When people find out I’m a flight attendant, I usually get variations of the same three questions: What’s it like? Do you see yourself doing this for a while? What’s your favorite place? Since these are loaded questions, let me flesh out the answers for ya.
“What’s it like?”
This is one of the few things in life I break my monotone voice for and actually
get excited about (besides when people ask if I want to get food, men who are proudly feminist, and when Beyoncé drops a new banger). IT’S AMAZING OK AND I LOVE IT. I’ve always been addicted to travel from a young age…it’s so surreal to me that I now get *paid* to do it. I have the freedom to travel anywhere, at anytime, for basically nothing. Jah Bless!
Being a flight attendant is a fairly chill job. That being said, it does take a toll on
you. It’s mentally and physically exhausting! Our trips are broken up into 1, 2, and 3
days and could have anywhere between 1-4 flights a day. We are constantly flying to
and from different time zones. Sleep? What’s that?
Also, unless you hold some sort of seniority, your schedule will be all over the place. Although I do love the flexibility this job gives me to create my own schedule each month, nothing is 100% guaranteed. This is the airline industry! It legit changes by the minute. I feel like most passengers think that somehow we are purposely sabotaging their travel plans. Um, no boo boo. We get affected by crazy weather, delays, and mechanicals too. We would much rather be drinking on our layover or binge-watching TV at home instead of stuck on a plane/ at the airport with crowds of irritated people or working into our off day.
I’m also on reserve for 6 days each month, which basically means on-call (the
amount of days you’re on reserve differs by airline and also by seniority). Being on
reserve is terrifying. You’re at the beck and call of the airline. For us, we can either know the day before where we’ll be flying to or we get notified 2-3 hours ahead of when we’re supposed to sign in at the airport. So you better get enough rest or hope and pray you don’t get that 3am wake up call!
Even though I have to deal with being on reserve and being permanently jet
lagged, the hardest part of my job is dealing with people. Don’t get me wrong, I get my
energy from being around others, and no doubt said “I love people!” during my
interview- the cliché-est cliché. But it’s not just dealing with the public, but your crew as well.
You literally meet who you’ll work with when you sign in for work. And will be with them for the next 3 days. Most of the time they’re cool or nice, other times they pick their nose while sitting right next to you. Or are a mega bitch who makes the whole crew look bad. Or are extremely lazy and you gotta pull their weight so shit gets done. You have allllll these personalities on one plane for days on end and it can just be a lot to handle sometimes.
“Do you see yourself doing this for a while?”
Listen, if you ever feel tempted to ask your friend/relative/complete stranger
who’s a flight attendant this question, stop yourself please. Why? Oh I dunno, because
it’s offensive AF?? Seriously, would you ask that to a person in any other profession? A
vet? Teacher? Personal Trainer? Believe it or not, being a flight attendant is a career.
Shocker, I know. And while there are a lot of people who try this job out for a bit, the majority of us are in this for the long run.
First off, the hiring process is really crazy. You basically have to be singled out
from tens of thousands of applications. Next, you have to pass training. Yup, once
you’re hired it’s conditional until you pass training with a certain average. And no, they didn’t teach us customer service skills or how to pass out snacks. For two months we were trained on SAFETY. Too many people assume that flight attendants are waitresses of the sky and forget that when something bad happens, we are the ones who know how to save your asses. We worked way too damn hard to get this job to just up and give it up! Oh yeah and I guess the perks aren’t too bad either :p
This is a lifestyle, and that’s not for everyone. While you may not be able to
realistically see yourself being shipped to and from all corners of the earth, THIS is our
normal. And we make it work. We may not always be home for the holidays, but we’re
often there for special moments that last forever. Being able to take my parents
somewhere on their birthdays, meeting my newborn nephew in the hospital, attending my cousin’s college graduation…these events are far more important to me than getting an ill-fitting sweater from Aunty on Christmas. Plus, we get paid more on holidays…hollaaaaa!
“What are your favorite places so far?”
So a little about layovers: Yes, the hotel is paid for, yes, transportation to and
from the hotel is pre-arranged, and yes, I can do whatever the hell I want to on my
layover. My domestic layovers range from 9 hours (minimum) to 30 hours.
Internationally, it’s between 24-48 hours. Anything above that goes to the oldie goldies…the flight attendants who have enough seniority to hold whatever trips they want on their line…we call these dinosaurs “senior mamas” and they don’t drop those trips for shit. I personally love picking up trips that layover in places where I have friends or family. Two birds, one stone. It gives me something to look forward to after flying all day.
I get asked all the time what my favorite places are. It’s so hard to choose! This is
akin to asking your parents who’s their favorite child. Why are you doing this to me?!
Another amazing thing about this job is that I’m always discovering new places.
Here’s a list of places that I’ve never been to before this job that really blew me away:
- Copenhagen: I wanted to move here! That Scandinavian design, the
water, the fact that EVERYONE and their mama looks like a model….just
really did something for me.
- Kauai: Honestly, it’s the most beautiful place I’ve ever laid eyes on. So
lush, the colors so vivid and air so fresh. I picked up this trip with two of my
friends. We rented a car and hiked down to Wailua Falls and it’s still one of my favorite travel memories.
- Tokyo: Tokyo is insane! It’s quirky, extremely safe, and really fun. You
can see, buy, and taste things you’ll never get to anywhere else. Best
believe I happily spent $10 to chill in an apartment full of cats. And ugh, the shopping?! Truly heavenly.
- Rome: Probably my favorite European destination. It’s so full of life, a
fusion of the old world and new. I feel like everyone has their favorite
touristy site, like the Eiffel Tower or whatever. Mine is the Trevi Fountain. Late at night it’s magical!
- Accra: My second time ever going to Africa was a layover in Accra
(Ghana). The food is BOMB and you can find a ton of beautiful things
at their busy markets. The people are super nice and their nightlife is poppin’.
So yes, I love my job and seeing myself doing it forever, hopefully! I love traveling. I love that I get to do it often. I practically have the whole world as a playground. And I’m not the sole beneficiary of these amazing travel perks. My parents get to travel, a friend of my choosing, and my future husband and children too. It’s the gift that keeps giving! On top of that I have the freedom and flexibility to customize my schedule every month. For all this, I’ll deal with weird crew members and cranky passengers ALL DAY *Kanye voice*. Being a flight attendant is exciting, and I honestly feel fulfilled in that I’m living my life the way I want to.