After nearly four weeks of intensive classroom training, performance drills and competency checks, 9 written exams, and nearly nightly homework, 14 new Endeavor Flight Attendants gathered for a special graduation ceremony on May 2.
After hearing words of congratulations and encouragement from Inflight leadership and their instructors, each Flight Attendant is called forward one-by-one to receive his or her wings. As wings are pinned on, emotions run high.
“Over the course of training, a sense of community is created, and they become so close to the Inflight Team and to one another,” said Jill Christopher, Manager, Inflight Training. “They see their instructors as mentors, and they see one another as teammates. It’s an emotional process, and graduation is the culmination of all of their hard work.”
And hard work it is. Not only is Inflight Training where skills are built, safety drills practiced, and procedures memorized, it lays the groundwork for concepts like customer service, teamwork, and company culture. For the students as well as instructors, Inflight Training requires focus, perseverance, and stamina. Because of the amount and variety of content being taught – and the demanding pace of learning – Christopher compares the rigor of Inflight training to a college course.
“The training is difficult because of the extent of material you have to learn and apply in such a short amount of time,” said Christopher, who said that Endeavor’s comprehensive initial training includes material above and beyond the FAA required training content.
“We teach in a building block fashion, so that the material you are learning today has an impact on your understanding of what you’re learning tomorrow. You have to keep up, or you’ll fall behind.”
“It’s not just sitting at a desk and learning; there’s a physical component as well,” added Cynthia Maiers, Supervisor, Inflight Training. “You have to be able to master your mind and your body and the difficult hours. It is so much more than a traditional classroom learning environment.”
From the instructors at the front of the class to the Curriculum Developers working behind the scenes building and maintaining relevant coursework, the team’s focus is on ensuring each Flight Attendant is ready to fly, providing them with the tools they will need to be successful out on the line and instilling in them the importance of customer service and upholding the brand.
“I tell every class that they are selected for a reason, and they have expectations to live up to. We talk about how fortunate we are at Endeavor to be Delta’s only wholly-owned subsidiary, and with that comes the responsibility of carrying that Delta banner high and reinforcing the brand in everything we do, wherever we are,” said Christopher. “That goes for the way we treat each other and our customers, how we look, and how we make that first impression.”
The Inflight Training department is responsible for annual recurrent training as well – On average, two recurrent classes are held each week, with a maximum of 16 Flight Attendants in each session. From new hires to seasoned Flight Attendants, the Inflight Training team lays and maintains the foundation of success, instructing not only on skill but on the intangible qualities needed to excel.
“We try to instill from the very beginning how important communication and teamwork is in this position; you have to have each others’ backs,” said Christopher. “That’s part of our culture here at Endeavor: respect for each other, communication, honesty, and dealing with issues up front.”
And, it is these same qualities that are the secret to the Inflight Training team’s success as well.
“As a department, we live these values every day,” said Maiers. “We work with each others’ strengths, we fill in where needed, and we have a really great synergy.”
“This team has an unspoken philosophy of ‘No one’s done until everyone’s done,’” added Christopher. “Everyone is aware of the needs of the group, and I’m extremely proud and thankful for this team.”
“I tell every class that they are selected for a reason, and they have expectations to live up to. We talk about how fortunate we are at Endeavor to be Delta’s only wholly-owned subsidiary, and with that comes the responsibility of carrying that Delta banner high and reinforcing the brand in everything we do, wherever we are.”
-Jill Christopher, Manager, Inflight Training