“I love my nail clients, but I have to say that flying is my life,” says Eleni Ioannou, a nail tech for the past 11 years and the owner of a small nail studio in Limassol, Cyprus. For the past 23 years, Ioannou has also been enjoying life as a flight attendant. She spent 20 years working for Cyprus Airways, her country’s national carrier, until it shut its doors in January 2015. Early this year, she started flying again, this time with a smaller airline that recently set up shop in Cyprus.
As a flight attendant for Cyprus Airways, she travelled throughout Europe, the Persian Gulf, and the Middle East. “I stopped overnight in most cities, which gave me the opportunity to see so many places. I took in museums, plays, musicals, restaurants, bars, and whatever beauty a country had to offer,” Ioannou says. “I met many interesting passengers, from politicians to actors and musicians.”
At her new job, the flights are shorter. “We fly to neighboring countries in little propeller planes and we work solo — that means a lot of responsibility, but it’s so exciting,” she says. “I like the relaxed style of short, single-day flights as it fits my current lifestyle and works really well with the nail studio.”
Her duties on these shorter flights have more to do with safety than with passenger care. “I serve drinks to the passengers and chat with them, but I also do all the paperwork that is required for the flight, liaise with the pilots and ground staff, make all the necessary announcements, do the safety demonstrations, and make sure that everyone on the plane is well.”
Combining her two careers is surprisingly easy. “I do nails on my days off and work at the nail studio by appointment. All this has become a way of life for me — a very fulfilling and happy one,” she says. “Flying gives me such energy and it makes me feel so alive to be up there. The interaction with the passengers, the responsibility — the whole buzz is so addictive.”