Being a Flight Attendant: Reserve Life

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I get a lot of questions about my job, naturally as this job is very different then what other people are used to. I thought I’d do a quick blog post about what life is like as a reserve flight attendant.

Something that I think really boggles people’s minds is reserve life. For a normal desk job, if you call out sick, the company continues to spin its wheel and you come back to work when you get better and it is all good. For an airline, if a flight attendant calls out sick, then that flight cannot go. The reason is, the FAA requires 1 flight attendant for every 50 seats. Most airlines have it down to the minimum flight attendants so if one calls out they need another one to work that flight or else they have to cancel. Introducing your reserve flight attendants.

Reserves are flight attendants who just sit by and hangout and wait to be called. It’s literally a game of, do I go or do I stay?  I’m currently a reserve flight attendant but it varies per airline. For my airline it’s based on seniority so because I’m pretty junior I’m on reserve until more flight attendants are hired below me.

As a reserve flight attendant I do not have a set schedule or know where I am going. Instead, I know I am on call 18 days out of the month (with 12 days off). Most of the time I am notified the night before my reserve block starts, but sometimes I have a 2 hour call out which means I have 2 hours to get to the airport to work a flight. While on reserve I literally have my suitcase packed in my trunk and I always carry my uniform around with me if I go hangout with friends.

Reserve life can be exciting because you can go to some awesome places. On reserve I’ve gone to Costa Rica, Hawaii, Cabo, New York, Boston, etc. But sometimes it’s tiring because you just want to be home and inevitably the days that you want to be home are the days that you get assigned a trip. Reserves are pretty much required for the airline industry to function but it’s definitely a tough part of the job that makes you appreciate having a set schedule.

While reserve life is hard, I do really love my job and really don’t mind it. I hope this post gives you a little more insight to the airline world and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

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Thanksgiving in Vegas

Like many people who work in customer service, holidays and weekends are rare things for us to get off. While we can get them off, as a junior flight attendant, it’s really difficult to. I’m okay with this, as I understand it’s part of the job and I have the incentive that I get paid double time to work holidays. Last year I spent Thanksgiving flying to LAX, sitting for 8 hours in the airport and then flying to Anchorage. This year I flew to San Francisco and then Vegas. My layover was in Vegas and my friend Phil (the same Phil from Chena Hot Springs) lives in Vegas so he picked me up and showed me Vegas as he knows it.

Vegas is a really interesting place, for most of us, we imagine Vegas as this glitzy, glamorous city that we visit. It’s rarely a place we think that people actually live in. Phil hates living in Vegas and has told me repeatedly his first goal is to save up so he can move from there. Vegas from a resident point of view is so different and so fascinating. Phil took me to the Seven Magic Mountains which is an art project outside of Las Vegas. It’s about a 25-minute drive that is easy to get to, (pretty much a straight shot) from Vegas, but you’ll need a car. The Magic Mountains are 25 ft. boulders that are colorfully painted. After the Magic Mountains, we went to the Container Park which is the coolest thing I’ve been too!

The Container Park is located in Las Vegas in the Fremont area. Fremont is considered the “old original” Vegas. They have a really cool LED Canopy that does 5-minute show on the hour. I recommend you go just to walk around and to see the show! The Container Park is full of boutiques and local restaurants, but I liked the area because it was quiet and pretty low-key for Vegas. Also, all the boutiques were local shops, not chain stores like those on the Strip so I liked knowing I was supporting a local business.

I always have a good time when I’m in Vegas (sometimes too much of a good time), but this was a different and fun experience because I saw parts of Vegas I never would’ve thought to go to. It’s fun to see Vegas from Phil’s point of view, and I definitely want to see it again.

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Container Park, iPhone X

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Seven Magic Mountains, iPhone X

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