(NewsMadura) — When Jordan Milano Hazrati was offered a job as a flight attendant at Virgin Atlantic, it was a dream come true.
“It was everything I ever wanted — I still can’t believe I did it,” she says. “I was in the cockpit landing at Heathrow on my first flight, and I will never forget that sunrise view, and I felt so lucky to have managed to do it. And the crew are the most amazing people — it was really the people who made the track.”
Hazrati, who had previously been a flight attendant for Jet2 in her native Manchester, moved to London’s Heathrow Airport in February 2020 to take up her dream job.
But it was not to be – eight months later, she became one of the many victims of the crisis that has hit the aviation sector.
Many would have looked at a sector in crisis and walked away. But Hazrati has used the pandemic as an opportunity to stage the job she’s always wanted, deep down: that of a pilot.
Runway to Heaven
Jordan Milano Hazrati lost her job after eight months as a flight attendant at Virgin Atlantic.
Thanks to Jordan Hazrati
Hazrati cannot remember a time when she decided she wanted to fly. In fact, she started her career with something completely different — she was a dancer and performed in musicals.
“There were so many points that I thought, ‘Something isn’t right,’ and I was always drawn to aviation,” she says. “But I’ve never wanted to admit it for fear of the cost.” Learning to fly is notoriously expensive — and a “big obstacle,” she says, for those not from wealthy backgrounds.
In 2017, two things happened: a change in her personal life meant she had the opportunity to pursue a career, and her parents bought her a flying lesson for her birthday — “they knew how much I loved airplanes,” she said. say.
And that was it. “As we went off the runway and then took off, I was hooked. Ten seconds was all it took — the instructor said I’d arrange takeoff, I was terrified of rolling off the runway, but did it, got in the sky — and got hooked.
“We looked down at where I went to university, to the M6 motorway where I used to drive every day. I thought: this is the perspective I need for the rest of my life.
“When I came down, I said, ‘I’m going to do that.’ The big question, however, was how.”
However, she still couldn’t take the plunge. Learning to fly, she says, is a “lifetime commitment — it costs so much that you always have to be sure it’s the right path.”
“It probably wasn’t until I was forced by redundancy that I realized I was sure. It got to the point where I thought, I don’t want to do this alone, but this is the perfect time.”
So when the pandemic hit, while others were accumulating as much savings as possible, Hazrati did the opposite and decided to put all the money she had in her dream of becoming a pilot.
Hazrati had long dreamed of becoming a pilot.
Thanks to Jordan Hazrati
It was money she’d been saving for years for “something big — whether it was a down payment on a house or flight training, it really depended on how my career progressed,” she says.
“I could have paid off my student debt or got a house, but I don’t regret it.”
Since starting her training in March 2021, she has spent £14,000 ($19,200), but that’s a fraction of the final amount. Qualification takes up to three years and costs around £50,000-60,000 ($69,000-82,000), she says — and that’s the cheapest way to do it. Some courses are double that.
Since losing her job, Hazrati has had a range of jobs to survive the pandemic: personal trainer, waitress, talking calls for the UK’s national vaccination line and a Christmas elf.
She also volunteered at a vaccination clinic — and now, seven jobs later, she works as a human factors specialist for another airline.
But every week she is on the air, working towards her ultimate goal. And even when she’s on the ground, she’s studying routes and learning theory — she thinks she spends at least 15 hours preparing for her weekly flights. “I make the most of every second,” she says.
Hazrati has spent the savings of her life on training pilots.
Thanks to Jordan Hazrati
So what does she get from flying?
“The best feeling in the world,” she says. “It sets my soul on fire. Flying is the most incredible, unreal, unique feeling, and only a small fraction of people will ever feel it – I’m so grateful.”
Hazrati is now able to fly solo, while building for hours, and admits there is “vulnerability” on her own.
“But I like the routine and also the challenge — it uses all my brainpower and energy. And the work you do on the ground — all those maps and charts — pays off in the air,” she says.
“You think about what could happen if your airport were closed. You think about backups, looking for fields. I like that challenge – it gives me my freedom and a perspective on life.”
Of course, not everyone would assume that a cabin crew member would be the best pilot. Cabin crew are known for their sociable personalities; pilots like to joke that they are sedate and serious – perfect for handling the plane calmly.
“That’s a stereotype, and it’s a bit dated – a lot of the pilots I’ve flown with are the most incredible characters,” Hazrati says.
“They’re funny and interesting, but they have the ability to move into that focus when needed. I’d go in and offer them tea or coffee, and I could have chatted for a good hour there.
“I’m really bubbly and will talk to anyone, but I also have that ability – I’m pretty specific, mathematic and I like procedures. In [annual cabin crew] training, my favorite parts are always the safety procedures, so that fits well with the switch.”
Of course, pilots are also often considered superior to cabin crew.
“We see the value of each other, but in some parts of the industry there is that hierarchy – pilots are treated more professionally and cabin crew are seen as customer service,” she says.
“Some people would expect the pilots to walk ahead, with the cabin crew behind them – but that’s a legacy from the past. We really are a team – not them in the cockpit and us outside.”
And she hopes her past as a cabin crew will serve her well for future pilot jobs: “Hopefully an airline would say I can bridge the gap between cockpit and cabin crew — and that’s a barrier that needs to be broken.
“We want more crew members to say, ‘You know what, I really want to fly this thing.'”
superwoman of the sky
Flying is “the best feeling in the world,” Hazrati says.
Thanks to Jordan Hazrati
Hazrati’s last flight for Virgin Atlantic was a repatriation flight from New York to Heathrow in April 2020, helping passengers rushing to see sick relatives or head home mid-lockdown.
“We knew we were about to make a change, and many of us suspected it would be our last flight for a while, if not ever,” she says.
“I remember sitting in the cockpit to land. The captain said, ‘I hope you all liked that, it will be our last one for a few months,’ and I cried. I couldn’t believe it would But it was an absolute honor to be on that flight, doing what I love and helping people who needed it.”
Tireless in the face of the thrill aviation has had over the past 18 months, Hazrati has not only started training during the pandemic, but has also returned to school – studying for a master’s degree in human factors and aviation. “I had to stay connected to the industry to make sure [that when it bounces back] I have something better to offer than when I left,” she says.
“I love learning, so a Masters was always on the cards, and human factors are what I’m interested in, but I wasn’t going to do it that fast. The pandemic has really kicked it all back up.”
In fact, she tips “human factors” — the ways people interact with aviation, which encompasses everything from ergonomics to decision-making and work psychology — as an important sector to emerge after the pandemic because “the focus will be on making sure people are okay.”
But ultimately, that pilot target is still there — even though the industry is in the worst shape it’s ever been. She knows, she says, that it takes years to fly for an old airline — and even longer to fly long distances.
But she’d be happy to swap those glamorous cabin crew trips to Johannesburg, Hong Kong, and LA for short domestic hopping—as long as she gets to sit in the cockpit.