14 May, 2021
The sky is the limit
We catch up with an important member of the Qantas staff
MARNIE Louise Sluice, 73, is the longest-serving air hostess in Australia.
She had been an air hostess for just over 52 years and doesn’t have any plans of touching down anytime soon.
Ms Sluice was in Longreach at the weekend in celebration of the Red Tail, Road to 100 event.
Ms Sluice started as an air hostess on January 6, 1969, a month before her 21st birthday as a part of Trans Australia Airlines (TAA) before it merged with Qantas.
Marnie has been flying domestically for 45 years and then transferred to international in 2014.
She is a part of the international cabin crew in Business First, where she is a galilee operator.
She has been endorsed on over nine aircraft over her career including DC3’s, DC4, DC9, The Electra aircraft, 767, Airbus 747, F27, 727.
Ms Sluice trained in Melbourne where after six weeks of training she returned to Brisbane.
“I started international on April 1, 2014, and I am still a current flight attendant, I still do the business class galilees and I can’t wait to get started and start with the brand-new Qantas,” said Ms Sluice.
“Qantas has allowed me to travel and see so many destinations that I never would have had the opportunity to do.
“Singapore, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Santiago, South Africa, and even Antarctica are all some of the many places I have been able to travel to.”
Marnie said the highlight of her career was working with the community.
“Working for Business First, I consider that fact that everything must be pristine, it must be like Master Chef, no plate goes out dirt,” she said.
Ms Sluice has a sharp wit for her age, she commented on how she is a morning person and is full of energy, even on the late 10pm departing flights.
“I love meeting people and engaging with them and I just love being in this job,” said Ms Sluice.
“If people come to me and say ‘It's my husband's birthday’ I ask them, ‘do you want the Marilyn Munroe rendition or just a basic happy birthday song’.
“Most will say ‘we will take the Marilyn Munroe edition’.
“I know I have the worst voice, but it is just fun, and people love it,” said Ms Sluice.
Ms Sluice said customer service is a vital part of her role.
“Qantas has so many different brands and one of the brands I am part of emphasises a warm welcome and warm goodbye, it is about making memorable moments with the customer.
“We need the return business to keep our brand going and to keep Qantas in the sky and that is what it is all about for me.”
Being warm extends beyond professionality for Ms Sluice, as she also does volunteer work for Act For Kids, which is a charity that aims to prevent the neglect and abuse of children in domestic violence cases.
She assists in running a playgroup during the school terms.
“I will make sure I remember their names and compliment them as these women need to feel valued and cared about,” she said.
“It can also be as simple as remembering their coffee order.
“The brands and associations with people that we learn about at Qantas, that are our trademark, can be carried through everyday life and that is what I find fantastic about this job.”
Ms Sluice said the Red Tail reunion weekend was a fabulous way to connect with Qantas staff.
“The highlight for me was looking at the 747 and seeing the luminescent light show that played out, it was amazing.”
“The whole event was so well orgainised, and we even got to attend the country races and see the horses gallop past with all the dirt behind them.
“It was fabulous to be back in Longreach, and to stay at the Jumbuck Hotel, as it was a walk down memory lane from when I used to fly domestic and overnight here in Longreach at the Jumbuck.”
Ms Sluice has no plans of turning in her wings anytime soon.
“I just can’t wait to get back into the air again and see all my frequent flyers and take to the skies,” said Ms Sluice.