small changes can lead to big differences.

Friday, September 28, 2012

real life flight attendant

Are all days the same for flight attendants? oh hell no.

here's a great example of something that can happen on just a regular day of work.

I decided to pick up some extra flying before I began my 4 day trip. Two nights ago, before I went to work, I swear I had this weird feeling about the next day. I couldn't help but wonder if I was actually going to make it to my 4-day, including my layover in Bozeman (my favorite place!).

The first flight should've been an indication: we were going to be arriving in Hartford 20 minutes behind schedule because of headwinds. We ended up arriving just five minutes late, but as soon as we began boarding our next group of passengers, the real trouble began.

just chillin in the hotel.. 
Not only were ATC towers (or something) down, our airplane had a mechanical issue where the pilots had to do everything by hand. It's not worth getting into those gritty details because surely they're not important to you, but it was a pain, took forever and we were weight restricted. We ended up leaving Hartford an hour behind schedule and with a plane full of infuriated people who were going to be missing their connections. I was working in the cabin, so I was the flight attendant who had to calm everyone. I spent the entire 1.5 hour flight to Washington D.C. talking to almost every passenger, delivering the bad news but still trying to instill hope in them. I showed several people the diagrams of the airport, told them what to do once they got to D.C, and showed remorse when I knew they'd miss their flight. I truly felt bad, especially when I found out we were going to be arriving in a gate light years away from 90% of the connections.

By the end of the flight, I had several people thank me, and I could tell a lot more were relaxed or had accepted their fate. Being a flight attendant truly requires very, very thick skin. You have to let things roll off you - including insults (of course, there's definitely a line, but you have to decide when it's crossed.), snarky remarks, unhappy passengers, etc. We, the crew, know the reality of the airline industry. It's rarely perfect. Most things that happen truly aren't OUR FAULT, the airline, it's just the fact that sometimes there's a lot of traffic going into O'hare so we have to wait extra long to get released, or there's a storm on the way so we have to go around it which means our flight is longer, or maybe operations at whichever airport we're at isn't working correctly. So many people say "I HATE THIS AIRLINE!" and I just shake my head. It's not the airline telling us we can't take off yet, and we certainly are not responsible for the storms. Yet it almost feels like so many people need to find something else (or someone) to blame. It's wrong, yes, but again, we're used to it - it's just part of the job.
what my hotel rooms look like. crap everywhere! 

Anyway, after we arrived in D.C, I, too started to accept my fate that I probably wouldn't end up in my amazing hotel room in Bozeman. I still clung to hope, but that hope died when we landed in St. Louis and I found out our flight to Chicago was cancelled and we'd all be staying in STL for the night. The rest of my current crew flew out this morning at 5am, and I'm still here, in my hotel room, waiting until 3pm so I can go to the airport, deadhead (fly on a flight but not work it) to Denver, sit there for 4 hours and then re-join my crew to work the last flight from DEN-BZN. I feel lucky because even though I was upset about not being in Bozeman (BZN) last night, I actually had 2 layovers there right in a row, so I will be there tonight.

All that being said, this is what it's really like for us. There are months that go by where everything goes according to plan - but then you get trips (or a month in my case) where things get incredibly jacked up, things go wrong on every leg and you just sit in your hotel room contemplating what you're really doing with your life. You lose money, you lose time, you lose a lot. But at the end of the day, you go to sleep knowing that you still love your job. You love zooming around in space, talking to hundreds of people a day, flying around the world for fun, going out with your crew family and living out of a suitcase.

So even though I'm supposed to be just waking up in my hotel in Bozeman, surrounded by mountains, I'm okay with my not-so-nice hotel room in St. Louis with a view of a highway. It's trips and events like this that bring me back to reality. If I can still be happy with my life and job after a month like this, then I know I'm still on the right path.

1 comment:

  1. I love hearing your stories! I've never been able to talk to an actual flight attendant and I always look into how to get into that line of work. I've read about the pros and cons and 'real life' stories such as this. Did you just apply online at the airline's website or did you happen to get lucky and just find your way in? Sorry for all the questions, I'm just curious and I'll never know if I could get into this line of work or not unless I ask questions. haha
    If you get the time and want to, you can email me @ or talk to me on twitter or reply to this comment. If you want to! Just any advice or tips or anything really would be great :)