A woman is flying the plane: Female pilot breaks stereotype

Published March 8, 2021, 6:36 PM

by Czarina Nicole Ong Ki

  • Second Officer Alyanna Arañez is a registered nurse who pursued her dream to be a pilot.
  • She wanted to be a pilot since she was in high school because she loved traveling, meeting people, and trying new cuisines.
  • Some passengers would ask for their photos to be taken with her to show their children that women are now flying planes.
  • Seeing families reunited in the airports is what tells her that she had done a good job.
  • When flying was disrupted during the lockdowns, she designed silk and cotton sleepwear and sold them online.  The merchandise is selling very well.

There is an undeniable stereotype in the aviation industry where pretty girls are flight attendants and the men are pilots.

But female pilots are slowly breaking the stereotype. One of them is  Alyanna Alexandria H. Arañez, 28.

Alyanna Arañez

Arañez wanted to be a pilot ever since she was in high school. Because her mom used to be a flight attendant, she was exposed to the aviation culture early on and she was used to travelling.

The fast-paced life excited her. Exploring new places, meeting new people, and trying out different cuisines were something that she wanted to do for a living. Instead of following her mother’s footsteps, Arañez wanted to carve her own path.

That path led her to being known in her workplace as Second Officer Alyanna Arañez.

But this woman may have broken more than just the stereotype of a pilot’s gender.  She is also a registered nurse.  But since she felt that flying is in her blood, after graduating from college, she bravely pursued her dream of becoming a pilot and entered the Philippine Airlines Aviation School.

“I feel like my personality is more fit to be a pilot,” she said. “I wanted to be in control. It’s also about service to the people. They might not see me at all times during the flight, but I serve them by making sure that I do my best in bringing them safely to where they need to be.”

She said she gets her confirmation of a job well done when she sees families reunited and hugging each other in the airports.

Arañez said being a pilot is a demanding job, but she took on all the challenges with gusto. In school, she studied hard because good grades were crucial to being accepted as a pilot. Arañez also discovered that the studying never stops because pilots are constantly learning new skills and updating their techniques.

“We always have to be at our best. We must be mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared every flight,” she said.

Arañez admitted that she was not the smartest among her peers. But there was one thing that made all the difference in her career: “I was determined,” she said. “Whatever you put your mind, heart, and soul into, you can achieve.”

She soon discovered that being a pilot was not all fun and excitement.  It also demanded personal sacrifices.  “Sometimes I don’t get to celebrate special life events with my family due to my schedule. I miss out on birthdays and Christmas,” she said.

When asked if her gender ever became a hindrance in her career, Arañez shook her head. “Luckily, I am blessed to be able to work in an environment that encourages gender equality and women empowerment,” she said.

In fact, Arañez has observed that being a female pilot actually inspires people as she would often get encouraging smiles and nods from disembarking passengers.

FEMALE PILOT IS ALSO A NURSE. – Second Officer Alyanna Arañez is actually a registered nurse, but flying is in her blood. After graduating from college, she pursued her dream of becoming a pilot and entered the Philippine Airlines Aviation School.

“It’s the 21st century,” she said. “People are more than excited to see women taking over the skies. There were instances when passengers would ask to have a photo taken with me so they can show it to their children.”

When the pandemic broke out, Arañez’s job was affected and she had more personal time than she was used to. Not one to do nothing, the young pilot stepped into a completely new territory – online business.

From the skies to online

Since people were spending more time at home, Arañez realized the value of comfortable sleepwear and loungewear. She knew people wanted to feel good about themselves even when stuck at home, so she launched @thegoodsleepcoph, where she offers pretty silk or bamboo cotton pajama sets.

Arañez was surprised by the feedback she received for her products. “I do a happy dance for every purchase made by my customers!” she gushed.

Now that the aviation industry is slowly getting back on its feet, Arañez finds herself busier as she juggles time between career and her business. But she is not complaining.

“The pandemic gave me more time to expand my creative side. I really do enjoy conceptualizing my business. I have something to look forward to since I’m continually learning how to run a business.”