After an agonising 20 months, international travel is finally back on the table, and few people are as excited as flight attendants.
The international travel ban will end at 12.01am on November 1, almost two years after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he was shutting the borders back in March 2020.
Most countries around the world introduced hard borders back in March and April of last year, in a bid to stop the coronavirus.
But it also brought international travel to a standstill, a pause the Qantas team are happy to see the end of.
Qantas flight attendant Sarah Nash, 29, said the past 18 months had been “very difficult” grappling with ongoing border closures.
“It’s been a bit of a learning curve but also I got to go back to my previous career which was nursing and some nannying,” she told news.com.au.
“So it’s been tough but patience and knowing that there was light at the end of the tunnel has been a big saviour.
“We were coming back, we just had to be patient and wait and stick together as a Qantas family and now finally the day has come.”
Ms Nash had long dreamt of being a flight attendant when she took up a career with Qantas.
“I was nursing and I’ve always, since being a little girl, I’ve always wanted to be a flight attendant. I had one on my flight who got me through when I was on by myself when I was little so ever since that day, I wanted to be a flight attendant,” she said.
“When the opportunity came up, I jumped at it and I haven’t ever looked back.”
Ms Nash said it was the “most surreal feeling” putting her iconic Qantas uniform back on.
“There were tears, nerves and happiness, everything but it was the best feeling and I’ve never been so proud to put on a uniform in my life.”
Megan Walmsley, another flight attendant with Qantas, is also gearing up for flights restarting.
“It’s really exciting (to get back on the plane), we’ve been waiting so long to get the phone call to say that we’re back in the air and it came a couple of weeks ago and I know the crew is so excited to welcome our customers back,” she told news.com.au.
Ms Walmsley spent the coronavirus pandemic preoccupied – but not with travel.
“I actually had a baby, so I did some iso baking, it’s actually been a nice time off and I’ve been lucky to not have to pivot to different kinds of employment like my colleagues have,” she said.
Similar to Ms Nash, Ms Walmsley was hit with a wave of emotions when she put her Qantas colours back on.
“I was really excited, really proud and a little bit emotional, I’m so excited to get back into the air doing what we love,” she said.
Ms Walmsley has been back with Qantas since July, working with the airline’s service design team.
“It’s really exciting to see planes coming back into the sky soon,” she said.
“I’ve been working on some of the in-flight service as well … we went from a mid-December start-up date to mid-November to a November 1 start-up date which has meant there’s been a couple of things we love to serve to you guys and the things you love to see on-board Qantas flights that will take a little bit of time to return.
“But from mid-November everything will be back to normal and we’re ready.”
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