From the military to Singapore Airlines: A commitment to service
Singapore Airlines flight steward Benny Sue shares his journey – from training as a commando to providing top-notch service on board
After training as a commando during his national service, Benny Sue dreamt of carving out a career in the military – but an unfortunate physical injury dashed his hopes. “As a member of Singapore’s 1st Commando Battalion, I thrived in an environment where there was a chain-of-command system. However, an ankle injury forced me to reconsider my options,” he shares.
Today, as a cabin crew member with Singapore Airlines, he brings the knowledge and skills he gained from the army – as well as an unwavering commitment to service – to his current role.
Valuable life lessons
Benny credits his strong work ethic to his experiences in the army – a case in point being the Situational (SIT) Test conducted during the Basic Military Training (BMT) phase. “I realised that the SIT was not only about the tasked missions, but also about one’s ability to work under pressure. While the evaluators appointed two leaders for each mission, they were also looking for exemplary behaviour from other members of the team,” he recalls. “These principles continue to guide me today, enabling me to make valuable contributions on board.”
He combines this military mindset with the rigorous training every Singapore Airlines cabin crew member receives. “The Cabin Crew Readiness Program (CCRP) is a comprehensive three-month training course that has provided me with the necessary skills and knowledge to become a competent cabin crew member,” he shares. “In particular, I really enjoyed the Safety and Emergency Procedure (SEP) phase, which trained us in in-flight fire-fighting procedures, providing medical assistance and evacuating passengers in the event of an emergency on an aircraft.
Overall, these experiences have taught Benny the importance of working hard – and to work together as a team – no matter the situation or setting. “I’ve learned that the keys to success in any challenging environment are adaptability, teamwork and a commitment to excellence,” he says.
I’ve learned that the keys to success in any challenging environment are adaptability, teamwork and a commitment to excellence
Benny and his fellow cabin crew pose with their batch facilitator, Ms Jeannie Saw; Benny speaks at an internship recruitment session at Temasek Polytechnic
Going above and beyond
For Benny, excellence in his current role means going the extra mile for customers. “As a cabin crew member with Singapore Airlines, going above and beyond for our customers is essential. Whether it’s celebrating a special occasion or addressing a specific customer need, we strive to create memorable experiences for everyone,” he says.
He recalls an incident when he had to plan a surprise for a couple who had forgotten to request for an anniversary cake. “Using different food items from our snack bar and dessert selections, I was able to create a unique dessert accompanied by champagne and seasonal amenity kits. It was a small gesture that made a big difference to the couple’s flying experience,” he shares.
Another time, Benny had to comfort a distressed customer who was flying for the first time and feeling claustrophobic. “Thanks to my military training, I knew it was important to remain calm in such situations. To ease her discomfort, I reassured her that she was in a safe environment, and sought help from fellow colleagues to find a less crowded seating zone,” he says. “After she was comfortably settled in her new seat, I continued checking on her regularly. She appreciated the way the situation was handled, which reinforced my belief that my military experience has been invaluable in my cabin crew duties.”
Join the Singapore Airlines family
Interested in joining Singapore Airlines as a cabin crew? Be sure to check out the upcoming recruitment drives in Singapore (4 November, 2 December) and Malaysia (19 November). Visit this page for more details.
Gestures of appreciation
Benny notes that such acts of service are often met with gratitude, which makes his job all the more rewarding. “As a flight attendant, I’ve come to realise that gratitude can take various forms – from genuine thank-yous in customers’ native languages to happy babies gurgling away, or even a simple nod of acknowledgment at the end of a flight,” he says.
One of the most heartwarming moments of Benny’s career was meeting a young child named Emma on a flight to Zurich. As Emma was crying and fidgeting throughout the boarding process, he offered her a children’s activity pack and reassured her parents that the cabin crew was on hand to provide assistance if needed.
“I must have made an impression on her. Throughout the 13-hour flight, she sought me out to play whenever she was awake. I will always remember the joyous sound of Emma’s chuckles as she ran towards me for a hug,” he reflects. “This encounter taught me that small gestures can be meaningful for others, and that we should always strive to create positive experiences, even in the littlest ways.”
New adventures ahead
Besides interacting with customers from all walks of life, Benny also enjoys being able to travel the world. “One of the biggest perks of my job is exploring new destinations with my colleagues. From flying 19-hour flights to the United States to operating nine-day multi-sector flights from Manchester to Houston, we’ve had the opportunity to experience diverse cultures, landscapes and people,” he shares. “Whether it’s sampling culinary delicacies or engaging with locals, we make the most of our time in each place.”
Benny loves exploring new places with his fellow cabin crew members
Visiting the Great Wall of China was a reminder that there is so much beauty and wonder to be found in the world
His favourite travel memory so far is visiting the Great Wall of China in Beijing. “As I stood before such a magnificent feat of human engineering, I was overwhelmed with excitement and disbelief. The stunning views from atop the wall left me breathless, and I was struck by its enormity and incredible history,” he enthuses. “It was a reminder that there is so much beauty and wonder to be found in the world, and I’m so grateful to have experienced it first-hand.”
Benny is already looking forward to his next adventure with Singapore Airlines
While Benny has ventured far and wide with Singapore Airlines – from London to Ahmedabad to Sydney – he’s already looking forward to his next trip. “The experiences I’ve had on my travels have left me craving for more adventures, and I can’t wait to see where my next flight takes me,” he says.