ANA Celebrates Crew Members on
Flight Attendant Day

2021 / 05 / 31

In celebration of Flight Attendant Day on May 31, we chatted with three ANA cabin attendants to learn about their experiences working in the sky during the pandemic.

From a new pet hamster to learning a foreign language to cooking chashu, we’re sharing how they’ve stayed healthy and prepared to serve you with the utmost Japanese hospitality!

Q: How has COVID-19 changed air travel for cabin attendants?

“I believe we are being asked not only to deepen our expertise as cabin attendants, but also to be more human.” – ANA cabin attendant, Miki Yoshimura
*Picture was taken with COVID-19 safety procedures in place.

“Prior to COVID-19, the flights were filled with lively and excited passengers. Nowadays, the cabin is calm and quiet. I believe our customers are conscious about protecting each other from the virus and following the ANA Care Promise (ACP),” said Miki Yoshimura, one of the ANA cabin attendants.

Another cabin attendant, Eriko Fukuda, shared similar feelings about the reduced capacity on flights. “It feels a bit empty and lonely inside the plane, and I miss interacting with our customers,” she said. “I look forward to the day I can enjoy casual interactions with customers again.”

Touching on her passion for serving ANA customers, Ayako Doi shared how her job has changed amid the pandemic. “It has become more difficult to gauge customers’ preference for physical distance,” she said. “I have been always eager to find out how I can best serve them and their preferences. Under COVID-19 restrictions, their expectations are more individually unique, and I need to be prepared to identify them correctly.”

Q: Is there anything you are mindful of when it comes to serving customers in flight nowadays?

“I pay close attention to the COVID-related measures and restrictions of every country I fly to,” Ayako shared. “On the Manila flights, my crewmates and I wore goggles, in addition to wearing a mask, after learning it was mandatory to wear a face shield in the Philippines. Even though we were not going to stay there overnight, and it was not required for us to wear a face shield in our cabin, we wanted to respect the rules and ease our passengers concerns.”

For the other cabin attendants, physical distancing came to mind. “It is the physical distance with customers. There are people who wish to have as little contact as possible with cabin attendants, while others prefer to keep pre-pandemic interactions,” Miki said. “I observe and identify their individual unique needs. And, of course, I am very aware of keeping things clean and sanitized in the cabin. I try to ease the anxiety our customers must be feeling as much as possible by following the ACP closely.”

Q: Have you had any memorable interactions with customers in the past year?

“I will continue to be committed to delivering the ACP thoroughly with the support of customers.” – Eriko Fukuda, ANA cabin attendant
*Picture was taken with COVID-19 safety procedures in place.

“One customer kindly shared the words of gratitude to ANA for operating flights in the trying time,” Eriko shared. “Another one told me how he was impressed by the ANA Care Promise, our commitment to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Without our customers’ understanding and cooperation, the ACP would not work. I will continue to be committed to delivering the ACP thoroughly with the support of customers.”

Ayako and Miki also shared a similar experience receiving kind words from passengers. “Knowing the struggles airlines were facing worldwide, a female customer once told me to cheer up and she was rooting for ANA,” said Ayako. “I appreciated her words of encouragement so much, it allowed me to regain my strength and faith in what we do.”

Q: Has the pandemic changed how you view your job?

“I became a cabin attendant because I wanted to be part of our customers’ experiences,” said Eriko. “Now that I have less time to spend with them, I am really recognizing how precious it is for me to be able to talk to customers and being appreciated for the services we provide. Our job is one of a few positions in the airline industry that allow us to communicate with customers in person. I feel fortunate to be part of their traveling moments. It is hard for me to refrain from interacting with our customers, but I look forward to the day we can truly enjoy our interactions again.”

Miki shared her experience with us as well, saying “I believe we are being asked not only to deepen our expertise as cabin attendants, but also to be more human. Utilizing the free time I have outside my work, I am challenging myself with something new or immersing myself with what I have been always interested in so that I can gain new experiences and knowledge. I believe that would impact how I carry myself, who I am as a cabin attendant, and how I perform my job.”

Finally, Ayako shared, “It gave me a chance to look back on my job and daily life. I focused on brushing up my skills as a cabin attendant, such as English, public speaking and the knowledge as a certified sommelier. I am also interested in learning new things.”

Q: How do you spend your spare time at home?

“Under COVID-19 restrictions, passengers’ expectations are more individually unique, and I need to be prepared to identify them correctly.” – ANA cabin attendant, Ayako Doi
*Picture was taken with COVID-19 safety procedures in place.

“I like to cook,” said Ayako. “I have been making some time-consuming dishes and made beef katsu (deep-fried beef) and chashu (Japanese pork meat) for the first time.”

Eriko shared her favorite at-home pastimes, too. “I am raising shiitake mushrooms! It is fun to watch them grow; I keep a journal every day,” she said. “Additionally, I exercise and eat well to stay healthy. I have a new pet hamster, named Ume, to keep me healthy mentally, too!”

And, Miki shared her passion for learning a new language. “I watch overseas shows on Netflix,” she said. “It helps me brush up on my English. I have started studying Korean after watching Korean shows. I am now certified to make inflight announcements in Korean. I also became a certified dieting adviser and passed manner protocol exams.”

Q: When it is safe to do so, where do you want to travel?

“It is hard to choose one, but I want to go Switzerland,” Ayako said. “I want to enjoy trekking and hiking in the Alps and eat delicious cheese with Swiss wine.”

Eriko shared her dream travel destinations too, sharing “I had to cancel our wedding ceremony and honeymoon due to COVID-19, so I would love to get married in Hawaii! We are not sure where to go for a honeymoon, any suggestions? Also, I want to visit my favorite restaurants in Frankfurt, Mexico City, New York City, Seattle, Taiwan and Jakarta. I’m also interested in Istanbul and Stockholm, too.”

Miki looks forward to traveling to Munich for shopping and dining.

Q: Finally, do you have any messages to past, present and future ANA passengers?

“Thank you for your support to ANA,” said Eriko. “As we witness sad news every day due to the pandemic, I pray for your health and happiness. I look forward to talking to you when we meet again on board!”

Ayako looks forward to welcoming passengers back on board, too. “Once it is safe to do so, please plan your international trip with ANA,” she said. “I cannot wait for the day to welcome you back on board!”

Finally, Miki shared her messages to ANA passengers. “Through COVID-19, I learned how special it was to be able to fly around the world and just how much I was supported by our customers,” she said. “I am thankful for those who continue to fly with ANA despite what’s happening around us. In order to ease their concerns during the flight and make them feel they made a right choice flying with us, I would like to be as close as possible to them emotionally. I look forward to meeting and serving you on board.”