One of the most common questions I get asked is this: What does a typical day look like for you?
I found myself asking this question a lot while I was in training, and then I heard a few fellow Flight Attendants answer this question multiple times to inquisitive passengers in my first few weeks on the job. At first I thought, how annoying, this job isn’t that unpredictable. That was like, week two. And now I’m over here repeating the same things those Senior Mama’s were saying back in June.
This job is unpredictable.
Every day is different.
I couldn’t even begin to outline a typical day.
However, in a very vague, broad sense I could. I kind-of did in my last blog, and I’d like to try to answer this question in a bit more detail.
My schedule is centered around rotations. Rotations are varied amounts of days comprised of 1-4 legs between cities all over the country. Rotations vary in range from one day rotations to eight day rotations. I do my best to work two to three day rotations because they fit best with my lifestyle.
I’ll map out a standard(ish) three day rotation to give you an idea.
-Report to the airport at 11:12. Brief with the crew for the day and head up to the aircraft. Gate G19. Sweet. I love G19.
-Check emergency equipment on plane, stow bags, introduce self to the pilots, and work on organizing those drink carts until people start to board.
-Once people start to board, help the mother with three children, no husband, four carry-ons, and an overflowing diaper bag that keeps spilling it’s contents into the aisle find her seats and get her life together.
-Finish boarding and prepare for take-off.
-Take-off and prepare beverage service. Complete beverage service as quickly and efficiently as possible. Stow carts. Hang out. Chat with the cool people who decide to practice some yoga in the galley.
-Prepare cabin for landing.
-Repeat above steps three more times.
-Layover in…Panama City! Woo! We love Panama City because we’ve been in Minneapolis during the cold snap and nobody should have to experience a -35 degree climate. It’s the tundra, people. It really is.
-Since it’s Panama City you do everything in your power to spend as much time on the beach because it’s literally right outside the hotel. And for shame if you don’t take advantage of that.
-Drag yourself away from the beach, and capture the serenity of sand between your toes because in a few hours you’ll need to find your way back to that place when the gate agent tells you you have five emotional support animals on board, two blind passengers, a passenger who is hard of hearing, and seventeen passengers needing wheelchairs.
-Repeat steps aforementioned in Day 1 up until the layover because tonight’s layover is….
-Stay in bed all 12 hours and order room service because it’s discounted and payday was last night. Plus you’re staying at a hotel next to the airport so it’s not like you can go out and see the sights anyways.
-Wake-up relaxed, even thought you listened to the sounds of planes landing last night. You’re used to it by now.
-It’s day three and they’ve relieved you of working one leg, however they’ve tagged on a penalty lap at the end. (Penalty lap: when scheduling is ever so nice to have you fly back to your base only to fly you out to a near destination and back again immediately after. I.E. MCI (Kansas City) to MSP, then MSP to SLC to MSP.)
-You suffer through all three legs with grace and a cheerful smile, because it’s day three and tonight you’ll be sleeping in your own bed.
-After flying to Minneapolis and Salt Lake City and then back to Minneapolis, you’re released upon the final deplaning. You take the employee shuttle back to the parking lot, scrape all the ice and three feet of snow off your car and wait ten minutes for it to unfreeze, and once you get home, throw your suitcase in the corner and fall into your cozy bed.
Obviously there are a lot of variables here. Sometimes I have to report at 0420, sometimes at 1800. Sometimes I only work one leg a day, sometimes I work four. Sometimes my layovers are all short and I can’t do much around the hotel. Sometimes my layovers are so long that I get to stay in the same hotel for two nights. Sometimes I get to layover in really awesome cities, sometimes they are cities that demand you work a little harder to find it’s niche. I’ll be honest, there are definitely sometimes I don’t leave my hotel room, even on long layovers. (Like that one I just had in Madison where it was -17 degrees outside. Yeah, no.)
And then there are international rotations (like the one I have to Amsterdam coming up!) that are consistently one leg there, 24+hour layover, one leg back.
As with everything else, my job is an entire shade of gray. There is always consistency with the inconsistency.
Do you have an obscure job where every day is different? What does your typical day look like?