I've been receiving an abundant amount of messages about becoming a flight attendant or as I like to call it a Fly Attendant. It's pretty amazing how many of you are interested in this lifestyle and career. I've met a few flight attendants who have always known they wanted to join the aviation world or that they would become a flight attendant one day. I , on the other hand , just fell into into it ! I was encouraged to apply with one of my best friends after a discussion with my cousin who flies for a mainline carrier. The process moved pretty swiftly and before I knew it I was off into a whole new world. Two years later , I'm flying for another airline and am able to give my insight to those who are interested in working at 30, 000 feet in the air. This lifestyle comes with a lot of perks but there are so many things which are not advertised by the company , or FA's alike.
Here are five gems I wish I was blessed with before joining the flying club:
1. Le Struggle Is Real !
OK , this first fly tip is probably the most important in my eyes. Lets get into facts. Although this scale can be adjusted depending on the airline, a new hire flight attendant working for an airline carrier can make as low as $16,000 a year ! Now lets break this down. Yes that salary is pretty much EBT status if you want it to be but that is also on the low end and based on a few variables. One is if you are working for a mainline or regional carrier. A regional carrier such as Mesa , PSA , and SkyWest are basically contracted by the mainline carriers such as American , Delta and United to operate their smaller aircraft (usually 50-70 seats) on their shorter routes and to cities that cannot service a larger aircraft. The destinations for the regional airlines may not be as appealing especially depending on the routes your base service but it is all a matter of preference and what you're looking for out of flying. Mainline will start at an average of $20,000 year. Regional and mainline will have different starting salaries so when doing your research keep those things in mind.
Broke Forever ?! Nope! Now I'm not gonna have ya'll out here thinking I'm scraping pennies because the way a fly attendant is paid is like no other job! Of course from what you read above , you're probably kissing your cubicle but let me make some things clear. That yearly salary is a base pay meaning not factoring in the additional forms of wages that fall into our bank account. Now , hourly your favorite stewardess can make $25-$30 an hour with a mainline carrier. Mathematicians reading this are like wait wait ? Carmey , you just said ya'll out here making $20,000 a year . How is that possible making $25 an hour? Well here it is. Per the FAA for much longer than me or my mother has been alive, we only get paid once our block begins aka when the boarding door closes. That's right ladies and gentlemen , we don't get paid for the hour ahead we have to be at the plane , or helping with boarding , bags and closing bins , or when we're on the plane singing kumbaya together during a delay. Our clock starts when that door closes and stops when it reopens. We also get paid per diem during layovers which equates to getting paid to indulge in #flyviews & #flyeats. In the long run , senior flight attendants (20 plus years ) are making 6 figures and easily $60+ an hour. Don't cry for me or my wallet because even after a year you can live comfortably as long as you learn the value of budgeting and a little patience. You're in control of what you make . I fly an average of 90-100 hours a month while others fly the minimum of 40-70 hours. It all depends on your financial needs and your want to raise that yearly salary.
2. There's Some Lonely Days ... and Nights
I often felt my first few months flying very lonely. I thought , why didn't anyone tell me ? Why wasn't I warned ?! Although as a flight attendant you are surrounded by people constantly , engaging with folks hours at a time , the atmosphere can feel different once you're in the hotel room. At first it's exciting lounging in a beautiful hotel , enjoying their amenities but personally, missing family and friends became at times overwhelming emotionally. Like a nurse or anyone in a medical field or some sort of emergency aid, we are working holidays, birthdays and weekends especially as a junior flight attendant. Facetiming my mom , siblings and friends as they are enjoying a night out together or scrolling through the gram liking photos of dinners and parties I'm unable to attend made me emotional in the beginning. I swear I'm a G lol and really I never even thought I would miss little things like going on morning walks with my mom or just hanging out at my cousins house or even being a couch potato in my living room. It is a sacrifice that is important to mention primarily because many are not used to being away for so long especially on those special days.
The Fly Tip I have to cure this home sickness of sorts is really to use the time to gain your independence ! Some trips you click with your crew members and they are down to explore , have dinner or become your much needed workout partner and other trips they are slamming and clicking that hotel door so fast you won't even have a chance to say good night. Either way its cool but I've found an excitement in forcing myself out into the city. Try a new restaurant , go watch a local play or do some #flygiving and volunteer . The options are endless and a way better alternative to sulking in your room watching everyone else live their lives. This job provides an opportunity to experience things that many spend months (years) planning for, so take advantage !
3. The Glamorous Life
Flight Attendants are personified as jet setting , beautiful air hostess , pouring cokes and taking dates in every city they reach. It is indeed true that we have a life that many moments can be viewed as envious but there's also two sides to every coin. I take pride in looking great in my uniform , stomping through the concourse with my heels on on the way to my next adventure. Some of the not so glamorous moments are 5+ hour delays , sleeping on a twin bunk bed in a crash pad filled with 10 other flight attendants , crashing at the airport just to make it to my commuting flight home and changing in bathroom stalls. I've experienced all of that and then some . We don't get designated lunch breaks and many times we may have days where we don't eat at all besides those biscoff cookies you all love . Some work days run 12 hours long and in some instances we're only getting paid for half of that. Like anything in life , there are a plethora of cons within this career and yet with all of those things , I love it . A positive mentality , a great crew and the comfort of knowing the next day can completely be different from the last are all aspects that keep me going . Fly Tip number 5 will add to that motivation as well.
4. Jumpseat Confessionals
Flight Attendant : Hi , I'm Sue . I'll be working in the back with you .
Me: Hey , nice to meet you.
Flight Attendant : So let me tell you how my deadbeat husband cheated on me last month and my kids keep failing at school. I'm actually thinking about cheating too. What do you think ? By the way , where are you from ?
[End Scene ]
Chileeeeeee! I was not prepared for people I've never met in my life giving me all their business and then some. I wasn't ready ...hell , I'm still not ready sometimes. Some fly girls and guys are like a vault . They barely want to say hello . (I always have a good book stashed away for them ) Meanwhile there are some who put their bags up and immediately break their whole life down to you . I didn't realize and maybe it was naive of me but the magnitude of being in this metal tube for several hours with another person.There is something about sitting on that jumpseat that allows a certain vulnerability from everyone. Within myself , I noticed and surprised to even watch me open up to people whom I've never had an interaction with. I've prayed with coworkers in between slangin diet cokes , hugged and comforted complete strangers and offered advice to women and men twice my age. There is a connection that happens between flight attendants which is magical , for a lack of a better word. In training , they often tell you , you may very well meet your best friend , god mother to your children , maid of honor or even a lifelong partner doing this job. At first, being a private person , it raises apprehension and a sort of fear to allow someone in to your life to possibly never see them again in your career. That's the uniqueness of this job . I've met people who served a purpose for me and I for them for the time on the plane who I haven't seen or talked to again besides on social media. There is also those who I've connected with and have built a lifelong friendship and bond too. So get ready for the unexpected and a beautiful surprise.
5. Fly Perks
This is the fly tip I know ya'll been waiting on . This is also the reason EVERY fly attendant does this job. THE FLIGHT BENEFITS! I knew I would have the perks of leisure flying but I had no idea to this extent. We are not guaranteed seats as a flight attendant besides work trips so that entails us listed as stand by. When you are flying stand by , you are flying at the mercy of the hope and prayer there will be an additional open seat on that designated flight for you to have. Some days are easier than others but that is where patience appears again and flexibility. We fly for free to any domestic destination in the United States and pay simply the taxes for any international destination. It is such a blessing to enjoy such a perk , not only for myself but for my friends and family. I'm able to offer a life experience for them to have with me and for themselves and it is probably the greatest gift that I could ever be blessed to offer. Be ready to expand your wanderlust mind into a world of adventures , breathtaking moments and a purpose that is beyond the moments in the sky.
Live Abundantly .