As I sit here writing this I’m sitting in the back galley of a Boeing 737 with about 2 hours to go until we touch down in Dallas and then on to Oklahoma City for the night. This was never a career I dreamed long and hard about, but it was something that presented itself at a time in my life when I desperately needed a change and a fresh start and it had always been in the back of my mind as a career that intrigued me.
At the beginning of October 2018 I sat down and applied to the following airlines: Delta, American, United, and Frontier. Before going into this application process I didn’t realize HOW MANY airlines are operated in the United States. For reference, and understanding, there are three legacy carriers: Delta, American, and United. Then there’s mainline carriers: Southwest, Spirit, Alaska, Frontier, etc. Then there’s regional: American Eagle, United Express, Skywest, etc. Regionals are usually operated by legacy carriers so they have similar uniforms and training, but operate on smaller aircrafts with less crew. On some regionals there may be only ONE flight attendant. Crazy right?!
Also, before going into this career I never really understood what it took to become a flight attendant. Sure we all see them give the safety demo or walk around just smiling, but I never realized the training process was so intense. Come to find out most trainings are 6-8 weeks long, 6 days a week, 8-12 hours a day… Sound like college to anyone? Unlike college though, you can get kicked out at any time. If you don’t keep above a 90% average on all tests, you’re late to class, or you get fresh with an instructor… You’re on the next flight back home.
Did I mention that training is UNPAID, however with my airline they pay for you to get to training, room and board, and three meals a day. Some airlines offer a daily stipend, but you have to purchase your own food. So it’s sort of a toss up. They literally encourage and URGE that you have upwards of $2500 stashed away before training for bills during training and relocation fees when you get to your new home base.
That’s another thing. All airlines have several bases, but not all of them are available for you to pick from straight from training or really ever (I’m looking at you Los Angeles or any base west of the Mississippi). Where you go and what you’re offered is purely based on operational need. So for instance New York City is our most junior base because no one wants to live there because HELLO IT’S EXPENSIVE.
When I got to training I was offered the following bases: Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Boston, DC and New York City. I ranked them just as listed and I was given my 5th choice. I was disappointed at first, but after being in Boston for a whole month now I’m SO incredibly happy with it! The crews are amazing, the city is beautiful; the flying may not be spectacular, but I still have all the time in the world to see the world.
After one month of having this job I still think I’m the luckiest gal in the world with the best job ever and I love it more and more every day. So come fly with me!
If you have any questions at all please comment below! I’d love to help you through the application process!
Follow along with my journey here: https://my.flightradar24.com/marissajwatkins