5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Becoming Flight Attendant

Oh the life of a flight attendant. Traveling the world, hotels paid for, in a new place every night… sounds glamorous right? I thought the same thing before I became a flight attendant. There are so many things they don’t tell you, for example, as I write this I am currently sitting in the airport for 5 hours waiting to see if I will be needed for a trip. If you have ever thought about becoming a flight attendant this list is for you. Don’t let it scare you but rather inform you for what is to come.

  1. We are gone for at least three days at a time– Our schedule is built 3 days working with 4 days off in between, but we can add to our schedule as much as we want. It’s hard on our bodies because you can be on the east coast one night and the west coast the second night. It takes time to get used to being gone for that long but you learn to adjust.
  2. We build our own schedule- The short version is flight attendants can make their own schedule. Whether you need to work more or less a specific month it is always possible to move your trips around. Each month is different in that you may have set trips one month and the next month you are on call for 3 days. Being on call means at 3am the company can call you with an assignment and for 3 days you are at their disposal. I won’t go into detail because it is technical, but the flexibility of the job is one of the best perks.
  3. We eat out of a “food bag”– Airport food is expensive, a statement we have all heard. Before starting the job how or when I would eat never crossed my mind. Sometimes there is only 5 minutes in between flights so you can’t go get food in the airport. Or at the end of the day the hotel restaurant is closed and there are no other food options. All these problems are solved by carrying a food bag. The day before a trip I meal prep for the next three days. I plan out how many meals I need, if I will have microwave access, and determine what exactly I want. By doing so I can eat on the plane or in my hotel room and stick to my monthly budget.
  4. It’s not a job it’s a lifestyle- Coming in I had no idea what the job consisted of. Becoming a flight attendant is a complete lifestyle change. I’m home when people are working and gone for big events, it’s a balance and I have learned how to alter may way of living. The past year was hard I’m not going to lie. It has taking me a year to get used to traveling full time, 11 hour days, and eating microwavable food. A year later I am so glad I stuck it out. My life isn’t ordinary but I make it work. My biggest piece of advice if you are interested in this career is to ensure you have a strong support system… because you will need it. Whether you are married or simply close with your family ensure that they understand how much of a time commitment the job is. We typically aren’t home on holidays and we can’t be at every wedding or birthday party. But, don’t let that scare you… because this job is the best job I could’ve asked for out of college.
  5. The Days are long and do not go as planned- If you are anything like me you thought flight attendants flew somewhere and were done… WRONG. We fly up to twelve hours a day and sometimes more than that. During hectic times (like Covid) or peak winter months, your easy day could turn into a very long day ending up somewhere completely unscheduled. It is a very go with the flow job which is SO NOT me.

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