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2014 Class Dates!

MAY 26 30
JULY 21 25
SEPTEMBER 22 -26
NOVEMBER 10 14


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By Wendy Stafford, Sr. Instructor
Flight Attendant Express


9. WHY WE WANT TO BE FLIGHT ATTENDANTS

There are many good reasons to become a flight attendant. There are several reasons why we pursue this sometimes elusive career path.

In the beginning days of air travel, “stewardesses”, as they were called then, had to be registered nurses who swatted flies in the cabin, lifted mailbags and distributed gum and served passengers box lunches and water served in thermos jugs. Things have come a long way, however, as “passengers” are now referred to as “customers”; “stewardesses” are now called “flight attendants”, they bid their trips by computer, and flights that used to take 10 hours can now be navigated in 3. And now, there are some very good reasons for becoming a flight attendant.

You will probably never get rich being a flight attendant; monetarily rich, anyway. The average salary is in the $45K range; however, flight attendants flying lead, internationally, with seniority, have been known to make upwards of $90K. But you don’t do this just for the money – you have to have a passion for it to make it as a flight attendant. Because being a flight attendant is just SO MUCH FUN!

When I went to my first airline interview, I went through a raging blizzard to get to the recruiting office. The recruiter was impressed that I came out into the frozen tundra, that I wanted the job so badly that I would endure scraping the windshield and hazardous driving conditions and bitter cold just to meet with her. What makes this job so coveted that people will do brave these kinds of conditions in order to get a job in the sky?

Let’s start with environment. Few jobs offer the chance to work in a different environment every day, with different scenery, surrounded by different faces. One day you may fly with a rock star, the next day with a sweet, kindly grandmother that wants to show you pictures of all her grandchildren and shower you with compliments; you may meet people who are noted scientists, politicians, celebrities, military personnel or world-famous athletes. Our flight attendants flew military charters to Desert Storm and received medals from the military. I have met poets, movie stars and all the above, plus the plain-old, down-to-earth boy-next-door college guy who just thought I was the “bees knees” getting paid to fly around every day! We sat and talked and he gave me all the information I needed to explore the sights of Maui.

Ah, adventure - the ability to see the world! I have experienced the turquoise of the Caribbean Sea, the black sands of Hawaii, the excitement of London’s Piccadilly Circus, the Emerald Isles of Ireland, the ancient wonders of Egypt, the splendor of the Rockies, the grandeur of the grand canyon, and so much more, while still young enough to appreciate it.

One of the wonderful things about being an airline employee is the benefit of mobility. I could go see my best friend in New Jersey who just had her baby and visit my cousins in North Carolina; I was able to hop a quick flight to Virginia for a family emergency, fly to California to see a rock star I met at a concert, and hop a flight to Philadelphia for an exciting date. I once woke up on my day off and decided to take a spur-of-the-moment jaunt to St. Thomas for a day of shopping, bought a watch and some shoes, had a great time, then flew back home.

I have met other airline employees whom I will never forget; a pilot who took me flying in his Cessna and taught me to roll and do loops; a customer service agent who went on vacation to Thailand and brought me jewelry from his trip; another flight attendant based in New York who invited me up to do lunch, shopping and a play, and many other memorable people. I met lifetime friends while I was flying, and no other job enjoys the incredible camaraderie as that of flight crewmembers.

There is nothing routine about the job of a flight attendant. Schedules are so varied – I have flown early morning flights, afternoon flights, evening flights and midnight flights. Sometimes I worked for 3 hours, sometimes for 14. The humdrum routine of 9 to 5 is virtually nonexistent in the aviation world; around every turn there is a surprise! Your schedule changes sometimes daily, especially in the beginning, when most airlines start new flight attendants on “reserve”, or on-call status. Being on call can be advantageous – you can have opportunities to fly some really good trips that you normally have to have a lot of seniority in order to fly. As a new reserve, I once flew a trip from Atlanta to Los Angeles. While in LA, we took a tour of the telescope at the Mt. Palomar Tower. I had a long layover in Portland once, where all the crew went snow skiing! Ah, the good life.

And then there’s the time off, one of the great perks of being a flight attendant. My flight attendant roommate and I used to sit on our balcony and watch the nine-to-fivers trudge home from work, briefcases and umbrellas in hand, weary of their daily trek to and from their boring existences. We were off at least 10 scheduled days a month, not to mention the days on reserve where we were never called out for a trip. We would simply go to have fun somewhere or go see a friend and take the pager or cell phone. Most people have the same 8 days off every month; we had a lot more.

As you can see, this is an exciting job, none other even remotely like it. By virtue of the fact that you are one of the few chosen out of hundreds enhances the job appeal, and nothing equals the feeling of walking through an airport terminal in your uniform, wings proudly displayed on your chest. If you want to pursue an outstanding career, become a flight attendant!

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