TODAY |

Flight attendants grounded by pandemic now gracing the aisles of KiwiRail's scenic trains

Over a dozen out of work flight attendants are putting their world class customer service to good use, this time on KiwiRail's scenic trains.

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They’ve been snapped up for a new premium rail service. Source: 1 NEWS

KiwiRail launched a brand-new premium service after lockdown on its coastal Pacific and tranz-alpine trains, turning flight attendants into train attendants.

After four years flying with Air New Zealand Ash Nobari was made redundant due to Covid-19.

“It was devastating because flying was a career that I absolutely loved and something that I saw myself doing for a really long time,” he told 1 NEWS.

However, Nobari is enjoying his new role closer to the ground.

“It’s nice not just seeing clouds out the window,” he said while working on the train to Kaikōura this morning.

Also now working on the tracks is Carla Elliott, she was a business class attendant for Qantas after eight years in the sky.

“A lot of cabin crew were in denial and quite upset about not being able to return to their original jobs.

“For us we're quite lucky because they’ve (KiwiRail) taken us on and we're still doing exactly what we were doing,” Elliott said.

While numbers on the trains are down due to international travel bans, it’s good training for when overseas tourists return.

“It’s a really challenging time for the tourism industry full stop and also for airlines, so we're really proud of the fact that we can offer 16 new jobs to people who otherwise would be unemployed at this time,” KiwiRail's executive general manager Ahleen Rayner said.