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Chief Purser Clocks 30,000 Hours in Air

Posted in Cabin Crew News, Korean AirNo comments

A chief purser for Korean Air has flown more than 30,000 hours on airplanes, a record for a South Korean national, according to the airline. Park Gilyeong’s time in the air is roughly equivalent to three years and five months.

The 56-year-old, whose position involves duties such as managing the cabin and flight paperwork, said the hours were accumulated during his 32 years in the industry. By 1999 Park had spent 20,000 hours on board and by 2004 he had reached 25,000 hours.

The secret to his time on board was keeping “a positive and friendly attitude,” Park said, but also prioritizing customer service through human relationships.

“I feel it is the most rewarding when I do my best to serve the passengers with an upbeat attitude, and they appreciate my work,” Park said.

With decades of experience, the purser has watched the flight industry develop before him.

“For example, since this past June Korean Air has been offering the best equipment on the B777-300ers,” Park said. The airline now also offers traditional Korean food for in-flight meals, including the national dish bibim-bap.

Not only have there been advances in technology and amenities, but there have also been cultural changes within the stewardess personnel, Park noted.

“The average height of stewardesses has grown and their appearances have become more Westernized,” he said. “The uniforms have also changed six times since I’ve begun working.”

Health must be well-maintained to prepare for long travel hours, said the purser. Particularly given the fact that typical medical care is not available while thousands of miles in the air.

“It is particularly important to overcome the differences (in resources),” Park said. He added that there are measures to help prevent ill health, including drinking plenty of water, getting enough rest and exercising when possible.

Park will retire in September, concluding his career with the South Korean record under his belt. In his last month Park said he wants to have one last perfect flight, free of any mistakes or regrets.

“That way, I think I’ll remain in my employees’ memories for a long time,” he said. But Park plans to continue living a life full of activities and goodwill.

“After I retire I want to exercise a lot and learn to play the saxophone that I first picked up four years ago,” Park said. “Another thing is that I would like to do volunteer work so that I can live my life on behalf of others.”

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