Nathalie Peterrson and Stefano Avelino are a couple who vlog their lives as flight attendants.
When flight attendants Nathalie Petersson and Stefano Avellino met two years ago, it would mark the beginning of a multi-faceted partnership. Aside from being coworkers, they quickly began dating, and in April 2021 they decided to start a joint YouTube channel called “Sense the Lens.”
They told Insider they have both been employed as Emirates cabin crew in Dubai for more than five years, but met for the first time when working together on a flight to Melbourne. They quickly realized they shared a love of filming as they traveled for work, sending short videos to family members to keep them updated on where they were.
Now, the couple vlog about their day-to-day lives as flight attendants, showing what they get up to during long layovers and how they deal with stress and burnout.
They spoke to Insider about their most popular video yet which has been viewed by millions of people, and said they wanted to take viewers behind the scenes to show what their job is really like.
The couple’s most-watched video ever takes viewers inside their experience as flight attendants.
On April 10, Petersson and Avellino posted a video titled, “INSIDE an EMIRATES FLIGHT as CABIN CREW – Things you DON’T see as a passenger,” where they said they obtained permission from Emirates to film the entire process they went through before, during, and after a flight from Dubai to Copenhagen. Emirates did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
The video received a million views within two days and now has 4.2 million views. It is now the couple’s most-viewed video, with most of their other posts receiving fewer than 100,000 views.
They said they created the video to answer some of the most-asked questions.
The pair told Insider they wanted to post this video to respond to various questions they received from commenters, who wanted to know more about what their job was like.
“It’s simple everyday stuff for us, but because no one else sees it, people find it so mysterious and interesting,” they said.
They filmed their journey to and from airports.
Just as passengers often have to leave hours before their flight to get to the airport in advance, Petersson and Avellino said cabin crew members also have to do a lot of traveling before a flight.
The couple filmed a large Emirates bus that they said picks cabin crew members up from their accommodation and takes them to the airport.
From there, they filmed another bus they said was specifically for crew members and would take them from the airport to the plane.
“So many of our commenters ask us, ‘How do you get to the plane because we barely see you guys inside the airport?” Petersson told Insider, adding, “We thought it would be interesting for people to actually see those details and travel with us on the way.”
After the flight touched down in Copenhagen, the pair also filmed themselves entering a third bus that took them from the airport to their hotel during their layover.
The couple said they wanted to show how much preparation goes into each flight.
Before the pair boarded the flight in the video, Avellino filmed a large room with empty chairs and a digital whiteboard in it. He said this was one of the “three briefing rooms” at Dubai International Airport where they were going to meet other crew members who would be on the flight and “have the flight briefing.”
Avellino told Insider the flight briefing usually happens around two hours before every flight so that “staff members can learn each other’s names and form a connection.” He also said cabin crew members are told in advance if any passengers are on board “require special assistance, such as a wheelchair, so we can help and be prepared in those situations.”
Petersson told Insider she wanted to use this part of the video to address misconceptions about her job. “So many people have told me they think working in a cabin crew is just ‘waitressing in the sky,’ but food service is effectively our last priority. We are mainly concerned about people’s safety, so we wanted to talk about that,” she said.
There are also safety concerns for flight attendants that people don’t often see, the couple said.
Near the beginning of the video, the couple filmed themselves packing and getting ready to leave for the airport.
As Avellino was getting dressed in the video, he showed viewers his tie, which was a clip-on tie that could be attached to the front of his shirt. He explained this was a safety measure put in place in case “people try to pull,” crew members using their ties during a confrontation.
Avellino told Insider, “There are some occasions where, unfortunately, we need to restrain a passenger. And having a proper tie could be dangerous for the male crew members in that case.”
He also said that while a passenger has never tried to pull at his tie, he has had to step in and put himself in harm’s way when people have gotten into fights on board. “The tie is a small detail, but it’s linked to an important part of our job,” he said.
There’s a lot more waiting around on a flight than people think, they said.
Petersson and Avellino said in their video that “many of our flights are busy,” and filmed themselves carrying out various tasks like handing out toys to younger passengers, doing safety checks, and making in-flight announcements.
However, they also filmed moments when they had “spare time” and were able to sit down for a quick meal while waiting for passengers to board the flight, or have a chat with one another after take-off. They told Insider that while they would usually have up to 300 people on board their flights, they filmed this video during a quieter journey with around 150 passengers.
The couple said they hoped this would debunk myths about life as a flight attendant, since many top comments under their videos mention how “exhausting” and “difficult” the life of a cabin crew member appears to be.
Petersson told Insider she thinks people make these comments because “they normally see cabin crew members running up and down the aisles and preparing stuff for the flight, but we wanted to film ourselves chilling and enjoying ourselves on the job too.”
Overall, the couple thinks people have become more interested in travel content because of the pandemic.
Petersson and Avellino told Insider they were happy to see their video perform so well on YouTube, receiving 40,000 likes and 1,600 comments. “People were really active when it came to commenting and engaging with us, and it was heartwarming to hear them say they liked our video and appreciate our work,” said Avellino.
Petersson added that she thinks interest in travel content is “growing and growing,” mainly because of the effects of the pandemic, which mean that “people who still are not able to travel or don’t feel comfortable getting on a packed flight can come and travel with us through our videos.”
On social media, people have previously gone viral for showing unusual events that happened inside a plane or for sharing travel hacks that advise people about how to pack for a flight. The hashtag “Travel” has 76 billion views on video-sharing platform TikTok.
The couple told Insider they want to keep sharing behind-the-scenes footage about their work so that people who haven’t had the chance to go on holiday in recent years can feel like they have had “a little break from being inside.”
For more stories like this, check out coverage from Insider’s Digital Culture team here.