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I stood in a fitting room, getting measured for my uniform. My uniform, the royal charcoal & burgundy of the prestigious Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways, an airline which has either been best or second best airline of the year for the last eight years. I can’t seem to grasp the fact that I am an employee of one of the leaders in the industry.

How did I end up here? To answer that question, I have to take you back a few years, so you will understand where my passion for aviation came from.

Sunderland J (2)

Sunderland ‘J’ Piloted by my Grandfather

My paternal grandfather passed away before I was born and as a result, I never had the opportunity to get to know him. He was a pilot during the great war. I remember spending hours looking at pictures of him in uniform while my grandmother told me about him and his flying years. I loved hearing about the people he met and the places he went. I can’t confidently say how or why this passion began, but I can definitely say, it was intense, consuming and, up until today, an integral part of whom I am.

Over the years, I spent hours reading about the industry, researching airports and learning about aircraft. If anyone was going to the airport, I was sure to be with them. If I knew about an air show happening, I would beg someone to take me. Any time I could incorporate aviation into school projects, I most certainly did.

When the time came for me to finish school and choose a career, aviation was an obvious choice. I just didn’t know which area of aviation exactly. The opportunity to go into avionics presented itself and I was thrilled to be starting my life in aviation. I spent the next three years completing my theoretical modules and doing long practical’s at various airports. Although I was in an industry I loved, this was a time of immense emotional hardship and I struggled through, but I made it; I qualified.

I began searching for jobs locally and then internationally. I was young, passionate and fully qualified, but very few companies got back to me. I can’t remember how many avionics related jobs I applied for, but it was very disheartening to not receive even a single call back.

I saw an advert on Face book for cabin crew with Qatar Airways. They were hosting an open day event in South Africa and I thought that dropping off my documents and saying hello wouldn’t hurt. I didn’t expect to have anything come from it, so I didn’t prepare to stay for any length of time. I got ready in business attire and went to the hotel hosting the open day. I was early, but other applicants started arriving and soon there were close on 600 people. I had long given up hope for this possibility.

Dan The Aviation Man

I Love this Space

Much to my surprise, I was asked to come back the following day. I passed the next round, the next and the next.

Fast forward a few months of jumping through hoops for the airline and there I was, my bags packed with a one-way ticket to Qatar.

I never expected this for my life; for a long time, I thought I would either work on the technical side of aviation or not in aviation at all. I also can’t explain how it happened that my first call back was the only job I applied for outside of avionics.

I find peace in accepting that this was just meant to be and as surprising as it was, I am happier than I have ever been.

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