Karen Abernethy

Flight Attendant

I love being a flight attendant as every day I meet new people and am faced with new challenges. No two days are ever the same!

I am currently a Flight Attendant for Air New Zealand International Airline, operating flights on the wide body aircraft to North America, Asia, Pacific Islands and Australia.

Where did your journey start?

When I was 11 I travelled to Japan alone. The crew were fantastic and that’s when my dream of becoming a Flight Attendant began. After leaving school I completed a short travel and tourism course. Just before the course ended, at the age of 19, I was offered a Flight Attendant position at Freedom Air – a then subsidiary of Air New Zealand. I can still remember how excited I was about the journey I had ahead of me!

Where’s your journey taken you so far within Air New Zealand?

Freedom Air turned into Air New Zealand Tasman Pacific and I began operating flights for Air New Zealand across the Tasman and to the Pacific Islands. After two and a half years as a Flight Attendant I was promoted to In-flight Service Manager – managing and co-ordinating the crew and service on board. This position taught me a lot and I found myself managing situations I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to do. In November 2010, I was seconded to Air New Zealand International Airline as a Pacific Class Flight Attendant. My time at Tasman Pacific was invaluable. Without the knowledge and experience I gained there I wouldn’t be where I am today. This year will mark seven years of flying and I still enjoy it as much as my first day at Freedom Air.

Where do you hope your journey will take you?

I am really enjoying my time with the International Airline. I hope to earn a permanent position here with a short-term goal of becoming a Premium Service Flight Attendant, working in the premium cabins. My long-term goal is to further develop my management skills and eventually become an In-flight Service Co-ordinator.

What Air New Zealand value do you feel you best represent and why?

I feel I best represent the ‘Can Do’ attitude. On the aircraft, we are often faced with challenging situations with limited resources available to us. We have to think quickly and at times improvise to ensure we meet our customers’ expectations.

What’s the best story you’ve been able to tell after a day at work?

It really is the people that make the job what it is and it’s so nice when you are able to help someone with a problem. After landing back into Auckland a few years ago a lady approached me visibly upset. She explained to me that she had lost a ring onboard that was very special to her. We were unable to locate it at the time but before she left I took her contact details just in case it turned up. Shortly after she left one of the other crew managed to find it – I did my best to find her in the terminal but had no luck. I contacted her at home that evening to tell her I had her ring and arranged to courier it to her. It felt great returning something to her that she thought had been lost forever!

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