I begin each trip with packing a halfway unpacked roller board. I truly do live out of a suitcase on most days. The day before a trip begins for me, I prepare with a half way focused mind. Half way because I am so busy trying to cook meals for my family, remember to take care of anything that will need my attention while I am gone, making check off list for the kids and somewhere in all that, I pack for my trip. What do I pack? That depends on where I am going. I have to look at my schedule and see where each of my overnights are at, what is the weather like and will I just be there long enough to sleep or actually have time to explore.
“Never let go of your dreams…pack them up and take them with you”
On the morning of my commute to work, it begins with a drive to where I park my car, then I take a shuttle to the terminal, hook up my entourage of bags and then roll them and myself in the airport. I head to the KCM line, which is only for security cleared crew members with the proper ID badges. Once I am cleared, I make my way to my gate. I check in for my flight with the gate agent (commuters / non-rev’s fly standby only). There is a method to the madness and one that we can barely explain to anyone so you just have to trust me.
So, I have made my commuter flight (meaning I got a seat) and I am all settled into my assigned seat. Usually if the flight is pretty open, I have a row to myself. This is heaven to me because in the mornings, I like to have my time with my tunes and to have some ‘me’ time as much as possible. Crazy to say on a plane full of people but if you did the job, you would know exactly what I mean. Once I arrive in base, I may have time to go to the crew room, log into the computers and catch up on some company business. If there is not enough time, I get to my gate quickly and meet my crew. From that point on, there is little time to really slow down. We have to get busy with pre-flight duties and boarding.
“A mile of highway will take you just one mile…but a mile of runway will take you anywhere”
A typical day will be 3-4 flight legs. Sometimes it can only be two. Some flights are full to capacity, some are less. It just depends on what is on my schedule for the month and no, I don’t fly the same route all the time. My schedule changes from month to month and can change from week to week. Again, that is another lesson on its own. We can trade trips, drop trips, split them up, swap them with another crew member…it reminds me of the song, 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover by Paul Simon…lol.
The job is not for the faint at heart and certainly not for anyone who is a homebody. As for me, I am very outgoing, I have a loving spirit and very much in tune with the general public when it comes to almost any situation. I love what I do. I am addicted to what I do. I enjoy my crews. I like learning from them and you can always learn something from someone. Either you learn how to do something or how not to do something…lol.
At the end of the day, we are done in whatever city is the last leg of our day. It can be anywhere in the US, Canada or Caribbean….whatever is on my schedule. We deplane, grab our bags down from the overhead bins and head to transportation where someone picks us up to go to the designated hotel for us.
Then it happens. The ‘slap you in the face’ reality that you are alone. It is not a new feeling, it is not even unexpected. During the day, we are so busy that we don’t think about it. I spend all day with strangers. I entertain them, let them see the confidence in myself as their flight attendant, assist them for various reasons and smile, smile, smile. Don’t get me wrong, I smile all the time. Rarely do you see me that I am not smiling or telling you a funny story. That is just my personality. When the day comes to an end though, I want someone to talk to about my day. I want to vent if needed and to just feel not so shut off from the everyday life. Hotel life can be lonely. I do all I can to get out of my room, to go the lobby, find a place to have a meal, meet up with my crew for an outing, or to get some sunshine and fresh air if I can. Then there are sometimes I just want to be lazy, in my pajamas, tucked away in my room but that is a very rare episode for me unless it is a late evening when we get in.
So as you can somewhat see, this can be a lonely lifestyle but it can have some rewards to it as well. I get to fly with amazing crews, meet some really interesting people, see some cool places and hopefully make a difference in someone else’s life. The most exciting part about my job is going home to my family. Yes, I can be a little irritable once I am home but that is after a long day of flying, having to commute home and then getting back to my car to get home. I love my kids for their support…it means the world to me. As I sit here in my hotel room, taking my thoughts and filtering them through this keyboard, I realize that I don’t let moments pass me by…even when I feel lonely. I take them no matter the journey, no matter my mood, no matter what I am feeling and I fuel up for what is next. My self motivation is what makes me who I am no matter how lonely I get. To all of my flight crew family, be kind to yourself, love yourself and make sure to nurture yourself. Out here on this job, this lifestyle, we have to often save ourselves.
Tomorrow is a new day. It is another long day of flying but make no mistake, I got this 😉
Love, Hugs & Peace
“I want to be remembered as the girl who always smiled, who always brightened your day, even if she couldn’t brighten her own”