I am always asked, ‘How did you get into this job?’ and my reply is ‘I applied for it’. Ha! Simple and easy, right? Of course it is! I am not sure if people think there is a secret application for becoming a flight attendant but there isn’t. The application process can be a bit daunting but it is well worth the wait, the anticipation and the craziness that you go through to get there.
As I started approaching my forties, I realized that I wasn’t truly living the dream I had envisioned for myself. I have compassion for others, a willingness to serve and a mindset to just do what needs to be done without giving up. In my distant thoughts, I do wish I had of joined the military after graduating high school. My choice would of been the Air Force because my love for aviation has always been strong but I was too stubborn (certainly didn’t listen to anyone), young and life just had a different direction at that time. All I knew is that I was grasping for something but I didn’t know what.
Fast forward to my adult years, I decided to go for my dream of being in aviation and I began the process for becoming a flight attendant, thanks to a nudge from a friend of mine who is a pilot for a major US airline. He told me that if I sit and wait on the right reasons to do it, then I would never do it because in the aviation world, there are no right reasons. It’s a just do it mentality. I sought out with a diligent research in the airlines and where would I feel I could excel the most at.
I applied for two major US carriers only to be rejected. I was disappointed and thought, ‘Really? I put on pantyhose for this?’. I was not as impressed with the interview process at all and in complete honesty, it probably showed. I felt like I was with a herd of cattle going through a stall. The vibe was all wrong, the feeling was empty and so back to the application boards I went. Determined not to give up. It took me another year and a half.
I knew that the airlines needed me. I am funny, quick witted, I genuinely care for people, I have exceptional customer service skills, I am firm but fair and hey…a little cute too! Not to mention, I am a Jack of all trades and the master of none. I have a can-do attitude and I can take charge of what needs to get done and just do it. I mean, c’mon…I would hire me! I wanted to do better than what I had been doing with my life. To step out of the box, to take a risk, make changes and be courageous in my pursuit of what my heart desired. I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I loved the idea of that. To just go, take that chance and fight for what I wanted.
They say the third time is a charm and for me, it certainly was. I applied for a regional, interviewed (while I was recovering from the flu) and then I waited. Upon arriving back into the USA from an international trip to Amsterdam, I got the voicemail on my phone as we landed at JFK. I was more than thrilled. I had been sharing my experiences with the flight attendants on the KLM operated flight and upon leaving the aircraft, they all greeted me with a Viktor & Rolf travel bag. I felt like royalty. As I stepped off the plane, I thought ‘Soooo, this is what this feels like’. I was addicted. Instantly.
I am four years into my job now and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. I have a love affair with it. It consumes me when I am working but when I am home, I am home. Nothing is the same in a days time. Every flight leg is different. The passengers can be trying at times but it’s up to me to challenge myself to help them have a pleasurable flight. I don’t just serve drinks, hand out snacks, help you with your luggage or do safety demos. I have many roles when I am working. Serious roles. I don’t talk about them for security reasons but I do take them very seriously because it is up to me and my crew to ensure we all get to where we are going safely.
When I put on my uniform, I have a great sense of pride for what it stands for. I can’t stand the stereotypes that come with being a flight attendant. I can’t speak for others in my industry so I will speak for myself. I am proud to wear my wings. They mean more to me than anyone could imagine. I worked hard for them. I had to go through training two times. I become deathly ill during the first one and my life was at stake. I had to come home, have major surgery and a long recovery period. I went back and I fought like hell to get those wings. I knew I had earned them, all I needed was for them to be pinned on. It was like a shock to the heart, a new awakening. Silly? Maybe to you but not to me. It was the new life in me and I wasn’t going to mess it up. Weeks of training, testing, drills, study sessions, prayers and being away from my family, two times. It took a lot of courage for me, a single mother of three, to step out and leave my kids while I pursued my dream. They were so supportive and they still are to this day. I am blessed by them.
When you put on a uniform to represent your job, you are not only representing who you are but everyone in your organization, no matter how big or small. Becoming a flight attendant wasn’t about free flights or having the world at my fingertips. Those are perks and perks don’t make the uniform. The person wearing the uniform is what makes it have meaning. It was about doing something for myself that I felt pride in. To know that someone looked to me for safety, for trust, to see confidence. The wanderlust that comes with the job is natural for some and not so much for others. The passion that accompanies my job is that I have the ability to change someone’s life. It can come in many forms such as a smile, helping them have a better ending to a crap day, giving them direction in an airport, giving them first-aid if needed or just listening to them vent about their day or sharing some laughs. Nothing says you care more than just by being a listening ear to someone and giving them your time.
Some days this job drives me insane (in a good way) but when it comes down to the wire, I am so in my element at being a flight attendant. If you read my blogs, you know my other trade skill is a hairstylist. I am great at what I do and very talented in my field but flying is my passion. Let me be clear in case you are confused. You can be any age and decide you want a change. Mine just happened to be at the age of 40. There is nothing wrong with that and anyone who tells you there is, smile and walk away. Keep going after what you want and don’t stop until you feel the fire burn in your soul for what you long for. That was my feelings on being a flight attendant. I heard people question my decision, wondering how can I do that and be a single mom. I had no answer (and I didn’t need one). I was doing this for me. For my kids.
On a weekly basis as I put on my uniform, I board a plane which by the way is the best seat to view God’s amazing beauty, I ask Him for his eyes so that I can see other’s the way He see’s me. Caring, compassion, empathy are all amazing qualities of being in a service industry such as aviation but you also have to remain vigilant in the job. I never confuse the lines and I always keep it clear to where my own boundaries are. It is a lonely job because I can’t always talk about things and most days, the way we work doesn’t make sense to my family and friends. You find ways to cope, to have your own outlets of how you decompress but no matter what you do, once you have tasted flight the way I have, you are never the same. It has changed me a lot and I am still changing but for the better.
Peace, Love & Hugs