Business / Companies

Russian stewardess shines on Hainan Airlines

By Wang Wen (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-17 08:00

Russian stewardess shines on Hainan Airlines

Bazhenova Evgenia, a Russian flight stewardess, 31, has been flying with Hainan Airlines for years. [CAI LINHAO / FOR CHINA DAILY]

It's been more than five years since Russian flight stewardess Bazhenova Evgenia, 31, joined Hainan Airlines Co, but to this day, she gets nervous recalling her first flight. "I could not sleep the night before."

It was an early flight from Beijing to Xiamen, Fujian province. Sleepless, she had to force herself to work. It involved going through various processes that she learnt during the three-month training.

Hainan Airlines, China's fourth-largest carrier, is a major operator in the Russia-China market. It introduce several flights to Russia in recent years. Two of its popular routes connect Beijing to Moscow and St. Peterburg.

That's how it started to recruit Russian flight attendants in 2006. It now has seven Russian flight attendants, including Evgenia. Their biggest challenge: Dealing with cultural differences between Chinese and Russian fliers.

Evgenia recalled work was not easy in the beginning. She had gotten used to a slow pace of life in Russia. Then, suddenly, she found herself flying across continents in a matter of hours.

"We (Russians) work slowly, talk slowly and eat slowly. But I have many things to do quickly while at work," said the blue-eyed stewardess.

Thankfully, Evgenia received help from her instructor, which helped her to cope with the fast-paced lifestyle of a flight stewardess. "My instructor is the person I appreciate the most in this job."

Evgenia now speaks fluent Chinese, a language she learned in China. Why, she received a bachelor's degree from Beijing Language and Culture University.

She said her father thinks China will soon graduate to a developed country, and skill in the Chinese language will be useful. His conviction convinced Evgenia to go study and work in China. "I know he was right."

After graduation, she just wanted a job to support herself. She landed the job of stewardess with Hainan Airlines. The carrier pays her well, she said. "Back then, I wanted to work for one year and buy a car." But her life goals changed after just one year into the new job.

Evgenia's hard work also received appreciation from her employer, which featured her on its branding poster in 2013 as a representative of the airlines' foreign flight attendants team.

In the poster, Evgenia's clear blue eyes are like the water of Lake Baikal, which is near her hometown of Irkutsk. "I recommend you a visit to my hometown, which has a beautiful view, although it is cold in winter. But Russians' passion (for treating visiting Chinese well) will drive away the cold for you."

Evgenia has been away from her hometown for seven years now. She said she misses it as well as her family. But Beijing, she said, is her second home now. She never thinks about leaving Beijing. "I love this historical city, which helps me grow up."

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