10 Challenges Flight attendant Face in their First Year of Flying
So you decide to change up your job and go from your 9-5 to becoming a flight attendant. Your friends might have thought you were crazy, but you were determined to have a career where you get to travel the world. One might ask if you are insane, but to be honest, you have this passion for travel. I remember I met this guy (now boyfriend) off of Bumble and he asked me if I was crazy. My answer was, "I elect to be trapped in a metal tube with over 200 people daily, multiple times a day. Does that make me crazy?"
I am now in my 4th year of being a flight attendant, a total of 5 years in the industry (did a short run at AirTran) and I can honestly say I get so excited when I sign into a trip and head on to my layover.
Now not every day is roses and sunshine. You do experience long, long, oh, and did I say long days with delays and sometimes nasty people. For me, my significant delays and headaches come with my commute from MSY to NYC. I love having a day of running around errands, but I know that if there is a sprinkle of H2O in NYC my 5:00 pm flight to LGA will have a minimum delay of 2 hrs. So stressful, because you never know when that crew will time out. So with that knowledge, when I know it will be terrible in NYC, I wake up early, take my booty to the airport, and get on an earlier flight. Problem Solved.
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Always so tired -
I am still shocked that even if I do get 8 hours of sleep, I am always tired! I am not sure if it is because one day I can wake up at 5 am and work till 3 pm and then the next day sign in at 3 pm eastern and work till midnight Pacific. I think for me it took about two years to feel normal after my trips finally. I am not sure if my body surrendered to the new schedule or maybe my trips had improved a little bit. Hang in there! Vitamin B and coffee will be your best friend!
Long Schedules -
Some trips can be great where you work one leg, and then you get to hang out on your layover. My favorite days! However, on a typical day, you can rack up to a 13hr duty day, which will include four flights. Make sure not to dwell on the negative of the day and try to have fun. Trust me, if you have a great attitude and a fantastic crew, four flights could be nothing but fun.
Miss family and friends -
This can be hard, especially during holiday times. Try to work that schedule to your advantage. Sometimes bidding layovers to see family and friends can make a complete difference. I remember my second year of flying I was able to have a 24 hr layover at home for Christmas. Yes, I was working, but I got to participate in the fun.
Commuting is horrible -
I remember one commute in particular where the weather was perfect in NYC, and then all of a sudden there was one rain cloud that sat over LGA which made my plane divert to IAD resulting in a delayed flight. It was just horrible, so make sure you try to plan. Have that early morning sign in, go up in the mid-afternoon flight and not the last one. Trust me, and you always want to make sign-in.
Gaining Weight -
Sometimes you eat crap on the road, and it is so hard to find consistency. One way is to make sure that you can keep your waist in check is to record it. I love using Lose It because it keeps me honest. Also, I love the Peleton app because it is like I have a trainer in my pocket.
Being Lonely -
This one is hard, especially if your crew does not want to hang out. It is ok to be by yourself and have that time to chill, but sometimes it is great to have a travel partner. I always suggest having a plan for your layover, especially the long ones. That way if nobody wants to do anything, you already have an idea and won't waste your layover in your hotel room.
Financial Issues -
The first couple of months can be hard, especially if you are on straight reserve. Make sure you can pack a couple of non-perishable meals to help offset any meal costs. There is nothing wrong with oatmeal for breakfast and a PBnJ for Lunch (well maybe that can go south if you have a peanut allergy onboard)
Constantly getting sick -
Time to break out the Emergen-C because you will need it. Besides washing your hands and wearing gloves to pick up trash, it is tough to stay healthy for the first couple of months. Your body needs to get used to the jet-lag, germs, and recirculated air. My suggestion is to make sure you take your precautions before it gets worse. I like to take Emergen-C, Oregano Oil, or Kick-Ass-Immune whenever I get under the weather.
Dating Situation Sucks -
You might find out that it is hard to find a partner that wants a long-distance relationship. It can be a challenge, but not impossible. Remember never to quit if someone does not like your job. You worked too hard to become a flight attendant, and sometimes, things are not meant to be.
When you get into your hotel room, you might invite the quiet. Between the white noise from the plane and talking to passengers, a little de-stress is always welcome. Make sure you find a healthy habit like yoga or meditation to relax your mind and get you ready for the next day.