Flying high: Age no obstacle for 60yo senior AirAsia flight steward Nordin Razali

Senior AirAsia Cabin Crew Nordin Razali

By Wilfred Pilo

Photos courtesy of Nordin Razali and AirAsia

KUCHING, July 11: If you happen to be seated comfortably some 30,000 feet in the sky on the same flight served by AirAsia senior cabin crew Nordin Razali, you would probably assume at first glance that he is a young, energetic, well-groomed and well-mannered air steward.


You would be right, except for the part about his age—Nordin is 60-years-old. At an age where many people would be already retired or looking forward to slowing down, he still turns heads with his youthful looks and energy.

Blessed with good health and a job with the airline for the last 16 years, Nordin said he does not think much about his youthful appearance and feels surprised to receive compliments on his looks from passengers and other people he comes in contact with. However, he appreciates their kind words.

Nordin (second right) and his colleagues take a we-fie before boarding their flight.

Nordin, who has been in the air travel and service industry for 35 years, said age is just a number and part of his job as an air steward is to look as good and as charming as possible while ensuring he gives his utmost to ensure passengers’ needs are met.

He said that flight crew members have to be in good health and physical shape to carry out their duties immaculately, as they are representing the airline.

He said to maintain his energy and work routine over the years, he has to eat right and exercise well.

“We have an officer who will gauge our health, check our BMI (body mass index) and speak to us about our well-being frequently. It is just routine for us in the end. I ate the right diet, run and practise tai-chi, and qigong from social media to stay in shape,” he revealed.

“So if you intend to stay in the job and as cabin crew, you have to keep that part of the bargain and focus on being in good shape and your health in general,” he told reporters during a special interview arranged by AirAsia at a cafe here yesterday.

Nordin (seated second left) and his wife Amy Haslinda (on Nordin’s left) with their three daughters and son at home.

The father of four—three daughters and a son aged between 22 to 33—disclosed that he joined the airline industry after finishing his diploma and embarked on his career as an air cabin crew member in 1989.

“After finishing my studies, I applied for a job in an airline company and got it. I then made a career move in the same industry and joined AirAsia in 2008.”

Nordin who is from Kuching said he is supposed to retire this year, but AirAsia has extended his employment.

He said he is blessed as he is able to earn a livelihood and provide for his family, who are all doing well.

Nordin feels he is blessed not only at work but also with success as a family man.

“I am proud of my family. My wife is my backbone and a businesswoman owning a cafe, and my two eldest children are in a different industry and doing well. My eldest is a lecturer in an institution of higher learning in West Malaysia, my second is an engineer in an energy company based in Sarawak, my third is having an interview today, and my only son is doing his mechanical engineering (studies).”

Nordin (left) and his 93-year-old father Razali.

Nordin said that his family is his inspiration as he travels across the skies doing his daily job for almost 75 per cent of his career.

“I always made time for my family when I was off duty and on leave. My wife and I are outdoor enthusiasts, so we bring our family to do outdoor activities. So, we are not cocooned. I always worried about their studies, ensured they did well, and instilled spiritual beliefs.”

He said he brings his experience and composure in dealing with passengers to his family life.

“As a father and head of the family, I treat them with patience, dignity, and honesty, and share values I learned from reading books about life, health, and cognitive behaviour. I do a lot of reading to gain knowledge and philosophy of life that could give us added value.

“I am glad they have become decent people and learned as much from them, especially with the latest technology, as people my age are a bit backward. But having to deal with current knowledge on technology and move forward, we have to know and be in the know, especially in my job and industry.”

Nordin prepares food to serve to passengers on board an AirAsia flight.

Nordin said the airline industry has changed over the years, and it is also all about the comfort of using technology. Working as a cabin crew member of his generation, he has had to learn fast.

“Of course, we have ups and downs, but having confidence in ourselves and others is a motivational factor to bring forward in our job with our colleagues and management. So, for example, over the years on the job, having experienced the beauty of helping women in labour, delivering babies and such, is a sheer delight.

“Then, you appreciate what you learnt in first aid and saving lives. I think that is also a personal reward that you cannot anticipate but are proud of and of course, the more accolades the airline gets, the more you and your colleague want to be part of the team,” he further shared.

Nordin (left) with AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Tony Fernandes at an airline function.

Nordin, who is presently AirAsia’s oldest cabin crew member, hoped that younger colleagues will continue to be diligent and tactful if they want to be in the industry.

“For those who want to join, you must have a good command of English and have very good, public relations skills and communication with a great attitude as you are dealing, with all sorts of passengers. It is a job responsibility and image is part of it,” he advised.

Nordin, who recently had his employment extended for another year, is glad that his services are still needed and will continue to contribute to ensuring that passengers are taken care of by him and his colleagues until they reach their destinations comfortably and that they adhere to tthr airline’s standard.

“Of course, I will not stay forever, and I express my gratitude to AirAsia and the management for having me and allowing me to be their employee a while more even at retirement age,” he said.

Nordin exercises in the gym to keep in shape and for good health.

AirAsia Director of Sarawak Affairs Hamdan Mohamad described Nordin as an employee who has had an impact on his fellow cabin crew members, and him sharing his experience gained over the years is very valuable to their airline.

“His dedication as an employee would be much appreciated and we hope it will be emulated by his colleagues. AirAsia would always want people like Nordin. He is not retired yet so we look forward to seeing him in the cabin during his flight shift,” he said. — DayakDaily