Flight Attendant & Pregnancy | Update

ALL THINGS TRAVEL, Pregnancy

It’s been over a one month since my first post about being pregnant and working as a Flight Attendant so I thought it would be a good time to give an update on what’s been going on.

I am now 30 weeks pregnant and am now on state disability due to the coronavirus, COVID-19 outbreak. My doctor no longer finds it safe for me to be flying with the unknown of the effects on pregnant women on their unborn child(ren).

With that being said, I’m grateful to be home but with “shelter-in-place” I’m starting to go stir crazy in our one bedroom apartment. I didn’t realize how often I go outside with my little one. I have can’t leave the house because it’s not worth the risk but at the same time I’m desperate for some fresh air. But I’m thankful for mine and my family’s health and I hope this crazy pandemic ends soon for everyone.

The aviation industry is particularly struggling with this COVID-19 virus. Most airlines are operating at the bare minimum and some are even furloughing their flight attendants due to closing bases because they can’t afford to keep their employees. I selfishly feel safe at the current moment only because I’m on state disability but what’s going to happen when I return from my leave? Everything is so uncertain at this time. All we can do is stick together and do what we can to keep our jobs as essential workers.

To all my aviation workers, stay safe, stay healthy, stay positive. I’m thinking of you!

Aviation and pregnancy updates coming soon.

Flight Attendant & Pregnancy

ALL THINGS TRAVEL, Pregnancy

Being a flight attendant and being pregnant are both challenging but when you’re both at the same time you can imagine how one can impact the other.

For this post I’m going to share my experience as a pregnant flight attendant but please note that my experience could and most likely is completely different from someone else’s experience.

I am currently 23 weeks pregnant and for the most part I’m feeling ok. Back pain is starting to occur and I’ve had some slight cramping from what my doctor says is from my round ligaments not getting proper time to rest due to the nature of my job and caring for a 22 month old. Everything is safe and healthy, just uncomfortable and annoying especially when I’m working.

When it comes to performing the essential job functions I would say certain FA work positions are more challenging than the others. For me, it’s easiest if I’m one of the aisle FA’s meaning I’m the one in the aisle helping during boarding instead of being in the front or back of the plane setting up the galley’s. Galley positions are more physically demanding with lifting and bending more often so it’s more of a challenge for me. My belly still isn’t huge so I’m not exactly in the way when I’m in the aisle assisting with boarding yet.

I won’t lie when I say I’m exhausted by the end of he day even if I’m only doing 1-2 legs. Something about the higher altitude and just being on my feet for long periods of time makes me tired (or maybe I’m just out of shape).

I’ve spoken to my doctor about going out early for California State disability but since I’m healthy and no medical issues there isn’t a reason for me to be put on disability. At first I was upset because flying is tough on the body even if you aren’t pregnant so I was frustrated and felt like she didn’t understand the demands of my job, but after a day to stew, I’m actually very grateful that my baby and me are healthy. I feel fine as of now to continue working but it’s okay to fly (according to my doctor) up until 36 weeks. I honestly don’t think I’ll make it that far but we’ll see.

Now for those who have had miscarriages in the past or other medical challenges that put you in a high risk pregnancy I would definitely express your concerns to your doctor about going on disability/leave early, especially in the first trimester. I personally don’t have any experience but I’ve read and met enough women who said that flying increases the risk of miscarriage in the first trimester. So please do what you feel is best for yourself and your unborn child. Only you know what feels best, follow your intuitions.

I’ll be back with updates and let you all know how this whole experience is going.

Fly safe everyone!

Philadelphia Layover

ALL THINGS TRAVEL

I was fortunate enough to have not one, but two long Philadelphia layovers this month. There was so much to see and do, so much history to take in that I feel I only got a sliver of it done.

Nonetheless, this is a beautiful city and here’s what I was able to accomplish:

View from my hotel room. Isn’t it stunning?!

First up was the liberty bell. I’ve been to Philly before so I didn’t feel the need to go inside to get a look at the liberty bell but I still wanted to take a glance. It’s located in the independence national historic park. If you’re looking at the liberty bell from the front, behind it is a clear view of independence all.

Then when you’re feeling hungry, you need to go to Reading terminal market to fill all of your cravings.

Old city coffee, Beiler’s, By George, and Iovine juice are my favorites thus far.

There’s so much to see and do that I’m hoping I’ll get another long layover so I can continue my adventuring of this wonderful city.

Atlanta, Georgia Layover

ALL THINGS TRAVEL

I’ve never been to Atlanta and I had just enough time to venture out for about an hour or two. I did a quick search on google maps to see what was around my hotel and I found myself at the Centennial Olympic Park. It was absolutely beautiful!

Home of the 1996 Summer Olympics, this park was transformed into a beautiful place everyone can experience on a regular day-to-day life. There were beautiful water fountains, play structures for children, and wide open space to sit and just take in all the history.

There was also the aquarium, Coca Cola factory, and college football hall of fame for other forms of adventures all in one place.

I can’t wait for the next visit!

Pass Me the Money

ALL THINGS TRAVEL

So I worked my first premium flight out of my home base. It’s not that particularly hard but I still felt like a newbie since I’ve never worked this particular flight before but my crew was really friendly and the flight went pretty smooth other than the ATC holds due to construction on runways which caused 3 hour delays both coming and going.

I was working on an Airbus 321T aircraft which consists of first, business, and main cabin. I was working in business class. Our aircraft was lay flat seats in both first and business class which is great but the one downfall, if you drop your phone down the side of the seat (or any other important personal item) you’re pretty much screwed. The seat eats your items alive! Just kidding! But 99% of the time a mechanic will need to come onboard once you’ve landed to take the seat apart in order to reach the item you’ve dropped.

Well on my way home a passenger informed me he dropped his phone down the side of his seat. I gave the whole speech about the mechanic if we weren’t able to find it or reach it ourselves. Thankfully he was just grateful for the help and not upset about having to stay behind once we landed to get his phone.

I got my flashlight and started looking around under his seat and I asked Mr. Lost Phone Dude if he only dropped his phone. He said yes and asked why. Casually I informed him that someone had dropped money and I think there’s a $5 bill down there. He started laughing and he said, “now I have something to entertain me until we land. I’m gonna get you that $5!”. I was highly entertained by his enthusiasm for this $5. After a few minutes I told Mr. Lost Phone Dude that he should check the side magazine holder just in case his phone fell down there. WHAT DO YOU KNOW… THERE HIS PHONE WAS. So thankful no mechanics were necessary.

Once we landed, Mr. Lost Phone Dude sadly approached me stating that he wasn’t able to get the $5 for me. I laughed because he was actually trying to get it (I watched him during flight). When my co-worker heard there was money she was determined to get it. So out she went to the seat with a pair of bread tongs to get the $5. She walks back a few minutes later proudly placing the $5 in my hand.

Moral of the story, if passengers ever drop items in their seat, take a thorough look because you might be able to fuel your next Starbucks addiction.

Mid-Month Reserve Update

ALL THINGS TRAVEL

Hey Everyone! I wanted to give a quick update on how my September reserve month has been going. In my last post I mentioned my game plan on surviving this months schedule and trying to limit the amount of babysitting we’d need. Well my plan hasn’t exactly gone as planned but after reflecting on my schedule thus far it isn’t horrible.

We’ll start with the good. I’ve only worked two actual trips. I’ve worked a two day trip which was my Denver layover. See my post about my Denver layover for more details. I’ve also worked a DFW turn which was supposed to be work there and deadhead (hitch a ride but still technically on duty just not working crew) home. Well my home airport has one runway down for construction and my flight home had a creeping delay. It just kept getting later and later. It was delayed a total of 5 hours but I eventually made it home (at 1:30am!). I’ve also had a total of three days on Standby Duty which is where I hangout in our flight operations for six hours and I’m used as a last resort to cover any flights. Thankfully I wasn’t used on any of those days and I was able to go home afterwards. I had have my sister watch the baby for 1 of those 3 days. So not bad!

Now for the not so great. Apparently I’m not senior enough to be holding actual trips so I’ve had several days where I’m just at home waiting for a call. In my last post I mentioned this was exactly what I did not want to happen. It requires more dependence on my family for babysitting and I hate to inconvenience them. Being at home waiting for a call is so stressful because I constantly feel like I missed a call or I’m glued to checking my phone every 5 minutes. I also have to spend time at my parents or sister’s house which I never complain about but they live 2 hours from the airport and in the mountains so I never know if I’ll make it in time or if I have service. But every time I’m at home on call I haven’t actually been called in so that’s good! Gives me and my son the chance to hangout with family but I seriously hate the stress of it.

Even though my game plan hasn’t exactly been working the way I thought, I can’t really complain because I haven’t had to rush to the airport after a call from home. Let’s hope I haven’t jinxed it!

Reserve & Mom Life

ALL THINGS TRAVEL, Parenting

Being a reserve flight attendant means that I can be called at anytime and need to report to the airport within 3 hours. I bet a lot of you are wondering how that works with having a 16 month old son. Well it’s not easy but thankfully I have a lot of family support! Here’s how I plan to survive my September reserve month:

Schedule: this month I’m available to the company every Friday-Monday which means I have every Tuesday-Thursday off. I bid for this schedule intentionally so I could minimize number of days we’d need a babysitter. More weekdays off; prioritize weekend flying.

Bidding for specific assignments: so this one is most important because the day prior I have the choice to input bids for specific trips I want based on what’s available. These trips are usually open due to someone calling in sick, being removed from the trip for any number of reasons, or maybe there was a flight crew legality or weather which made the original crew be reassigned. I prioritize this because 1. I feel like I have a little bit more control over my schedule. 2. I know what my next day trip will be because I chose to work it. 3. It eliminates scheduling calling me in the middle of the night. These trips are given to FA’s in seniority order so I may not get the specific trip but I always try this option first.

Standby duty: if I can’t get a specific trip than I bid for airport standby as my secondary option. This is where I show up at the airport and hangout for 6 hours. During that time if there is any crew issues and someone isn’t able to make the flight than I’d be used to replace that FA. You’re usually assigned a flight within 30 minutes to departure time. So standbys are used as a very last resort. I chose this because it’s less likely to actually get assigned a trip. Again, I bid for this option the day prior to a reserve day so I know what I’m doing. This way I can figure out and make arrangements for babysitting.

Remain on call: this is my last option (hopefully option 1 and 2 work so I never have to use this) but this is basically where I’m at home going about my day and scheduling can call me for a trip within 3 hours once I’m notified. I hate this option because I never know when I’m going to get a call. I could be grocery shopping and I’d need to stop and head to the airport. This option is especially hard with babysitting. Family members babysit when my husband and I can’t be home so I always feel bad asking them to stop their plans to help watch the baby. Its like they’re on reserve too! On days where I’m just waiting around I usually go to a family members house so it’s easier on them. No driving necessary for them. I try to make it as easy and convenient as possible (even if that means it’s more inconvenient for me).

That’s my intended plan on sieving this months reserve. If all goes right I’m hoping we won’t have to rely on babysitters. Stay tuned for updates as to how my plan is working out!

Layover | Denver, CO

ALL THINGS TRAVEL

Today was day 1 on reserve and I got a two day trip with a 22 hour layover in Denver, CO. Though leaving my family is never easy, I was looking forward to the long layover and a room to myself where I can get some nice, long uninterrupted sleep.

This layover happens to be on Labor Day weekend and “a taste of Colorado” food festival was within walking distance of my hotel. The festival is free admission but if you want food/alcohol you need to purchase tickets. 15 tickets for $10 was a pretty good deal I think! For those who aren’t sure what to eat, you can taste test all the different food for just 2-4 tickets. My favorite was the garlic knots!

There were all kinds of activities such as bands, vendors, and kids games. I really enjoyed myself and it was nice to hangout with fellow crew members.

Let’s hope the rest of this reserve month I get fun trips like this. Fingers crossed!

How I Became a Flight Attendant

ALL THINGS TRAVEL

After graduating from college with a BA in Sociology I had full intentions of getting my masters in Social Work, but once I graduated I either wanted to take some time off or hopefully find a job where I could bypass the whole going back to school thing. My family has a history in the airline industry. My great grandfather owned his own airline in Alaska, grandmother worked for said airline, great aunt worked for Alaska Airlines and had just recently retired.

After a month of two of actively applying for jobs my sister finally mentioned that maybe I should apply at an airline. After researching airlines I applied to two airlines. One rejected me within two days (haha) and the other took weeks to send a reply. I eventually got an email stating I was moving forward in the interview process. I had to fill out a questionnaire/personality test. After passing that, a video interview. Finally an onsite interview which lasted the entire day! Then after passing the onsite process I had to pass my physical.

After 4 months of this application/hiring process I finally received a training date for flight attendant training. An 8.5 week program. This training is seriously no joke. It’s extremely fast pace. Did I mention that my training was unpaid also? Yeah that was a challenge in itself but it was totally worth it. I now have a job that I enjoy.

I now have been with my airline for almost 6 years now. I’ve had a few job title changes. I went into a management role right before I became pregnant (more on this in a future post) but I ended up back in the friendly skies because I feel like that’s where I’m meant to be. Though each flight has it’s challenges, at the end of the day I still very much love my job.

If you’re thinking of becoming a flight attendant, here are some tips during the interview process:

  1. A flight attendant is categorized as a customer service position. If you have customer service experience be sure to highlight that in your resume! I also wrote a cover letter further illustrating my customer service experience and why I’d be a great fit for the airline I was applying to.
  2. The personality assessment: be consistent throughout the questionnaire. From my understanding they’re looking for someone who is compassionate, consistent, and is a good judge of character. There are a lot of hypothetical questions so they want to see how you respond to certain situations (this is where you’re customer service skills come into play).
  3. If you get a video interview be sure to look the part! I’ve heard that some people only dress up from the waist up but I highly suggest getting fully dressed just to get you in the proper mindset. I did my hair in a bun and I kept my make up very natural.
  4. Onsite interview: really dress the part! I wore a pencil skirt, white blouse, and blazer. For women wear hosiery! This is very important. Hosiery is a requirement (at least my for company) in uniform so you should wear them for the interview. Hair should be tied back (I always suggest a bun) and a shade of red lipstick. You want to look the part as much as possible. For men, a suggest a nice suite, facial hair neatly groomed (no long beards) and hair either freshly cut or for those with longer hair make sure it’s tied back.
  5. Onsite: Make eye contact, smile, and speak with as many people as you come in contact with. They want to see that you’re approachable and kind.
  6. Be yourself! You don’t want to go into the interview putting on a different personality because if you do, the job will only be harder for you because you aren’t being yourself.

I hope these tips are helpful. These are my suggestions based on my interview process 6 years ago. I’m sure a lot has changed since than so please only take these as help suggestions and not rules to follow. I cannot guarantee anyone gets hired with an airline based on my helpful tips.

All the best for those going through the interview process!

Stay tuned for more information about my life as a flight attendant!

I’m a Flight Attendant!

ALL THINGS TRAVEL
Safe Travels Everyone!

Being a flight attendant sounds like such an amazing job right?! I mean you get to fly around the globe, see amazing places all while being paid. I’m here to provide you with MY version of reality while being a full-time working mom as a professional flight attendant.

I’ll start by stating that my reality of this career is going to be completely different than another flight attendants. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job but there are times when all the glamour goes out of the window and this is nothing but a job. Maybe it’s because of having a family at home or maybe it’s just because there are some different characters out there right now, but nonetheless the job can be pretty brutal at times and I want to share my experience in this career for those who have considered this journey but are unsure if it’s right for them.

Even though there are long days and nights, I would not trade my job for any other (at least during my childbearing years) due to the flexibility that I can finally achieve. The first couple years were definitely a challenge due to being so junior at such a senior base (everything is based on seniority) but now that I’m on my sixth year I’ve earned just enough seniority to allow me the best flexibility that works for my family and I. I’ll elaborate more on this in a future post. Until then, stay tuned for more information as to how I began this crazy journey of being a flight attendant…