Everyone thinks it. You think it. He thinks it. Your mom thinks it.
"Flight attendants have it so easy. They serve drinks and they travel the world for free and they are all so pretty and perfect and they have absolutely not problems or cares or bills or friends or family or hobbies or life at all!"
While some of that is true (especially the pretty and perfect part), you are also giving up a whole lot for this career. Before I had this job, I felt the same way that you do now. I thought I would get through training and my life would be complete. I didn't realize some of the things I would be giving up. The things that I used to say complete me are no longer a part of my life, and that is okay. For me? It is worth it. It will always be worth it.
How about you? Could you lose this list to live the "glamorous" flight attendant life?
Let us see...
1. Consistency - In every sense of the word.
A lot of your career as a flight attendant, you are on what's called "reserve." Reserve is a very complicated system that I could not possibly explain through text. In short, it means you have about 10 days off a month, but other than that you are one call. Yes, every day. On call. They can call you at any time to assign you a trip and you have three hours to get your butt to the airport. One minute you are bundled up on your couch, halfway into a gallon of Ice-cream and binge watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. The next minute you are showering, packing your bags and on your way to the airport! It is almost like a game!
2. Hobbies that run on schedule
Before I became a flight attendant, I was a HUGE theatre geek. I gave seven years of my life to the theatre. I loved it. I never thought I would turn theatre into a career, but I thought for sure I would be a cast/crew member for the rest of my life. I thought wrong!
Like I stated previously, as a flight attendant, you have no set schedule. You never know where you are going, and you never know when you are going. Things like theatre and sports and jazzercise and knitting classes all run on a schedule. You cannot make commitments because you truly never know. Even if somehow you could gauge your schedule and get certain days or times off, there are still delays and cancellations. Basically, you just never know.
This one has absolutely nothing to do with your schedule. You just will never have money. Ever. For clothes or shoes or food or toilet paper. Shopping is simply not an option.
I promise...it is worth it.
4. "Bummin It"
This one is obviously a little bit less serious, but I still consider it a huge loss. I remember being younger waking up super early to go to the airport for a family vacation. My family and I would wake up, brush our teeth and head to the airport. That was it. Simple as that. No combing of the hair, no changing of the clothes, no looking in the mirrors. It was a simpler time in my life that I like to brood about sometimes.
Now anytime I have to go to the airport (which is always), I wake up hours before to shave and shower and iron and look in every mirror on my way out the door. Even if I am going just to travel on my own person time. I still have to look presentable. If I don't? They could potentially not let me on the aircraft. YIKES.
I won't lie to you though, as I am sitting her typing this I am wearing gym shorts, long wool socks, a t-shirt, two sweaters with a blanket around me. I enjoy "bummin it"
5. Friendships you had before.
This is one that I have had a particularly hard time with. You leave your hometown to go through five weeks of rigorous training. Then you move across the country with a beast of a schedule. It is inevitable that you will lose touch with people that you have been friends with for years, and that is okay. Life is about growing and leaving your comfort zone. That does not make it easy though.
Of course there are people back home that I will always have a strong connection with. I will always create time to reach out to them and catch up when I am home, but you can only do so much with this lifestyle. Sometimes it is other people who do not care to deal with the crazy schedule.
On the other hand, you are always meeting new people. Every time you get on a plane you make new friends. I make new friends every single day.
(Shoutout to all my people back home! Love you and miss you!)
6. Personal space.
Say goodbye...forever. It is no longer a part of your life. Not one bit. In case you have never been on a plane, they are tiny. Even the bigger ones are small. They are small when they are empty, and then we shove 200+ people into them.
So the galleys are tiny, and you usually will be working in them with one other person. Constantly reaching over and sliding past each other. It can get pretty tight. You get used to it though.
Then there is the aisle. The very narrow long aisle full of people who all need something. They need it from you and they need it now. Walking down that aisle you are grabbed and poked and tapped and it really never stops. You turn around with a smile and politely ask them what you can do for them. It is a part of the job.
7. No more holidays.
Ahhhhhhhhh, another tough one. I personally had very little trouble with this, but most people have a lot of trouble with it. This past year I was in Seattle for Thanksgiving, Houston on Christmas Eve, San Fransisco on Christmas, and Costa Rica on New Years. My family? They were in Indiana, and it really was not as bad as I thought it would be.
In losing family time on the holidays, you have the opportunity to create special bonds with your co-workers. I will never forget Thanksgiving 2015 with Jennifer. We went to the hotel's buffet that came with free champagne and we had an amazing time talking and getting to know each other.
I also will never forget Christmas when I laid in bed in my underwear for six straight hours binge watching Grey's Anatomy with an entire large pizza.
You win some, you lose some.
8. A healthy sleep Schedule.
This 100% has to do with the inconsistency of the job. One day you are domestic and that is fine and then the next you are flying to China and they are 15 hours away and 13 hours ahead. That will do weird things to your body...and your mind.
I flew the trip to China, got back, and then had to fly to Scotland. Two international trips in a row will kill you. That was about two weeks that I slept exclusively during the day and was awake all night. I had no control over when my body wanted to sleep. Even now, it is 11pm and I have to be at the airport at 6am. Am I tired? Not one bit. Will I be tomorrow morning? I will not be tired because I will be dead.
9. Relaxation during personal travel.
This is one that I never expected, but it actually makes a lot of sense. In your five weeks of training you are taught to never become comfortable. You should always be completely aware of your surroundings. I can still here my instructor, Adam, saying,
"DO NOT GET COMPLACENT"
I swear he said it about 34 times a day, and for good reason. Although it is unlikely, anything could go wrong. You just never know. Life is like that whether you are 37,000 feet in the air or if you are sitting at your desk in the office. You just do not know.
There are times when I will be half asleep on a flight and as soon as I hear a call bell I am wide awake and ready to go give CPR. What did that person need? Probably not CPR, but a Diet Coke and a snack box. Still, I was ready to give CPR. It is not even possible to ring a call bell if you need CPR, but I was ready and that is all that matters.
That is just how it goes. That is why you should always feel safe on a flight.
They trained us well.
So there you have it. Now you know. I have bestowed my wisdom upon you. Remember as I am writing this post I have only been a flight attendant for three months. You figure it all out pretty quickly.
I know I know some of this sounds hard. You're probably thinking how any of us can handle missing out on these things. Trust me when I say that it is all worth it.
I would not change my life for anything. Nothing at all. Nada. Zip.
If you had this job, you would feel the same.
Would you deal with lifestyle
Three years ago I made the bold (and crazy) decision to drop out of school, quit my job and move across the country to start my life as a cabin crew member. With my suit freshly pressed and my shiny wings pinned to my heart, I was ready to take on the world. ....read more.
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