Born and raised in Lisbon, Portugal, Pedro Fernandes graduated with a degree in geography from the New University of Lisbon in 2009. His first ever job was working as a flight attendant for ‘Europe’s favourite airline,’ Ryanair.
‘They were recruiting, so I applied and managed to make it,’ says Pedro. ‘I went to Germany to train, then I was based at London Stansted. I did almost 1,000 flights in one year – an average of four flights a day. I’d often arrive at home completely exhausted; my feet were begging for a rest! It was fun though.’
Pedro travelled all around the world meeting people from various walks of life, including a couple of celebrities. ‘I had Orlando Bloom on one of my flights. He was going to Venice and was very nice. I thought “Legolas… flying on Ryanair… crazy!”’
But it wasn’t always Hollywood high flyers. During one flight back to Stansted, two passengers came close to blows after getting carried away with the duty-free booze. ‘We had the right to deny them alcohol – and we did – but they didn’t like that; they wanted to drink. They started to threaten us, so we talked to the captain and made sure police officers were there to “welcome” them when they arrived at Stansted.
‘The flights over the Alps were memorable too. Sometimes there was a lot of turbulence. That kind of thing can be difficult. But it’s all part of the show!’
Sky’s the limit
After working at Ryanair for just over a year, Pedro jetted off to work as a customer service agent in a call centre, then as a ground agent at Lisbon Airport, working at the boarding gates and check-in. ‘It was definitely my most stressful job. When a flight was cancelled or delayed, we’d have hundreds of people shouting at us, even threatening us. I don’t miss that part very much.’
Pedro finally landed at Hiscox in September 2017. He’s currently based in Lisbon, but works as a policy administrator for the UK market, dealing mainly with underwriters and brokers, but also providing various support for policies, creating direct debits, endorsements and new quotes.’
‘In the past, I worked in a succession of very intense jobs; I was multitasking, managing deadlines, working in a fast-paced environment. That’s helped me a lot in working here. It’s been a really great experience so far – and much quieter too.’