It's about 3 in the morning and my phone is ringing.
I Sit up, pull myself halfway together, and slide my thumb across the screen of my iPhone to answer the call from crew scheduling.
"Hello," I say. I do my best to make it sound like they didn't wake me up. It doesn't work.
"Hello, is this Zachary?"
"We gave you an assignment. You check in at 5:30am for airport alert."
"Yeah. Okay, have a good one."
Listen, I love my job BUT I hate airport alert. It's one of the only things I despise about my job. What is airport alert? Yeah, most people that aren't fligt crew know what that is.
Airport alert is an assignment anywhere from 4-6 hours where you go chill at the airport. You may or may not get called to go somewhere. You really never know.
See, when when a scheduler calls you for an assignment, they have to give you a certain amount of hours to get to the airport. In my case, it's 3 hours. From the time they ring me to give me an assignment, they have to give me at least three hours before I have to check in.
So have us sit airport is a "just in case" something goes wrong. Just in case a crew goes illegal, we are there to work the flight. In case someone calls off last minute, no worries I'm there to work it. An incoming crew is delayed? Relaaaaax - I've got this.
Think of it as a security blanket for the airline. Because we are sitting in the crew room, in uniform, and ready to go, they don't have to call another crew member from home. Which means they don't have to create a delay for the flight. No one likes delays. Well, sometimes I love delays. Like when I'm running late and I really needed a cup of fully loaded guacamole from Frontera Grill at Chicago O'Hare. Then I love delays.
Anyway, when you are sitting airport alert, you pretty much have free rain to do whatever you want. You can sleep, binge watch Grey's Anatomy, chit chat with your friends, call your mom, whatever you desire, as long as you are ready to go runningif scheduling calls you.
Am I paid for this time? Kinda. We do get paid for the hours we are airport alert, but reserve flight attendants are salaried to a certain hour so, only kind of.
Now, why would I despise airport alert so much? I have many reasons. I will list them below.
1. I was sleeping
You woke me up at 3am to pay to go to the airport, sit in an uncomfortable chair for 4 hours, and most likely pay to come back home. I'd be much happier if you woke me up at 3am for a long beachy layover with margaritas and tacos.
2. It give me anxiety
Not knowing if I will or will not be flying is nerve wracking. You never know when scheduling is going to call you and send you on a 15 hour flight to Shanghai. I never want that to happen to me again.
3. All dressed up and for what
So I woke up at 3am to shower and shave and iron and tuck and tie to not go anywhere. Thanks for that. Now I am all cleaned and shaved to lay in bed for the rest of my life. Goodbye.
So there you have it. You know a little bit more about the glamorous life of a flight attendant. I honestly just needed to vent a little bit because as I am writing this I am sitting airport alert. This is my 5TH day in a row here. Ugh.
What do you do for a living? WHats your least favorite part and why? Comment below, YO.
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A little over a year 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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