Parker man trains students on 'Flight Attendant School'

In reality, it doesn't look like a difficult job. But reality television shows there is more to it than meets the eye

By Chris Michlewicz
Posted 3/2/06

In reality, it doesn't look like a difficult job. But reality television shows there is more to it than meets the eye. "Flight Attendant School," a …

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Parker man trains students on 'Flight Attendant School'

In reality, it doesn't look like a difficult job. But reality television shows there is more to it than meets the eye

Posted

In reality, it doesn't look like a difficult job. But reality television shows there is more to it than meets the eye.

"Flight Attendant School," a reality TV show that airs 7 p.m. Thursdays on the Travel Channel, takes viewers into the intricate world of those who aspire to be flight attendants. And a Parker man is helping them achieve their dreams.

Frank Barr, manager of flight attendant training for Frontier Airlines, is a cast member on the hit show. It's his job to make sure students are properly trained to handle every situation before taking to the skies on a real flight.

The six-week program is a grueling test for the students vying for a chance to work for Frontier Airlines full-time. The show is packed with drama as 36 people battle to become bona fide flight attendants. Eight students in particular were followed closely as they went through training at Denver International Airport and lived in a house near the aviation hub.

"The show follows them during training and after hours. It really balances people living together while going through a stressful training program," said Barr, who lives in the Prairie Crossing subdivision in Parker with his wife and two daughters.

Barr, 45, has been in charge of all aspects of flight attendant training at Denver -based Frontier Airlines for four years. He not only acts as an instructor, but also ensures the training crew has all the necessary tools to properly teach students. He is also the first stop for any disciplinary action and several students have gotten the ax since "Flight Attendant School" first aired in mid-January.

"The Travel Channel wanted a docu-drama," Barr said. "They thought it might make interesting TV to show what a flight attendant goes through. During the show there has been some drama: students have been let go for not passing testing standards, one for being late."

Although the Travel Channel completed filming last summer, the show is now in the middle of its nine-week season. It was mostly filmed at DIA and the contestant house, but the cameras also followed along as the flight attendant wannabes go through training for an emergency water landing. The show's producers reached an agreement with Waterworld to use its wave pool for raft training.

Emergency procedures for flight attendants have changed drastically since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. There is a renewed focus on tight security and observation of suspicious activity.

"There is increased security in what to watch for, how to react and overall awareness," Barr said. "They have to go through a two-day security program that teaches them hands-on self defense. Flight attendants now have a new role in the security end."

Barr hopes the Travel Channel will show the traveling public that flight attendants are "not just trained to serve Coke and crackers."

"The viewers are really going to see emergency procedures training for flight attendants," he said. "I think this will show that Frontier flight attendants and flight attendants in general can handle any emergency in the cabin. We're hoping to show people that all flight attendants are trained to very, very high standards."

Barr said he has not heard if "Flight Attendant School" will be picked up for a second season, and the Frontier Airlines staff would have to discuss the possibility before agreeing.

For more information about the show, visit www.travel.discovery.com and click on favorite fan sites.

Contact Chris Michlewicz at cmichlewicz@ccnewspapers.net.

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