put a meal tray on my table top. Delighted at seeing all the mini compartments of food served neatly on a tray seemed like such a treat! “Mom! This is the life!” I exclaimed. A defining moment that was to shape my future in travel as a flight attendant.

Bororo Nomadic Tribe, Cameroon

Bororo Nomadic Tribe, Cameroon

For six months, I was stationed in the west-African country Cameroon. I had the privilege of interacting with gentle, humorous people that nurtured my quest to communicate in French. I drew on all the bilingual labels I had ever seen in the grocery stores living in Canada and racked my brain for remnants of grade eight French. I made notes and practiced talking with Cameroonians and ex-patriots. By month two I started to feel the francais flow. What struck me most was that the Cameroonian population, comprised of Muslims, Christians, ex-patriots and many tribes (speaking over 56 different languages) lived in relative harmony.

Getting over that French hurdle was key to landing a long-term career that pays me to travel. Fortunately, I have the opportunity to practice my French speaking skills with my Quebecois passengers who, gratefully, nudge me in the right grammatical direction. The more I integrate myself into authentic travel experiences, the more I see the common threads that bind everyone to each other. I feel very much as Socrates did when he claimed to be neither Athenian nor Greek, but rather belonging to a more universal identity. I too, am not only Canadian or Croatian, but also “a citizen of the world.”

Art, Vatican Museum, Rome, Italy

Art, Vatican Museum, Rome, Italy

Twenty-eight countries and counting, time really flies when you’re having fun! I have accumulated 1000 words of Russian since meeting my husband backpacking. I am nurturing international friendships. I have adopted many neighborhoods around the world to connect with as my home away from home. I choose my desired destinations on a monthly basis and my schedule is determined by seniority. My curiosity fuels my desire to boldly explore new territory and revisit favorite destinations. The quest for healthy, comfort food away from home, relaxing cappuccino corners abroad, discovering remarkable natural wonders, participating in historic excursions and shopping are just a snapshot of the perks.

Resolving conflicts, first aid, ensuring flight safety, improvisation, public relations, and serving coffee are all part of my job. Through the grapevine, I have heard of a study which claims that for every 3 months of flying overseas, a flight attendant loses up to one month of sleep. Based on my own experience and that of my colleagues, this is true. If I work a night flight and arrive in Europe by mid-morning, I will immediately recharge with a 4-5 hour deep sleep. This window of rest is sometimes shortened if shops, tours or restaurants are closing by late afternoon. Sleeping daylight hours away is not the solution for jetlag. A good dose of sleep shortly after arriving in Europe followed by a healthy walk, a lovely meal and aiming to go to bed at a more local time helps to get back on track. For those unpredictable sleepless nights, I pack a book, my computer, music and an occasional magazine left behind in a seat pocket.

Plitvice Park, Croatia

Plitvice Park, Croatia

Balancing travel with a healthy dose of family time and a sense of humour is the best medicine. Outside of work, I recharge by hiking halton and Hamilton trails, zumba dance aerobic classes, swimming and Sahaja Yoga Meditation which keeps me grounded and happy. On the subject of “seizing the day” of your vacation, I will be sharing the highlights of “my favourite things, places, people, experiences.” I hope that it inspires you to put your life on pause and enjoy the treasures that the worlds’ neighborhoods have to offer.

Cameroon to Canada-Flight Attendant FAQs-Interviews

Logbikoy, Cameroon

Logbikoy, Cameroon


When I returned from living for 6 months in Cameroon, a west African french colony, I was somewhat versed in French after many years of struggling and mixing my English/Croatian background up with every other language I tried to absorb. I booked a tutor at a french language school in Ontario, Canada and asked to have my french assessed to see where I was at. The teacher pulled out a book and pointed at pictures as I rattled off the objects en francais, then answered questions. She concluded that although my French vocabulary was very good, I was stuck in the present tense. In retrospect, it was very kind of everybody not to correct my tenses as they saw me struggle to communicate day by day. A year or two after getting into the airline business, I picked up a book on African culture and discovered a very interesting fact. That many Africans have no words to refer to the future because for all of us, it just doesn’t exist. It’s not even in their vocabulary. They speak of what has already happened, and seem to live in the present because they have no concept of the future. That would explain why every flight we ever had departed late. Pourquois, why, we asked, is Cameroon Airlines late? Unless it was 10-20 minutes after the time of departure, the staff could not conceive that the plane would leave late. So we learned to factor this in to our schedules and not run around in the blazing equatorial heat trying to westernize their ways.

Back in Canada, I brainstormed all the airline terms I could muster and all the questions I imagined I would encounter on a plane. Then I asked the tutor to help me speak about my experience in Cameroon in the past tense so I would be ready for the interview. The airline interview began in English and after a few questions, I was asked if I speak French. I took control of the interview and recited my memorized experiences that had happened to me in Cameroon. It worked, and no more random questions were asked of me in French.

I was passed on to the second interview, where I was asked to choose one of 5 announcements to make in French. I think I had to choose between making an announcement to the passengers that someone has lost a pair of glasses or inform the passengers not to smoke in the lavatory.

When I was done, the second interviewer congratulated me on my French. My advice is talk about what you have to offer and perhaps a customer service incident that you handled very well to sell yourself. If I am honest, the third airline interview did not go so well. I was asked to rent a car in French, and since I had never rented one in Cameroon, I was totally lost and explained that I only knew the airline terminology as this was my direct experience in French. Renting a car might be a question, but it shouldn’t be, in my opinion, since it has nothing to do with the airline industry. But of course, I didn’t say that. I asked if they could ask me another question. Fortunately, they could see my potential. They also asked me what would I do if a particular passenger constantly rang his button with special requests all flight long. What I didn’t understand then, was that larger airlines had standard services and timelines to complete and such a person would distract the whole team from attending to the flight as a whole. I had worked on a Dash-7 aircraft, 48 seats, with 3 flight attendants and a security agent. There were no trolleys, just a tray of drinks and sandwiches in no particular order. So I answered that I would probably invite the passenger to sit in the cockpit, as was our custom pre-911 at the time, and settle them down with an amazing view of take-off and landing. At this answer, I got my appointment for my medical and uniform fitting. The rest, as they say is an ongoing history of flying the friendly skies.

A Heartfelt Latte

A Latte With Heart

Calgary’s Artsy Cafes

I love supporting non-chain cafes that offer individuality and artistic touches to boot. I found this one in downtown Calgary (Alberta, Canada) offering a view of all the street action below. My latte came with a heart design on top which put a smile on my jet-lagged face. It is well appreciated by locals who realize that if they have to meet on business, make it over a latte, with an architechturally pleasing, cozy atmosphere. Just below the cafe is a marvelous flower market, several jewelry makers, clothing designers, art galleries and many other budding and established artists. I felt like a justified voyeur, totally at ease sipping solo. All the patrons seemed united in pressing the pause button to elongate the present enjoyment. The giant floor to ceiling windows made me feel like a justified voyeur. DeVille Cafe is located in the Art Central building #200-100 7th Avenue East in Southwest Calgary.’Tis the season for Alberta layovers and this heartfelt cafe made me feel comforted in an airport base away from home. It will make you want to jot down some words of inspiration and sink into the sunny surroundings.

One of the Best Lattes Ever

Jetlag Cure

Airline French Is Easier Than You Think!

Faking French Till You Speak French

Airline French Terminology Part 1-Preparing for Your Flight Attendant Interview


Article and photo by Paula Erskine

I will preface this series by saying, if you want to be a flight attendant in Canada, you have to have at least a conversational level of French language skills.  Making an effort to speak someone’s native tongue is like saying you care. On the other hand, if your struggling, engage a nearby passenger who is bilingual or another flight attendant who is fluent. The good news is, you know more than you think! If you grew up in Canada, you likely have been to a store which, by law, labels everything in French and English. So refresh your memory with a few items around the house, and check off French-qualified in household goods. Of course, other languages are also excellent assets to your repertoire (hey, you knew this french word), but French and English are the official languages of Canada, so there is no way around it. Obviously I speak from the perspective of one that could not surpass the French hurdle until later in life. In my twenties I was plus size modelling and managing various part-time jobs that were flexible. At 29, I had the opportunity to be stationed in Cameroon and finally acquired a base of french language skills to build on. If it wasn’t for that opportunity out of the blue, I wouldn’t be flying the friendly skies today!

If you like communicating with others, you’ll get the chance to expand your language skills. If you already talk with your hands, you’ll find yourself supplementing words for hand gestures. Keep trying to improvise until you see that sense of recognition on the passenger’s face. You can always repeat back just the noun from the question they just asked you. For example: what may seem like a very complicated request, can be dissected by spotting the nouns and verbs. Then, simply repeat the noun with a question mark on your face and tilt the head sideways. “l’eau?” (water?) The passenger, (this applies across the board, every language), will indirectly confirm by NOT saying non (no). Although, when the Quebecois say “merci,” it can mean “thank you I’ll have more coffee,” or if they aren’t handing you a cup to fill, it confusingly means thank you, but they DON’T want any more coffee. This may or may not be accompanied by the faintest whisper that sounds like the letters “m” and “c,” a pleasant expression and neither a nod nor a head shake.

Failing this, it may surprise you that speaking English words with a feigned French accent can back you up when you’re stumped. This works well for the following words you may encounter referring to Airplane terminology or serving food/drink/amenity items to passengers:

coffee/cafe (kaffayh, but you knew that already)

button/bouton (bootohn, french don’t like to pronounce the last letter, but know that the “n” is there).

airport/aeroport (again, trail off the “t”, airohpporrhh)

brochure and boutique, surprise, you already knew these words!

Chanel No. 5-So chic! Find it in the on board boutique!

Niche-everyone has one, what’s yours?

beer/biere (byehr)

beverage-breuvage (Quebecois-brevaaahg)

dinner/diner (pronounced dineh, and used in France)

diabetic/diabetique (same ending like boutique, your on your way!)

number/numero

comfort/confort (kohn-fohrrrr)

departure/depart (depawhrrr) trail off as you skip the last letter, which is often the case.

descent/descente (daysahnt, emPHAsis on sahnt, a bit nasal, slight “t” sound)

announcement/annonce (ahnawns)

director/directeur (directerrrh)

company/compagnie (kohmpahnee)

baggage/bagage (just say it with a French accent, so easy).

music/musique (rhymes with boutique!)

perfume/parfum (parfeh, trail off the “m” as far as I know)

sandwich/sandwich (sahndweetch)

tea/the (tayh) (apoligize for no accents used, haven’t discovered this feature on the blog as yet)

vegetarian/vegetarian (vegetahreeahnnn)

champagne-why, that’s international!

temperature/temperature (temperahtoorh)

voucher/coupon (same! kuupohn! trail the letter “n” off)

lavatory or washroom/toilettes (but you already knew this one, twah-let)

Do you comprehend, comprendre (komprahndr) so far?

More to come! In the mean time, just found a very cute you tube channel called French: Listen and Repeat! So you can practice the french accent you’ve been faking until now. You can watch this cute cartoon frog pronounce the words you are unsure of.

http://www.youtube.com/user/frenchphonetics?feature=watch