If there’s been one thing to lift our spirits in a never-ending news cycle about travel woes, it’s the launch of Bermuda’s own airline: BermudAir! While we’ve heard about their seat offerings (Economy and ‘Aisle Class’) and their destinations (Boston, Fort Lauderdale and Westchester), we wanted to find out more about the day-to-day of it all. Who better to talk to, then, than one of their homegrown team: Terran Simmons, Senior Flight Attendant.

Tell us a little about you!

My name is Terran (I usually say ‘pronounced like Karen but with a T’ to strangers). I’m a 33-year-old being bossed around by two cheeky boys, Mase (four) and Mecca (eight months). I am a Somerset girl currently residing in Warwick with my little family.

What has your career path been like? Did you always want to be a flight attendant? What are your hopes for the future?

I went to the UK and attained a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and returned with big dreams of being a therapist before I realised how much more studying I would need to be qualified!

I spent a year as an assistant caregiver with my late nana, Bitsy, who ran a home daycare called Itsy Bitsy Daycare before realising that I really wanted to see the world. What better way to travel than to get paid to do it right?

I applied to become cabin crew with a very prestigious airline and was successful in the interview process. Five weeks into the six-week training programme I was pulled out of one of the last courses for premium customer service training to be told that I was being let go due to a ‘visible tattoo’. I was devastated, but it made me understand how badly I wanted to become crew at that point, so I decided to begin the laser removal process, reapplied and was successful the second time.

I was flying for nearly three years before coming home and starting my journey in healthcare, which started out as ‘just a job to get me on my feet’. I ended up gaining a passion for the industry, the patients and the impact my previous employer had on the island. And now, here I am. Back to flying but for my own country.

I would love to play a bigger role at BermudAir in the near future. When the airline grows, I would love to play a part in some of the decision making regarding Bermudian representation, aesthetics and overall ‘bringing d cultcha!’

What is the best part of being a flight attendant?

Previously I would have said traveling and spending time in different countries. With BermudAir being so new and our routes currently being there-and-backs, the best thing currently is the response from the community and being comfort for our passengers. A lot of people fear flying. I’m big on energy, it’s never steered me wrong and if I can give anyone else good/safe/welcoming energy I’ve done my job.

What is a typical flying day for you like with BermudAir?

First things first, we are picked up by our lovely Bermudian taxi drivers – organised by one dear to me, Shawnette. We get to the airport and head to our safety briefings. Here we discuss details of the flights we are about to work, including passenger loads and any details that may be relevant to the flights ahead. We then review and discuss daily safety and standard operating procedures together, so that in case of an emergency onboard we are well equipped to handle anything from labour and delivery in flight to landing in water. After that we’re ‘fit to fly’.

On the aircraft, we do thorough checks to ensure we have all of the equipment we need, including medical kits, oxygen, fire equipment and so on. At this time, we also search for any possible dangerous goods that may be left on board by anyone with ill intentions. It’s actually a pretty rigorous job. We’re the people that the passengers are going to look to if anything goes awry: everyone on that plane is under our care and we have to be prepared for all possibilities.

At 37,000 feet up, we make our guests as comfortable and happy as we can. We lay their tables, offer them welcome drinks (Gosling’s Dark & Stormies or desired aperitifs) and serve them a light snack. By the way, Ahmani’s Cookies have gone down really well with passengers. We keep drinks topped up when feasible and we typically enjoy a little chit chat as well. The passengers have been delightful so far.

How does flying BermudAir differ from flying with any other airline from Bermuda?

We are committed to providing a streamlined service, not just a ride to your destination. We are currently a small fish in a giant pool, therefore our passengers feedback is extremely valuable to us. We listen, we care and we truly want to be a successful representation of what the island has to offer. We want to get you there safely, we want to get you there comfortably.

How does it feel as a Bermudian flight attendant to be working with a Bermudian airline? Did you ever think it would happen?

Never in my life! With my previous airline people asked all the time if I ever flew to and from the island and my answer was a hard no. It just wasn’t set up that way. I flew everywhere apart from the island, and I hate to say it I wasn’t mad about! Bermudians can be tough. We are extremely hard to please, I mean even celebrities come to Bermuda for a bit of reprieve because we’re so underwhelmed by everything. We’re too proud to make a big fuss. So, no, I never thought I would see the day that I would fly out of Bermuda.

With all that said, the first time I saw BLU (the first BermudAir aircraft’s registration is VQ-BLU) as we like to call her, I cried a little inside. I saw her colourful tail, and saw the Bermuda flag printed on the entrance, and I got chills. I thought to myself ‘Wow this is real!’ It hit me all again on my first flight when my course-mate and friend, Stacy, made an announcement and I heard her Bermudian accent over the PA system. I had a ‘drunk girl in the bathroom moment’ and I just wanted to hug her and tell her how proud I was of her.

But honestly, the feedback from passengers is what makes it all worth it. They are loving us, loving the convenience and competitive rates, loving seeing ‘Bermuda’ and Bermudians working on a plane. They’re here for it, so it’s wicked to be a part of!

Anything else you would like Bermudians to know about flying with Bermuda’s newest airline?

I would just say: fly with us. Choose us. We want this to work and we want it to flourish. This is not a drill: we are truly devoted to this being something for us. Something we can be proud of. Ask the questions, give the constructive criticism, tell us your recommendations.

Most of all: try it for yourselves. One thing about small communities (and this is not exclusive to Bermuda) we love a little word of mouth. Try it before you knock it, let your experience be your own and not of something you read on Twitter or MAJ’s list. The experience is what it’s all about. That’s the tweet! 

Find out more about BermudAir at their website here.