“I dedicate this blog post to my children. Thank you for always supporting me, for believing in me and standing by me during the toughest of times. We got this. I love you. Love, Mom”
When it is time for me to report for work, my day usually starts out at 3am. I wake up, I get ready and I am out the door by 5am but not before I kiss my family quietly on the forehead as they sleep. I make my way to the airport to catch the first flight going to my base. My showtime (a time at which I have to be at the gate to meet my crew and be ready to board the plane) may be hours after I arrive in my base but I never mind because it gives me some downtime before I start the day. Some days, I may arrive just an hour before my showtime but regardless, I have to be there.
Once I report for duty, there is a lot going on. My time is busy. It is filled with multitasking, safety checks and preparing to greet passengers. I will do this over and over for the next four days and sometimes five depending on how my schedule runs.
In the course of these days, I can’t tell you how busy, physically and mentally exhausting this job can be. This is why crew need to be in good health and at 100% when we are flying. This is why we need our rest. We are not robots and we are not super humans. We are simply human. On an average four day trip, with an average of four flight legs, sometimes less, I will see over 1,000 passengers and maybe a little less. That is a lot of personalities, cultures and different needs to which I have to be able to assist with all of it. They are my responsibility and I am there to keep them safe along with assisting them with questions they may have, stowing luggage, directing them to the lavatory, helping to calm a crying baby, comforting the one who is afraid to fly, keeping track of my cabin walk through, serving beverages and snacks, collecting trash, helping to tidy the plane once they deplane d the list goes on. Once we land, they deplane and we start the process all over again for the next set of passengers.
In the midst of all the organized chaos, I love what I do. I love my job and I love being able to see all these faces. I consider them a challenge to make myself better. What can I learn from them? How can I make their day better? They put their trust in me and my crew. It is my job to make sure I am presenting myself in a confident manner at all times. It doesn’t matter what I have going on in my personal life at the time. You can’t bring that on the plane with you when you do the job that I do. You have to focus and get the job done. When I get to my layovers, I am excited to toss the stockings and uniform aside, put on my comfies, grab something to eat and then my time is dedicated to my kids via face-time, text, phone calls and however else we can communicate. If time allows then I do some exploring in the city we are in.
While my kids are busy with work, college and online studies, we do stick together in a group chat. It is how we keep up with each other and sometimes, the thread of conversation makes me smile and keeps me grounded and laughing. Outside of that, I don’t have much time for anyone else.
Fast forward to the last day of my trip and it’s what we call ‘Go Home Day’. By the time that comes, we are pumped and we get that second wind of energy to get the job done. Many crew members are commuters so we have a flight to catch back home as well. Sometimes we miss our flights due to the delay of a flight we worked on that day or simply because we just couldn’t make it on time. Some days we get to the gate and all the seats on the commuter flight are filled so we are rolled over to the next flight and sometimes that can go on for a while. Worst case is we don’t get on at all and we don’t get home and have to wait until the next morning. Where do we sleep? In a chair. In the airport. We make the best of it because we know it’s part of the job. It does happen. No, we are not promised a seat to go home. If you don’t live in your base, you are solely responsible for getting yourself to and from your base…and you better be there.
For me, since I moved from the city I use to live in, I now have to drive an hour to and from my commuting airport. It can be okay at times because the drive is how I decompress with my music and I reflect on life. From the time I show up at the gate for my commuter flight to go home, I begin to shut down. I am not mad at anyone, no one has made me upset and I am certainly still loving my job but I am tired. I am tired mentally, physically and emotionally. I don’t even remember the last place I overnighted because it all runs together. I have seen a lot in these days that I have been flying. I have invested my heart and soul into those passengers. It can be exhausting but I also know I have a family to come home to and attend to so this is where it begins…at the commuting gate coming home. I begin the process of switching gears.
When I arrive home, I am ready for hugs and kisses from my kids. They are great about allowing me to decompress, sleep and unwind. Sometimes my time between trips is just a couple of days so when I don’t engage in the public eye or talk to others, it is not personal. I am investing my time in my kids lives. They are the one’s who deserve all of me when I get home. Yes, they are young adults but if you know us, you know we are all very close. They are my best friends and I love catching up with them face to face and being able to hug them and see the smiles on their faces and sometimes they don’t always have happy things to tell me. So that is why I give them my undivided attention and not everyone else.
If I was married or had a companion in my life, I would make time for them as well but because it is just my kids and I…they come first. It took them and myself a year to figure out this job. We are almost four years in now and I think we have adjusted very well to the lifestyle. I use to stare at the walls when I come off a trip and some days I still do. I would be depressed and feeling ‘lost’ in a daily routine. When we fly, I live by a schedule that tells me what to do, where to go, set alarms on my phone, wake up calls and the push for on-time departures. The real world is not like that no matter what some may think. It is another lifestyle that only crew can understand.
If you feel I have not interacted with you, it is not personal. It is because I have to decompress from my job, I have to be with my kids and give them all of who I am when I am home. I have to soon prepare to go back again. It is not a hard life and I am not gone as much as people think but I am devoted to my three children more than I am devoted to anyone else. My three amazing children are what keeps me grounded, balanced and the reason I push harder every day.
Peace, Love & Hugs