The aviation industry was something Gabriele Petrauskaite had never considered as an option for her professional life since she saw the career of her dreams in television. Having a university degree in journalism, the 24-year-old says she had always been fascinated about a career in media, but nothing related to the aviation industry. However, her plans were flipped.
“My short experience in aviation has taught me how crucial it is for a person to have skills s/he could use as a back-up plan,” Gabriele says.
Two callings: from journalist to flight attendant
“Since childhood, I dreamed of becoming a journalist,” Gabriele says. She took the first opportunity to join the industry while still studying journalism at Vilnius University, Lithuania. During the first year of the studies, Gabriele joined a local television and became a video journalist, making short video reportages on various news topics. “It was an amazing experience,” she recalls.
Having her foot in the door, Gabriele soon realized what a competitive career path she has chosen and after four years spent in the media industry, she began doubting her decision. “I loved being a part of the media professionals team where I could learn a lot of subtleties of news reporting from my highly experienced colleagues. But I felt slightly tired of pressure while combining my studies and the job, since the journalists must always stay focused and be at the epicenter of events and incidents.”
Gabriele decided to take a short break from the media industry and, encouraged by a friend, applied for a cabin crew position in her hometown-based airline. “I was expecting nothing more than a chance to travel the world while I was considering my future plans. But when I got involved in aviation, every single detail of the flight process caught my huge interest.”
“For me, the flight attendant job was not only about serving passengers and ensuring a safe and enjoyable flight. Behind the endless layovers in different parts of the world, I found a wide spectrum of things to discover, beginning from aircraft types to the inner airline management processes, operating manuals, aviation safety, etc.”
Flight attendant turned aviation journalist
In April 2020, when the pandemic hit the aviation industry, the flight attendant became one of the hundreds of cabin crew who immediately lost their jobs.
“I felt shocked and extremely upset after receiving the disappointing news. At the time I was training to be able to work on a wide-body aircraft, since before I had been flying only Boeing 737-300/400 jets. In other words, this certificate would have allowed me to fly not only short-haul flights but long-haul as well. It would have opened new horizons to my career as a cabin crew. However, it did not happen.
“First, I thought the situation regarding the pandemic would be temporary. Nobody realized how serious it could affect the company and our lives. I loved my job as a flight attendant so much that I didn’t even attempt to look for other job opportunities after I was made redundant. I will lie if I will say that it had no emotional impact on me.”
“I saw that situation in the market was terrible and that I had no chances to return to the airline at the time. But I didn’t want to cut off my ties with aviation. I started thinking that if I lost the opportunity to fly, maybe I could use these times to improve my knowledge and skills which I might need later when aviation recovers. So, I went for a master’s degree in aviation management at a local university.”
Simultaneously with new studies, the former flight attendant was building plans on how to combine her previous experience in media with a passion for the aviation industry. “Since I have appropriate education and experience in the field, and didn’t want my skills to fade, I started to look for a job in the media. And then I noticed a job for an aviation journalist.”
Gabriele joined the AeroTime News team in August 2020. Since then, she has been covering breaking news, finance, and aviation technology. The majority of My Covid Story interviews are also brought to you by Gabriele.
“It seemed to be a perfect combo of journalism and aviation, meaning that I could use my skills as a journalist while keeping my fingers on the pulse of the aviation industry. I’m doing a great job now and I’m absolutely loving it,” Gabriele says.
Curious about Gabriele’s works? Click here to read some of her articles exclusively in AeroTime.