The hallmark holiday called Valentine’s Day, isn’t just for lovers of the romantic sort.. It’s truly for ANYONE that wants a day to celebrate the love in his or her heart. That love can be for themselves, a pet, a partner, or a passion..
It bothers me that some people may feel lonely or sad on this day if they are not “ coupled up”. Of course the media is to blame for a lot of this with all the commercials, hype, and store bought items on the market that suggest this “holiday” is just for couples. The advertising SHOULD be expressive of love for anything or anyone you hold dear to your heart. For example.. I LOVE lot of things and people besides my spouse: Aviation, my dog, my friends, the gift of life, and myself (not in any particular order).. I can remember the day I fell in love with all of those things:
The day I met my dog and picked her out of a litter of puppies – I feel in love. The day I stepped foot on a private jet and worked my first trip- I fell in love. And the day I ran my first marathon, I fell in love with my self and the strength I had found in my mind and body. I also fear loosing these wonderful loves in my life so I try each day to remind myself of what they all mean to me.
I will also tell you that what sparked these words and this blog was the combination of a handwritten letter I received yesterday form my 11 yr old Goddaughter and A text conversation I had with her mom ( my best friend). The letter and conversation made me remember how much I love them and how sad I was that it had been too long since I have seen them, and some other dear friends of mine that live across the country.. So, what did I do? I bought a plane ticket for NY -I will see them in two weeks ☺.
I would Love for everyone that may be reading this to make a list this Valentines Day of all of the things or people in your life that you LOVE.. And then celebrate with as many of those things or people, as you can.. Go do what you love with those you love,,, even if that means just you and your lovely, special self…
With All MY LOVE,
Cobblestones and Heels
If you are a corporate flight attendant you may have fallen victim to the following work scenario:
It’s last day of your trip, and you have a departure ( ETD) of 1400. You have just checked out of your hotel, and about to go pick up your catering. Your PIC calls to inform you that the departure is now 2200, or possibly 0900 the next day. So, you re-check in for an extra half day, and try to figure out if you should cancel the catering or have it stored..
If this, or any version of this scenario has happened to –please you raise your hand. OK, since I can’t see any of you, I am taking an educated guess that almost all of you would have hands raised. This is the part of the job we may despise, but have grown accustom to. The constant change of departure date and times, catering order changes at the 12th hour, and the over all inconsistency in our lives! What’s the pay off for all of this? Free travel, great money, and the crazy thrill of it all! Those of us who get an adrenaline rush from all of it -know intuitively that we were born to do this job!
My true intent for writing this blog is to give some helpful hints to those who are new at dealing with last minute changes of this job. Here are the most common inconsistencies:
1.The waiting game of trip confirmation–
Example- you get a call on April 10th that there is a trip April 17th “ that may, or may not go”. It’s a 8 day trip so that means great money (if you fly contract). The dilemma is- do you accept the trip and give your commitment in hope that it confirms, OR , do you not accept because it may not go and something else may come up in that time frame that is a sure thing.. Unfortunately we can NOT give the following answer : “well, I will take the trip if it goes, but if something better comes up I will let you know, I cant commit at this point “..
So what should you do?
My suggestion: think about the odds with this particular client/ operator. Is it common for trips with this client to cancel, or is he/she pretty consistent? Do you have a lot of work consistently coming in so it won’t financially hurt you to say no? Are you trying to fly more consistently with this particular operation and therefore saying NO will work against you? Weigh out all the facts then make a decision you will feel good about and stick with. From a moral and good work ethic standpoint, once you accept a trip, only “Ebola “ should keep you from fulfilling that commitment.
2. The last minute catering change-
Example: ETD is 1800 pm. You arrange catering to be ready at 15:30 for pickup. Of course you have put this order in the day before or in the am so whomever the catering vendor is,- you know they will have already made the food by 1500 ( usually). Now, at 1300 , your principal pax ( passenger) has changed his mind and has requested a whole new order.(let me add that you are in a foreign country). How do you handle this?
My suggestions: Prior to your trip, do some research and figure out the different cuisine catering choices in that area so if you have to choose a completely different vender, you already know your options and where they are located, have their contact info , and also their menus!
Once you have chosen a specific vender for the first order, ask them how difficult it may be to change orders “if needed”. (Catering companies have grown accustom to this happening so they will be a bit ore flexible). Find out if delivery is an option with all the venders you may use, and how long it takes them to get to your airport. If you do your homework and prepare for this scenario, it will be a lot easier to deal with instead of letting it catch you off guard.
Always put every order and re-order ,in writing. Copy in your PIC or anyone else that needs to know you have taken care of it. Rush the new order and tip well if it is a complete change at the same vender.
Final note: always be extremely polite when dealing with any catering vendor, you never know when you will need special favors from them!
3. Earlier Departure change –
Example: you have been assigned a trip for the next day. Your ETD is set for 1200 so you plan a lunch service and order your catering. At 1900 the night before, you are told that the pax now want to leave at 0600 ! “And breakfast was requested”. OMG! You know that you will have to be at the airport at 0400 and nothing will be open to pick up that early. What do you do?
My suggestions: I hope you can cook ☺. Really. If your clients have now asked for eggs, bacon etc.- find out if there is a skillet onboard and plan on a grocery store run to pick up everything you will need to cook breakfast the next morning on the plane. If the request is simple, IE. yogurt, fruit, granola, etc. -Run to the store. Of course, cancel your other order so hopefully you wont be billed.
4. Last minute passenger additions-
Example: your trip departs in 2 hours. You are already at the plane getting organized. Your PIC tells you that there will be 3 extra pax coming. You already have your catering. What do you do?
My Suggestions: First, ALWAYS plan on having a little extra food (especially if it’s a long flight_. You never want to run out of food! In this specific case scenario, lets hope there are big portions that you can split up. You will also need to run to a grocery store and buy items that can fill in your original order. For instance, if they ordered chicken, buy extra at the store and cook it in the oven, using sauce that came with the catering order. Or if available, buy premade cutlets. Also buy extra staples like salad ingredients, deli meat for sandwiches, and extra desert. You will have to ask your pilots to pitch in and help set the plane while you run to the store! Worst case0 no store near by, well, maybe last minute delivery is an option.. Again, if you prepare for this scenario, it will never beat you!
In this career we live by the “Murphy’s Laws” and plan on change happening in one way or another. All we can do is be as prepared as possible and go with the flow.. It may be tougher for the A type personalities out there but sooner or later every FA (flight attendant) learns to go with it or give it all up.
If you love it as much as I do, it will just become the norm, and you will see your way through anything that comes up!
If you have some crazy stories to tell on his topic, or additional advice, I would all love to hear it , so please feel free to comment!
With love and patience,
Cobblestones and Heels
For each of us a “new Year” means different things. It could mean a time to move forward with new goals or working on current ones. It could mean saying farewell to a year that has been less than kind, or for some people it could simply be another day on the calendar.
I am not one to set “resolutions” but I do use the new year as a reminder that life is full of new opportunities, new pages and chapters in our book of life. I believe we should all have goals (big or small) that we continue to work on.
High on MY list is the concept of “working on myself”; being a better person in some way. Helping others, more forgiveness towards others, and keeping my priorities in check. I also need to keep reminding myself that fear is normal, but it cant stop me from pursuing happiness and the success I want.
New year in Aviation
This past year has had its share of heartache in aviation: horrific accidents, a mystery disappearance, and many fatalities. We cant turn back time but we try to learn from mistakes and move forward in hopes that those same mistakes wont happen again.
On a positive note, corporate aviation has continued to grow stronger. New aircrafts, and more clients leading to an increase in jobs! We know that this sector of the aviation industry is not really known for job security because its dependent on a strong financial economy ( which is so unpredictable). In my years of flying I have seen the waves of good times and bad times and just tried to hold on. When I started working as a corporate flight attendant the industry was strong. Then the stock market crashed and private flying came to a screaming halt.. Slowly it has risen again and become stronger than ever, which I am excited about, but I do keep it in perspective( having experienced the fall). Those of us that are committed to a career in corporate aviation- stay in it because we love it ,and are willing to take the risks that go along with it. We are willing to relocate when needed, increase our education, and work hard to keep a good reputation, in order to improve our chances of staying in the game.
I am hopeful and excited for a new year in aviation. I pray for fewer accidents, mysteries solved, and a continuation of growth.
My wish for us all
We only get one life but fortunately we do have each new year to begin again from where we are.. Make changes, start a new chapter in our lives, and leave behind things that have brought us negativity.
I wish for my aviation family a safe and successful year. Use CRM everyday you go to work, and keep your love for the friendly skies and our aviation industry, in your hearts.
For everyone I wish you a new year of happiness and good health,
Not to sound cliché, but of course I also wish for world peace ☺
With love ,
Cobblestones and Heels
Becoming a Corporate Cabin Attendant in Southern California
Posted on December 9, 2014 by Kathryn Martone [guest author]
Becoming a Corporate Flight Attendant
please check out this link above to see the Air Culinaire Worldwide publication!
here is my actual article:
Does geography play a role in obtaining a job in corporate aviation? I have two answers: yes and no! OK, I will expand on that. And as always, I will be very honest.
I am originally from New York, but I began my career as a corporate cabin attendant in Los Angeles, California. I was much younger at the time, and really lucked out getting a full-time position with zero experience. Again, for one – I was Young. Two – I was hired with no experience. Could I have had that same opportunity in New York? From my knowledge and experience now in the industry, I really don’t think so. Southern California has a strong reputation in the corporate aviation industry for targeting cabin attendants that are under the age of 30. It also has the reputation of hiring candidates that have not yet had cabin emergency training. The goal of most of these employers has been to satisfy the clientele with a young, pretty girl for cabin service.
Has this changed? A little. I have seen the industry raise their standards quite a bit nationwide, including Southern California. However, I still feel that Northern California and the East Coast of the United States still holds the highest standards and tends to hire more experienced, professional and cabin safety trained individuals. Age is also not as much of a factor in other parts of the country as it is here in Southern California (especially the Los Angeles area). So, in short, if you are young, attractive, and have a social and pleasant personality, you have a great shot at being hired by many charter operations in Los Angeles.
Now, having said all of that, there are also highly-reputable companies, such as Jet Professionals that have a presence here and will not hire an unprofessional or untrained cabin attendant. Their hub is in New York, and the standards they hold there extend across the whole country. Superficial things, like age, carry no weight with them. They just want the best quality and highest caliber people for their clients.
What about the process for obtaining a job as a corporate cabin attendant?
This process is pretty much the same in every geographic location:
First – I highly suggest making sure that your cabin safety and CPR trainings are current. If you haven’t taken these trainings yet, contact FlightSafety International or Aircare FACTS for information on training at a location that suits your needs.
Second – Have an excellent resume that reflects your customer service experience, any culinary skills and experience you may have, your education and training.
Third – Take the time to reach out to people in the industry and network as much as possible. Social media sites, like LinkedIn, can be very helpful with this. Attend functions held by groups like the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA).
Fourth – Figure out what type of employment works best for you (i.e., contract, full-time, Part 91 or Part 135) and select the operations that deal specifically with what you are looking for. Do your research to figure out the right person to contact. Give that person a call, send them your resume, and, if possible, stop in for a visit so they can meet you in person. Even if it’s an unofficial visit, and you are just “dropping off your resume,” wear a suit and play the part. More experienced cabin attendants tend to reach out to the recruiting companies or track down the lead flight attendant for large corporations. In Los Angeles, corporate flight attendants with less experience usually start with local operators (charter companies).
Finally – After you have made contact and applied through the proper channels, all you can do is think positive and continue to follow up.
For help with locating potential employers, I suggest taking a look at a site called Air Charter Guide. You can use that site to locate every operator in your geographic area. Additionally, job sites such as Indeed, Simply Hired, LinkedIn and Climb to 350 will advertise positions for cabin attendants nationwide.
A positive mental attitude, belief in yourself, and perseverance will eventually land you that amazing job you are searching for as a corporate cabin attendant!
Cobblestones and Heels
In corporate aviation, the FAA states (in the FARs) that it’s the responsibility of the caption ( PIC) to ensure a passenger briefing is given for part 135 and part. 91 operation.. Funny thing about the FARs.. they are widely open to interpretation. This topic specifically has brought some of the most controversial conversations that crew members could have. For instance: Many pilots will say; “ corporate cabin attendants are not suppose to give pax ( passenger) briefings because they are not legally required to be on the A/C in the first place and are not actual crewmembers”. Others will say; “ If asked by the PIC to give a pax briefing than they must do so”. Many new ( and veteran )cabin attendants are tremendously confused on their role, expectations, and legality of what they can/ cant , and should/ shouldn’t do when it comes to this subject. They leave initial or recurrent cabin safety training where they are told to “ give a pax briefing”, only to get into the “real world” and be told by the Capt, :” no that’s not your job. You are here for cabin service and assist in safety related matters”. In some aspects EVERYONE is right… “Cabin attendants” are NOT governed by the FAA and are NOT certified flight attendants that are required by any government law to carry out those duties on an A/C. However, The PIC is the final authority on an aircraft and can assign that duty to whomever he /she wishes. Part 91 operation can also substitute a briefing card for a verbal briefing of information.. Are cabin attendants even “allowed” to give this card out??!! ( I was being dramatic with that last statement –yes we should be fine providing briefing cards to the cabin).
In the big picture, if we are trained for cabin safety, than we are expected to perform “safety related duties” and doesn’t that include a passenger safety briefing??
Now, if you work for an operation that puts you through additional training that does turn your title into a “flight attendant” status, THEN you are required to follow FAA rules including giving a pax briefing!
I actually hold an certification of an official flight attendant because I started in commercial, but even holding that card, I am still considered a cabin attendant for most of my assignments…
I really wish I could sit here and tell you what the official right answer is but the truth is, I have yet to meet anyone that could tell ME… I have been trained to do this briefing and to teach others to, but I honestly believe the jury is still out on an official word..
I would LOVE an FAA Agent to read this and respond.. If that’s not gonna happen, I will continue my hunt for the final word on this…
I welcome any ones comments!!!!
Cobblestones and Heels
I have lost count of how many “911” blogs I have written but i know its been a lot. Every year that I write one, something specific has inspired it. This year, I have been thinking about what a horrible year for aviation it has been.. So many accidents, missing planes, attacks,etc, – every size of aircraft. As a crew member and now a cabin safety instructor, It is really heartbreaking and frustrating to see all of it. Accidents that could have been prevented, terrorist attacks that didn’t need to happen, and government involvement that most of us will never know about, but speculate.
“They say” that it takes 4-7 factors that link up to cause an innocent or accident..a combination of controllable and uncontrollable errors (human error being about half). In the case of 911, so many innocent people lost their lives on planes and on the ground all in the name of evil and hatred and MANY errors.. Could 911 have been prevented too? There are many people that say yes to this. Which makes the situation even more horrible.
So my point of all this is to stress the importance of “the people” to work even harder at prevention, have more situational awareness, and less ignorance. In addition, We can not rely on one person or a small group of people to do this.. it needs to be everyone, in every type of situation. I know I sound somewhat vague but I am purposely leaving it up to everyones personal interpretation.
As tomorrow approaches(09/11/14)-Lets all honor the victims of 911, send condolences to their families, and continue to work as a united country (and world) to prevent another one….
(This year I write from my hotel room in Monaco)
United we stand..
Cobblestones and Heels
As much as I LOVE this industry and career, Its not ALL roses.. Throughout the life of EVERYONES’ career as a corporate cabin attendant, there is bound to be less than great experiences. Scary passengers, difficult aircraft owners, unprofessional co-workers, and poorly managed flight departments – just a few scenarios off the top of my head.
The question is, how do we deal with these situations without feeling discouraged, loosing our passion for the job, or letting anger allow us to make the wrong decisions.
Personally, I have had my share of bad experiences like everyone . But what prompted this blog was an email I received from another flight attendant about a recent BAD part.91 experience. She is a semi-new cabin attendant who has had about one year of heavy flying under her belt. Until recently, all of her flying and employment experience had been pretty good. I will tell you, that although she is fairly young, she is VERY mature, responsible, hardworking, passionate, and kind-hearted. So, when I received her email, I felt horrible for her and could read between the lines that she felt discouraged and disheartened. I set up a time for a phone call with her because I really wanted to hear her whole story and see what I could say (or do) to raise her spirits and morale again.
For the sake of her privacy, I will refer to her as “Anne”.
*Anne had landed a full time, part.91 position on a new aircraft. On paper, it was a fantastic opportunity especially for a semi- new cabin attendant!
This is her story
“ The owner wanted someone both young and experienced, which is difficult to find in this business. $90k salary, 10 days per month on average. Although it wasn’t a lot of flying, there were lots of personal assistant duties that weren’t well-outlined from the get go. The client’s wife did not want a FA, although the owner did, and the wife had a lot of influence on her husband. When I flew with them she always was nice to me but was very short tempered and was frustrated when I didn’t fulfill her needs. There was not a clear outline of their food preferences and I was initially going to meet with their chef in their home but the wife didn’t want me intruding in their personal space at first. When I sat down on one flight with both of them to ask them general questions so that all was clear from the beginning, she and her husband had different preferences but she was domineering and told me to just speak to her directly. In one month my email chain with the wife was over 60 emails long. I also made an Excel document of all items in the galley, cabin, and lav and she said items were missing in the lav (which was not true – she just couldn’t find them). “
Anne finally left this position out of frustration, and moved on, returning to contract work.
Her negative experience with all of this impacted her view on part. 91 positions.. (This being her only part 91 position so far), she told me that she prefers charter at this point because it’s “less demanding”.
I felt bad hearing this because I know that when it’s a good match, part 91 positions can be wonderful.
We had a good talk about things and I did my best to “lift her back up” to the positive and optimistic person she is, and encourage her to let the experience go and take a look at all she had learned from it. I also reminded her how small this industry is in terms of everyone knowing everyone( or at least knowing of everyone)! I explained to her that even coast to coast, people will know when you screwed up. They will also know when you are a rock star!
The follow up
Anne followed up with me stating the following:
“On a positive note I made good money in the time that I was there and learned a lot about plane organization. I also realized that a full-time FA’s job always exceeds that of a contractor’s – it is your primary responsibility and the days you are flying are not “off” days; there is always something else to do or learn. In addition, I am much more confident in dealing with people. I also am weary of FT positions so I never take the recruiters/pilots for their word in regards to duties or flight hours. You have to learn about it yourself. And be professional when leaving a position to not burn bridges in a small industry.”
I know Anne is a very intelligent girl and no doubt will land another great opportunity, applying her past experience to help her present one.
Find a good match
Like any job, it has to be a good match for both the employer and employee. In our industry, I believe the right thing to do when you are interviewing for a full time gig is to use those “test flights” as a two-sided interview. Decide if the client is someone YOU want to work with. DON’T just accept any position because of financial factors.. in the long run, it will be better to hold out for a situation that fits both parities needs.
Exiting a job the right way
When exiting a job position, do it very carefully. Don’t burn any bridges and be as respectful as possible. Since the industry is so small, and you really do need every possible reference to prove all of your experience, hold your tongue, temper, and with class- move on with a smile.
Now I will be the first to tell you how difficult this can be if you have really been wronged and treated unfairly… But I all I can say is try really hard!
What about a crewmember that is just NOT professional?
1.Bad pilot experience
This story was sent to me a year ago but it is a great example to share.
A brand new cabin attendant was on her third trip over seas. I received an email from her while she was in *Paris. When I received this email, I knew it was the middle of the night over there so I could tell it was something really important.
In Becky’s words:
“ Kathryn! Omg I need some advice. I am flying with a pilot that is pretty much stalking me. At first I thought he was just being polite asking me to dinner, but dinner was followed by the question;” do you want to watch a movie in my room?” When I said “no thanks, it’s getting late”, he kept pushing the issue. I again said “no I am tired”, and left to head to my room. A few minutes later he called me and said he had to give me some paperwork for the trip and would bring it by my room! I politely said, “why don’t you leave it at the front desk and I can grab it in the morning, I am really tired”.. He insisted on bringing it to my room so I said” just slide it under the door then”. Soon I heard knocking on my door. I ignored it so he would just leave. He continued to knock several times! I finally texted his phone and said, “ I am in bed! Please stop knocking, I will get what ever it is- tomorrow from you.” He finally left thank God!
All of this was an hour ago! I am now afraid to see him tomorrow and also fear that he will say bad things to the captain about me and I will get “in trouble”.
Is any of this normal? What should I do?”..”
Reading this I was fuming! What a jackass I was thinking! I quickly wrote back to her and said that she could skype me or I could just email her my response.
My phone rang a few seconds later..
I explained to her that NO, this is not normal or professional behavior. I also suggested she write an email to the captain explaining what had happened. I told her she needs to document this behavior. My other advice was to have a talk with this pilot, with maybe the Captain present and explain how uncomfortable you felt. This advice scared her a bit but I explained that she HAD TO stand up for herself and not allow someone to treat her disrespectfully. “He should not get away with this behavior with you or anyone else” I explained. She thanked me for the call and we hung up.
The follow up
A few days later, when Becky returned to the states, she emailed me to thank me for the help. Apparently this pilot had a reputation for this sort of bad behavior and the captain reported it for her. He told Becky that he did not approve of what the SIC did and apologized to her.
She expressed to me how thankful she was for the advice and proud of herself for having the strength to follow it.
Unfortunately, unprofessional behavior does happen. How we deal with it is what matters the most. We all need to learn how important it is to stick up for yourself. New Fas fall victim to this the most because they are fearful of jeopardizing a job or future jobs- shady pilots/ people, know this and take full advantage of it. Personally, I have experienced this sort of thing once myself, however, I have always been a very assertive person and had no fear of anyone disrespecting me. Not everyone is like this, which I understand. All we can do is remain professional ourselves, document everything, and remember than any crewmember or management that would allow someone to be treated with disrespect is not worth working for..
2.The competitive flight attendant
Lastly, what about those cabin attendants that are competitive and just NOT NICE to fellow FAs? They wont help newbies in fear of loosing jobs and downright catty to others. Unfortunately, this sort of personality exists everywhere (honestly they were probably the bullies in high school). Not only have I seen this first hand, I have received many emails from new FAS about this. It angers me to hear it, and will ever truly understand this mentality. I recently found a quote that perfectly states:
“ I am in competition with no one.
I have no desire to play the game better than anyone.
I am simply trying to be better than the person I was yesterday”.
The only person you should be in competition with is yourself.
In our industry, if someone else gets hired over you for a position, it may not be because they do a BETTER job than you, it is just simply a better fit. This is especially true in part 91 positions where the owner is specifically looking for the “right “ person for their aircraft. Someone who fits with their personality, their family, as well as has the specific skill set or experience they are looking for.
Unfortunately many people do not get this and continue to try and “protect their domain” so to speak. Even when handing off an aircraft and passengers to another FA, they may actually try to sabotage you giving you incorrect information about the pax. I have also heard from these new FAs that when they have reached out for advice or assistance from veteran FAs, they have been discouraged, blown off, or given shady advice.
My advice on handling this is;
1. do not take these bad attitudes personally, remember that jealousy and immaturity resides with these people.
2. Be careful who you reach out to and decide to trust..
3. Be confident in yourself, your own attributes, and skill. Rise above negative attitudes and competitive behavior.
4. Always remain professional and classy
5. Document everything you do and all conversations. Take pictures when relevant ae well!
This is a wonderful career. you are truly blessed to have found the world of corporate aviation and exciting life as crewmember aboard these exquisite aircrafts.. It is like no other job you will ever have.
Don’t let a few difficult people, unprofessional co-workers, or unfair management spoil it for you. Bad experiences can be lessons learned and make you grow as a person and a professional.
Its all about the attitude at the altitude! ☺
Cobblestones and Heels
I dedicated a whole chapter in my book to the hazards of dating at work. If you haven’t already read it, The basic premise is that dating fellow crewmembers’ or passengers is highly discouraged for MANY reasons. While there are a few situations in which that has worked out for some people, statistically it has been more troublesome and not worth the trial.
So if you don’t date at work, and you are “on the go” all of the time, you may ask; Where the hell can you meet someone and how does that even work long term??”
First, meeting people is a little easier these days with Internet dating. You can Perouse the dating pool and schedule dates from the other side of the world or country. Technology also makes things easier to communicate and stay in touch. Apps like Skype, whatsapp, google talk, etc, allow for easy and low cost communication from all parts of the world. So I feel, and based on experience, meeting people is not the hard part.
Once you meet an eligible and compatible bachelor (or bachelorette), you really need to be up front and honest about your crazy lifestyle. The unpredictable schedule and schedule changes are difficult enough on us! Not to mention being AWAY for days, weeks, even maybe months at a time. A person who has no clue about our careers and industry are really in for a rude awakening! Be fair to that person and really help them understand what it is all about. Either they will know right away that it is NOT something they can handle, or, they will be willing to give it a shot. The hardest part for most people seems to be the reality of plans consistently being broken, changing, or the inability to plan at all. Holidays, vacations, etc., may never happen together, and that is the sad reality. If you fly “contract”, you may have a better schedule and more control over your life- making it easier to have a “love life”.
If you reach the point of a committed relationship, congratulations! Now, you have to work hard to keep things GREAT at home to make up for the time you spend away. Maybe pampering your partner, bringing home special little gifts from foreign lands, and just being very attentive while you are home- is a very good idea!
Also, even non- jealous partners may become jealous or insecure with the knowledge of you spending so much time away and all over the world in hotels with fellow crew members. As one once said to me; “ you are in all of these romantic cities and places without me”… Yes, he was right. I was…but little did he know I spent all of my time completely alone! The job can be very lonely for us too. We would much rather have our loved ones and friends with us on these trips than our co-workers and strangers. Am I right?! This is the point you need to stress to your significant other. Lots of communication on the road is essential.
I do not mean to sound pessimistic with any of this. Of course you can have great marriages, relationships, and friendships with this job!. You just have to work really hard at keeping them. I have seen both ends of the spectrum in my years of flying which include the best relationships and unfortunately many divorces. Like anything in life, if you want something to work bad enough, you will put in the effort for success. And if you are with the right person, someone who truly loves you for who and what you are, the success will be that much easier to achieve..
As always, I welcome comments and stories!
Cobblestones and Heels
Turbulence during flight is something we ALL have experienced at one time or another; as a passenger or a working crewmember. And as most people know, there are many causes of turbulence due to the fact that our “friendly skies” consist of ever changing air pressures, temperature changes, precipitation, wind speeds/ directions, and other aircrafts!
The dangers mostly lie in the types of turbulence that can’t be predicted and really come out of nowhere…
Clear air turbulence
This type of turbulence occurs when the winds change direction and the air masses moving at different speeds meet. Usually there are no visual clues, i.e. clouds. Its also most common in areas of jet streams and over mountain ranges. Corporate jets, flying over 40,000 feet are less likely to experience this but climbing through altitude, we can still hit it. When clear air turbulence occurs, it literally feels like the plane just “drops”. So imagine a poor flight attendant walking around doing their service and “out of the clear blue sky” this happens…
Simply put, this type of turbulence is caused by one plane flying too close to another. ATC will generally specify the distance two planes need to take off, land, or fly near each other, but sometimes, they just get too close.. Picture the wake of a boat, and the effect it has on another one as it passes… In the take off and landing phases of flight, the vortex ( air flow generated by the wingtips during lift), are usually stronger, and can make wake turbulence more dangerous to another aircraft that may be be following too close behind.
Stormy and severe weather
In the event of a thunderstorm, snow, hail, or strong winds, pilots have restrictions to follow as to if, when ,and where to fly. They do their best to avoid certain cloud formations, altitudes, and any flying pattern that can be hazardous. However, not all situations can be avoided. All of the above conditions would cause some level of turbulence.
Severity Of turbulence
Turbulence can also vary is severity between- “mild”, “moderate”, or “severe”. Light bumps or mild turbulence are usually harmless. But moderate and severe levels can really do serious damage to passengers, crew, and even the aircraft. I have served full meal services in mild turbulence, but anything heavier, you can bet your “you know what”, I will be sitting down.
All too often, Flight attendants are walking around an aircraft at 45,000 feet and prioritizing their passenger’s comfort and needs over their own safety. When turbulence occurs out of now where, most of us at least TRY to pick up loose items- anything that can potentially go airborne! This is the time so many are injured …
I have been lucky enough, thus far, to have never experienced an injury from turbulence. I have bumped around a bit, but that’s pretty much it. Others have not been so lucky.
A flight Attendant recently wrote me with her own horrific story of a turbulent flight which resulted in permanent neck injury! Her story actually inspired me to write this blog.
With her permission, I will share it with you:
“I was working a flight between BWI – SAN and the weather was horrible we were delayed hours before takeoff. When we finally were cleared to get up and serve our passengers we hit a pocket of turbulence. I bounced up and got slammed in to the floor. It felt like someone dumped ice water down my neck and back. I just laid there for a few moments frozen. I remember the screams from the scared passengers as things were getting tossed around. I got up and struggled to keep working. I did my company irregularity report and ended up having to work the rest of my trip because the lack of coverage due to the fact we only had a 7 hour layover and no base in SAN. I saw the company doctor as soon as I got back. My severely injured neck went in diagnosed for months because they never got me an xray or MRI. I progressively got worse and started losing my balance I was falling down and ended up losing most of the feeling in my right arm and hand. I went for an emergency MRI and was sent to surgery within days. I had my cervical neck fused with a titanium plate and screws. It’s been a rough recovery and my range of motion is bad. I will forever have neck problems now. I’m slowly getting back into flying, but it’s not the same. 4 ounce of soda and a bag if pretzels is NOT worth breaking your neck. You’re number one. Use your judgment and sit down if it’s not safe. Learn from my experience!”
AS you can see from the pictures, Michelle was lucky to be alive.
My message to all of you is this:
No glass of wine, plate of oeuvres, or “bag of pretzels”, is worth your safety and life. If it’s too bumpy to keep a glass steadily on a tray, sit down! Wait for it to pass, and resume your service.
If any one else would like to share their stories on this topic, please feel free to post a response!!
Cobblestones and Heels