Jordan Milano Hazrati is not someone who gives up easily. The pandemic shook her professional life but she was able to see the crisis as an opportunity: she lost her job as a flight attendant but reshaped her career and became a pilot.
After working as a flight attendant for Jet2 in Manchester, in February 2020 she was offered the opportunity to work for Virgin Atlantic in London. “That was all I ever wanted, I still can’t believe I did it,” she said to CNN.
I sat on my first flight at Heathrow landing in the cockpit and I’ll never forget that view of the sunrise and I’m so happy I got to do it. And the crew are the most amazing people – the job was really done by the peopleJordan Milano Hazrati
Eight months later she lost her job because of the downturn in the aviation industry. Hazrati’s last flight for Virgin Atlantic was a repatriation flight from New York to Heathrow in April 2020, helping passengers rush to sick relatives or get home in the middle of a foreclosure.
Despite the difficult and challenging outlook, Hazrati seized the pandemic as an opportunity to play a play for what she always deeply wanted: the job of a pilot. Hazrati told CNN she doesn’t remember a time when she decided to fly. “I’ve always been fascinated by aviation. But I never wanted to admit it for fear of the cost. Learning to fly is notoriously expensive and a big hurdle for those who don’t come from wealthy backgrounds,” she said.
In 2017, her parents bought her a flying lesson for her birthday. They knew much she loved to fly on a plane. “When we got off the runway and then took off, I was addicted. Ten seconds is all it took – the instructor said he was going to take off, I was rolling on the runway scared, but I did it, I got in the air.”
However, she still couldn’t gain momentum. According to Hazrati, learning to fly is a lifelong commitment. It can be costly; many find it challenging to keep getting the resources. When the pandemic hit, while many people decided to accumulate as much savings as possible, Hazrati took a risk. She decided to invest all his money in his dream of becoming a pilot.
I probably realized I was only sure when I was pushed by redundancy. There came a point where I thought not only did I want to do it, but it was the perfect time. I could have paid off my student debt or bought a house, but I have no regretsJordan Milano Hazrati
Since she started training in March 2021, she has spent £14,000 ($19,200), but that’s a fraction of the final figure. She says the qualification takes up to three years and costs around £50,000-60,000 ($69,000-82,000), and is the cheapest way to go. Some courses are dual. She has also received a scholarship from The Air League, a non-profit organization in the UK, to help her complete his PPL (private pilot license) training.
Since losing her job, Hazrati has done several jobs to stay afloat during the pandemic: personal trainer, waitress, caller for the UK National Vaccination Hotline and a Christmas fairy. She also volunteered at a vaccination clinic and now, seven jobs later, works as a human factors specialist for another airline.
But every week she’s in the air and working toward her ultimate goal. And even when she’s on site, she’s learning routes and learning theory: she thinks she’s putting in at least 15 hours in advance for his weekly flights.
Hazrati not only began training during the pandemic, but also went back to school, learning to be a master of human factors and aviation. Se gives advice on ‘human factors,’ the way people interact with aviation, which encompasses everything from ergonomics to decision-making to occupational psychology, as a key sector for the post-pandemic emergency.
Flying is important for her but not all kinds of flying are the same. She says she would be happy to trade the glamorous cabin crew trips to Johannesburg, Hong Kong and Los Angeles for brief domestic trips, as long as she can sit in the cockpit.