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I’m a British Airways flight attendant on the A380 and my cabin crew daughter inspired me to join the ranks aged 55. Here’s what it’s like being in a high-flying family…

A mum told how she found a new set of wings travelling the world for work after being inspired by her British Airways cabin-crew daughter to join the ranks.

Christine Barnes, 66, said ‘the world opened up to me’ as soon as she stepped into the role back in 2011.

Now, she heads a team of 22 crew members as an inflight manager onboard the Airbus A380 and has ‘lost count’ of how many countries she has visited – with Saudi Arabia next on her bucket list.

Her lightbulb moment to change career came when she accompanied her daughter Sophie, 36, on a work trip and saw how much she was enjoying the role.

‘I loved the professionalism and the camaraderie of the crew,’ she said. ‘I felt that I needed to be part of this lifestyle and I was looking for a new challenge.’

Christine Barnes (right) decided to retrain as a British Airways flight attendant after seeing how much her daughter Sophie (left) enjoyed the role

The mother and daughter worked on their first flight together, to Philadelphia. Here, they are pictured at a hotel in the U.S city

Sophie, now a BA customer service trainer who sometimes flies as an inflight manager, encouraged her mum to apply for the job – convinced that Christine could bring skills from her previous career as a salon owner and hairdresser.

Although the training was ‘a challenge’, Christine said the job has been amazing so far and she has no plans to stop any time soon.

‘Some of our family were very surprised when I decided on a career change at a time when most people my age were winding down and thinking about retiring,’ she said. 

‘I couldn’t believe the places I was going to on a weekly basis – and the experiences I have shared with other crew, most of whom who are still friends.’

Seven years into the role, Sophie moved from Gatwick Airport to Heathrow, where her mum is also based.

The pair then worked on their first – and only – flight together, to Philadelphia, U.S.

LEFT: Christine holding Sophie at her Christening in 1991. RIGHT: The pair are known by crew as ‘Sophie’s Mum’ and ‘Christine’s Daughter’

Christine said it was great showing her daughter the ropes onboard the aircraft and visiting Philadelphia’s Rocky Steps together during the layover.

In the style of the BBC show ‘The Traitors’, where contestants often have to conceal their true identity, they decided not to tell their fellow crew that they were related until they had touched down in the U.S.

‘It was very strange to pretend that we didn’t know each other,’ Sophie said. 

‘Once the crew found out, they were surprised but could see the similarities.’

The pair are now known by crew as ‘Sophie’s Mum’ and ‘Christine’s Daughter’ and said they would love for all of their family to experience the ‘amazing lifestyle’.

LEFT: Sophie, as a child, in Orlando, U.S. RIGHT: Sophie and Christine pictured in front of Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth

Other funny moments include the time Sophie jumped on a flight to Vienna and surprised her mum at the boarding door.

‘She had no idea I was joining her on the flight,’ she said.

‘It was so funny to see her so confused as to why I was there. I wish I could have captured it.’ 

Christine said she hasn’t experienced as many challenges as she thought she would, having changed career aged 55.

‘I am healthy for my age, and I think to be crew you must be resilient,’ she said.

Christine heads a team of 22 crew members as an inflight manager onboard the Airbus A380

Sophie encouraged her mum to apply for the job – convinced that Christine could bring skills from her previous career as a salon owner and hairdresser. Here, the pair are pictured on a trip to New York in 2014

In fact, she has found that becoming crew later in life has helped her with adapting to the role and being a good manager.

‘I find that I don’t get homesick while I’m away but I do look forward to getting home after a trip,’ she said.

‘I often feel like a mother at work and find that I can draw upon the experiences of bringing up three children in my role as a manager. It is important as a manager and to listen and care for my team.’

Sophie shared her mum’s sentiments, setting the sky as the limit.

‘It’s never too late to start a new career or try and do something different,’ she said.

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