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People

People of SAS: Air Steward & Instructor Alexander Sveen

In this ongoing series, we turn the focus on the people who keep SAS in the air on a daily basis. Meet Alexander Sveen, who combines a job in the air as an Air Steward with his work on the ground as an Instructor.

It was only a few years after Alexander Sveen joined SAS that he applied to become a cabin crew instructor. 
“It was in 2016, quite soon after I started,” says Sveen. “I felt inspired by the people who had trained me, and still being fairly green in the company, I could easily relate to the new.”

Although he had experience as a tutor and mentor from his previous job, he wasn’t sure if he would be considered for the position as Instructor.
“I was surprised when I was called in for the interview. I wasn’t very senior at that point and still felt a bit like a child,” he recalls. “I’m grateful I got this opportunity and I love the great dynamic that comes from having both young and more experienced instructors in the classroom.”

Sveen trains new cabin crew members as well as colleagues who need to refresh their skills after being away from service, for instance, due to parental leave.

A day as an instructor begins on the ground in the morning. Classes start at 8.30am and end at 4.30pm and take place in the training facility at the airport. If he’s teaching a large group, Sveen will team up with another colleague. They meet an hour before, prepare the day’s contents and divide the roles between them. They stay together with the trainees the whole day and evaluate the session afterwards while doing the last bit of paperwork. 

Sveen and his teammates strive to create a relaxed atmosphere in the classroom. 
“We always give the students a nice, warm welcome. My teaching philosophy is to make people feel comfortable and safe in the environment of the classroom. This means they can concentrate on learning and eventually feel confident and secure in their job,” he says. 

“We’re like a family. I think that 95% of the people at SAS would say the same.”

And feeling secure is essential as cabin crew. 
“People may think our main job is to serve coffee and be friendly, but that really is the smallest part of it,” Sveen says. “The main purpose of the cabin crew is safety and as an instructor, you realize how much this actually means on the job. There is much going on behind the facade that people don’t get to see.” 

And then there are the people skills. As cabin crew, you interact with people from all walks of life who travel for all kinds of reasons. Some are going on holiday, some are returning from a funeral, while others may be preparing a proposal.
“As a crew member, you develop a certain sensitivity to people around you. What we all have in common is that we can easily spot what state of mind people are in,” Sveen says. “It’s also a great skill in private life.”

Sveen’s work time is often divided between the air and the ground. 
“I really like the flying part of my job and wouldn’t want to give it up,” he says. “And it’s important not to lose touch – also for your colleagues in the air. They need to know that you’re up to scratch enough to join them on the job.”

Working as part of a team is one of the things Sveen appreciates most.
“We’re like a family. I think that 95% of the people at SAS would say the same.”

But his SAS career began with his love for traveling. 
“Traveling to me is education. When you experience other cultures and see how people live elsewhere, it gives you a broader perspective. You realize that, at the end of the day, we’re all the same.” 

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