And a man busted out laughing…

…after we were stuck on a small plane for around 2 hours. No, this doesn’t include the actual flight time, which was about 90 minutes more.

Being stuck on an aircraft on the taxiway isn’t fun for anyone involved. Yesterday, on a full 50-passenger aircraft, we were stuck in a holding pattern on the ground because of the weather. Nothing could take off until a new reroute was established.

For me, it’s a stressful thing when this happens. Really, it’s no one’s fault when these events take place, but you still worry that someone is going to lash out. Food seems to help. So does liquor, but there’s never enough to go around in those situations. Besides, giving away all of the alcohol is ill-advised.

The best thing I could do was smile; that was about the only defense I had. I had a smile, some pretzels, water (which was quickly depleted when I did the water service), and some cookies. It wasn’t much, but it seemed to placate people insomuch as food can. Captain made an announcement at regular intervals to update the passengers and I, even if he didn’t have much to tell us. I’ve found that if people at least know what’s going on (even if nothing new has transpired), they stay pretty calm and remain understanding.

Before said announcements, he would call me on the interphone to check on me, and keep me updated before informing passengers of the situation. “Keep smiling!” he would say cheerfully before hanging up. He has no idea how much that helped keep me going.

After about 2 hours on the ground (and like 2 rounds of snacks, including the special delay snack. oy…), we got our route and were ready for takeoff. I was ready for a nap and wanted to be off the airplane… but stewardess life is much like the life of an actor: the show must go on.

The flight proceeded just as any other flight, with me doing a service. I would’ve loved to hide in a corner, but I also wanted to see how folks were faring. Besides, they may have wanted something more than water. It turns out that they did; I sold a crazy amount of alcohol! I haven’t beat my personal best yet, but it got close. As I approached two gentlemen sitting together, one of them did ask for a beverage. “I’m fine, please”, the other replied. Then he quickly corrected himself and said “I’m fine, thank you.”

…and he laughed. It was a big, hearty, tension-breaking laugh. I could feel the atmosphere in the plane change when he did that, and it certainly shifted my mood and feelings. To be able to laugh after such an ordeal was a blessing to me, and I’m sure to those that heard him. I even laughed with him.

Those were among the nicest group of passengers I’ve had the pleasure to serve, and moments like that are why I love my job and what keeps me going on hard days. When we finally landed in Indianapolis, IN and everyone got off, we the crew were blessed with smiles and “thank yous”. The more memorable ones were “Thank you for taking care of us”, and the last passenger that got off told me I had a great smile. There were two more flights to work, and they were back-to-back so that we could catch up, but that flight helped me carry on.

The man that laughed also gave his thanks, and walked off the plane, onto the jetway, and out of sight.

One Became Four

“Go through the door, down the steps, and it’s the second door on the left”, he said.

“Got it”, I replied.

I came out and informed the flight attendant that I tripped on a crooked step. He made sure I was okay, then vowed to fix the stair himself with duct tape.

Mind you, this conversation concerned the lavatory on an airplane. This is what air stewards do.

This is Day 3 of a 4-day trip that was only supposed to be a 1-day trip. Thank God that I had prepared myself with the right amount of food this time; my bank account would not have been able to support me on one day, let alone 4.

  • Day 1: I worked a long behind round trip from Philly to Memphis, then back to Philly. I received a call from scheduling, telling me that I needed to catch a ride to Washington DC, then work a flight to White Plains, NY. Apparently, I missed a call telling me not to catch the ride. Needless to say, I stayed the night in White Plains. It was a short overnight.
  • Day 2: Worked a flight from White Plains early in the morn to go back to Washington DC. I caught a ride to Charlotte, where there were 2 pilots that needed a flight attendant. I had a bacon cheeseburger & fries at around 8:30am (winning!), then slipped into a food coma on the ride from DC to Charlotte, NC. Worked a flight from Charlotte to Columbia, SC. Very short flight. I had complimentary cookies at the hotel, and got a crazy look when I asked the restaurant staff for bread. I had run out of sandwich bread, thinking that I was only going to be gone for 2 days. It had been stretched into 3 by this point.
  • Day 3 (today): woke up this morning and checked my schedule. My 3-day was sprinkled with pixie dust, thus magically turning it into a 4-day trip. Last day is tomorrow, for sure. It’s my last day of reserve (on call). I’ll be home for real, but not before an early start and a grueling work day. Today wasn’t bad at all, but tomorrow is 5 flights, and I gotta catch a ride home from DC to Philly. Today, I worked 3 flights, and caught a ride to Cleveland, OH.

In truth, I don’t mind long trips away from home; when I actually am home, I feel dysfunctional. I don’t know what to do other than eat and sleep, and avoid doing chores. Oddly enough, I can settle into a routine very easily when I’m on-the-go. Being away from home often is almost normal to me, like I was created to live that way. It really isn’t for everyone.

Now I must try my best to sleep, as I’ll have to wake up at 4am tomorrow. Hopefully, the coffee maker works because I suffered today. Usually, I’ll have 1/2 a cup if I feel droopy, but the coffeemaker had other plans today… like to take a vacation and not let me know about it. These things must pass through me; we’re supposed to work together, after all!

I’m kind of glad that I’ll be home tomorrow; food supplies were running low, and my bank account mocks me with low funds.

All I can do is laugh and pray that this, too, shall pass. Thank goodness for fellow flight attendants because no one knows the struggle like they do. One of them that I met today has been doing this 3o years as a part time career. Both were fun guys, and it was a joy to be on their flight.

Know Your Exits

Although I’ve just started this job, I’ve realized how I’m well suited for it. Let me count the ways:

  • Routine bores me. There is no other industry that I can think of that is as ever-changing as the aviation/airline industry… and I worked in foodservice!  Flights get canceled, delayed, or rerouted. Sometimes your flight is shorter or longer than anticipated, and the time you show up for work changes also. It keeps a girl on her toes, that’s for sure!
  • I was the dork that read the safety card. Before becoming a flight attendant, I read the safety card when boarding any aircraft. I also watched the flight attendants because they fascinated me somewhat, and made sure to know the operation & location of the aircraft exits. Being a flight attendant has exacerbated this. I still read the safety card if I’m being carted from one place to another on an unfamiliar aircraft. I also look for the safety equipment; hey, you never know! I still watch flight attendants sometimes because they all operate differently, and I still stand in awe of them because I’m so new.
  • I actually like flying. If I had a superpower, I would want to fly; this job is as close as I get to possessing said superpower. It’s cool to sometimes ponder the fact that you’re floating in the sky in a hunk of constructed metal, scientific explanations aside. I still remember gazing at the clouds on my very first flight when I was 13. Now, I get to see it everyday in between services. One of the coolest things to witness on a flight is flying into the sunrise; the flight has to be at a specific time to see this. I am not a morning person… but getting to observe this and the feeling it gives you is well worth an early flight.
  • The uniform. There are more casual options, but I like the formal look: the navy suit with skirt, wings on the breast pocket, the neck scarf… I like the feeling that it gives me. It’s also interesting to see how people look at you as you glide through the terminal. I’ve tried wearing heels, but they were horribly uncomfortable. I’ll have to try it again; maybe I haven’t found the proper pair.
  • The desire to help. I love being helpful, and that’s what flight attendants do, insomuch as they are able. There may be some that aren’t, but I try to be. I was one of those people that wanted to be in the exit row; I willingly offer assistance as needed. Now that I’m a flight attendant, I take things like that more seriously than I did previously.

The more I think about it, the more that I feel like a mom in some ways when I work flights. I repeat myself, tell people to be seated, and give information that is necessary to make for a safe and comfortable flight. I also offer drinks.

One of my friends is flying to a location, and the flight attendant part of me wanted to give an admonition, but I restrained myself. Now when people tell me they’re going somewhere, I just want them to be safe… not for the purpose of striking fear, but to keep them knowledgeable if the worst happens. There are 3 things that anyone flying anywhere should do:

  1. Listen to the Flight Attendant.
  2. Read the safety card.
  3. Know your exits.

Few people do it because they don’t want to imagine the worst, and they think they’ve heard it all before. Maybe you have, but it will be forgotten if you ever have to use it. I feel like that will be my new “see you later” to anyone that flies.

So ends another day on reserve, but I didn’t get called today. For those of you who are “up in the air” (I had to), be safe, enjoy yourself, and know your exits. Oh, and be nice to the flight attendant.

Ciao!

Sky Girl Life

I sat demurely in the backseat of a black Mercedes SUV on my way to work, looking out at the dark 4am sky.

I can’t deny that it made me feel like something special. This was my first time using Uber, and I saw that there was a black car option, so I chose it. I thought maybe black car was the only option they had. Since I didn’t have a ride available to get me to work on time, I opted to call one in. I felt like a dignitary or a princess. The only thing missing was a partition. I sat in the back, feeling like the lady I was. Yep, I could live like this.

Then I saw how much it cost. It was WAY more than what I spent for a Lyft. Yep Rach, you aren’t a baller. Well, you live and you learn. I’ll have to keep that in mind when I want to feel fancy… and by want to, I mean when I can afford it.

No one is up this early besides me. People get to come onto a flight early in the morning, shuffle to their seats and sleep. Me? I envy them. I am already standing there–with flawless lipstick and freshly done hair–smiling and greeting them as they look at me bleary-eyed.

That particular day, I had a few legs. I commuted to another airport to start my trip, then I went on to 4 other destinations.

What’s bad is that I remember the trips, but not the days that I actually did them. A man asked me how I can keep track of what city I’m in. I told him that I have no problem doing so; however, I can’t manage to remember what day it is at any given time. I suppose the trade-off for remembering where you are is not remembering what day you were there.

I’m starting to get my “sea legs”, more or less. I did almost fall down on a flight when we hit a bump of turbulence. Thank God I was around kindly passengers that put their hands out to steady me. I managed to proceed quickly to my seat after this. I haven’t fallen on anyone yet, but maybe it’s just because I haven’t flown enough.

Being tired is my biggest issue. When I get home, I’m drained physically and emotionally. Getting up early for your on-call does catch up to you, especially if they do call you and give you 5 legs in one day. Even if a rest day is thrown into the trip, falling asleep can be difficult, even if you really want to and need to.

It’s kind of crazy… but I kind of love it. I’m well suited for a job that is ever changing, and this is that job. I get concerned about how it will affect my social life and friendships outside of work, but it seems to be working out so far. Thank God I have friends that understand when I don’t want to go out because I’m tired.

I’m on my last day of rest, which will likely be spent gathering food and other necessities that I’ll need for my next trip. I had 3 days, but 1-1/2 of them were spent in bed resting. Sometimes I wish I had just one more day, but when I get that call, I’ll be ready for the next trip.

Awake

It is now 5:06 am. Daylight savings time has ended.

One year when daylight savings time ended, I remember clock-watching on my phone. I wanted to see what happened when the time changed.

Now I’m in another such position to be awake at this time, but under entirely different circumstances. I don’t recall trying so hard to remain up in my life. Please excuse me if these ramblings make no sense.

The alarm on my phone went off at 1am, telling me that it was time to open my eyes and forego getting that bit of sleep that almost had me. It’s just as well; I wasn’t sleeping anyway. It was vanity to attempt to reset my body clock so that I could have some semblance of rest before that cursed alarm went off. Now here I am after 5am trying hard not to drift off.

The hum of my ceiling fan, which used to sound melodic, now seems far too loud. The pressure in the room is crowding my ears and my face is droopy. I can feel the bags under my eyes pulling my face down.

I question my sanity: why am I doing this to myself? Why couldn’t I be drawn to a normal profession… one that doesn’t involve me staring blankly at a computer screen & randomly doing squats in a feeble attempt to stave off sleep in the wee hours of the morning?

I could nap, but I know I’m a heavy sleeper… and if I fall asleep, I just might miss that call. For flight attendants on reserve, the call is everything.

and now, I’m happy to say that as I was typing this, I got that call. I thank the Lord that I live close to my base, and that show time is far enough away for me to sneak a nap in.

for now, this is life. It’ll be what it is, and I pray to survive it.

The Start of Something New

There is a scripture in the bible that reads “we were as those that dream.”

This is a job that I’ve applied to on and off over a few years, but nothing ever came of it. This time around, not only was there an actual response, I received a job offer, went to training, and managed to successfully pass my class training.

After about 2 days at home, Monday was my first day doing on-the-job training. It all felt surreal. Even now, it still doesn’t feel real. But oh, it’s very real. I’ve visited a few cities in a matter of 4 days, and spent the majority of my non-work time in Rochester, NY. I had my head in the clouds, got frustrated, scared and was a little unsure of myself. I questioned whether or not I was suited for this position.

Then something happened. It’s tough to explain, but on that last day, everything clicked. I got ready for show time, and decided to wear red lipstick. Just like my red Tahari shoes, the red lipstick did something for my confidence. I did forget a thing or two, but it all ran smoothly. I was confident, sure of myself, and had all of the main things together. I even managed to show improvement on the part that I struggled with most.

Once my trip was officially done, I was elated. Mostly because I was getting rather tired, but also because my training was over, and my instructor said that I was wonderful. On my sheet, I got to see what he wrote, and I saw these words: Rachel was outstanding. That meant everything to me, especially since I was feeling doubtful at times.

It’s now official. I’m still a little scared, but I’m just going to read over my materials, and reach out to those more experienced than me. It’s the surest way for me to get better and gain the confidence that I need. I can also be assured that I now have a job that will make me happy and afford me the opportunity to travel.

I posted a picture of myself in uniform on Facebook and got so much love and support from those around me. Even though I’m still quite new, I at least feel comfortable enough to tell people what I do. It’s also a blessing to, for once, be proud to tell people where I work and what I do.

What am I?

I’m a flight attendant, and I’m so happy to find a job that finally makes me happy.

Loved ones and neighbors, people I go to church with, former coworkers and friends have been supportive and encouraging. I was surprised to find out how many people have wanted to do what I do and that have even applied for the profession. I owe it to them and to myself to press on. Even on the days when I feel a little unsure, I’m still going for it. At this moment in my life, knowing the things that I enjoy and how well this job fits my personality, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

Having said that, I’m also happy this seems to be working out because now my blogs will get more interesting. Lord knows where I’ll be posting from! For right now, though, I’ll be posting from home until my next trip. What’s hilarious is that I’ve been in hotels for so long, I almost thought I was in one this morning when I woke up. I made myself wake up from my daze just to ensure that I was, in fact, home. I think this job will make being home even sweeter.

That first day, my back hurt from trying to stay balanced, I felt like I was bouncing when I was lying still in bed, and I was too fatigued to remember whether or not I showered (I did). Despite all this, my head was still in the clouds (no pun intended. Okay… maybe a little bit). I hope I never come out of this dream phase that I’m in.