Malaysia was on celebratory mode today, as the country celebrated its 62nd Independence Day. Some watched the parade in Putrajaya while most others likely indulged the unofficial national hobby which is none other than… food! Meanwhile some 30,000 feet up above, passengers of AirAsia flight AK5104 bound to Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur were in for a treat as a special Merdeka celebration was in full swing.
Celebrations began before the flight took off. Late Sudirman’s Tanggal 31, a legendary song which all Malaysians know by heart, was on full blast as Guests were boarding the airplane. The usually-unassuming boarding experience transformed into a mini fiesta as the cabin crew on duty distributed flags for all passengers.
This is no ordinary flight though as for the first time ever, AirAsia had gathered some of their best and longest-serving AirAsia flight attendants to be on duty for this Merdeka flight. Dubbed as the ‘Fabulous 40 Cabin Crew’, the fab seven that served on board included industry veterans Laila Majid, Arman Zakaria, Alvin Koh, Adilah Abdul Rahim, Azlinda Aziz, and Mazuin Shima. They’ve been with AirAsia for more than 16 years, some even 18, 20, and 23 years!
In millennial-speak, they’re the OGs (original gangstas) of the AirAsia Cabin Crew department but we have a better word for them which is otai. In the street Malay language, otai refers to a person who is very experienced in what they do thanks to years of experience. And otais indeed they are, the Fabulous 40 Crew.
Amongst the highlights of this flight include a Quiz Time whereby the cabin crew announced some questions via the PA system and the first passengers who managed to press the inflight call button and answered correctly got to win an AirAsia goodie bag. After that there was another Sing-a-Long Tanggal 31 with the otai cabin crew hyping up the atmosphere and more than a hundred Jalur Gemilang flags waving through the entire airplane, turning it into a carnival! What’s more, there was even a 31 August birthday lady on board so naturally everybody sang along together.
AirAsia has always been known as an airline that embodies the fun spirit. Their cabin crew is synonymous with red (ladies) and black (gents) uniform, always with a friendly smile on their face. In 2003, Group CEO Tony Fernandes made the decision to extend the retirement for AirAsia flight attendants from 45 to 55 (years old, not chest size). It was a move that was greatly welcomed by the staff, as it goes in line with the company spirit which is to not discriminate but rather appreciate the employees.
And it certainly reflected on the happy grins and jovial attitude of the ‘Fabulous 40 Cabin Crew’. Happy Merdeka Day!