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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8 Favorite Layovers

Only 8 days till Christmas? That’s crazy! I’m already pretty much done with Christmas present shopping and I’ve finished wrapping all of them. I’m a really bad wrapper, I just can’t get the corners to fold down perfectly. My sister is really good at wrapping presents and making the perfect bow, it makes me slightly jealous she’s so good at it.

One thing I’m constantly asked as a flight attendant is “what is your favorite layover?” This is a hard question because it really depends on the time of year, my mood and the weather. However, there are 8 layovers that are some of my favorites no matter the time of year or the weather.

Here are my 8 favorite layovers (in no particular order).

  1. Juneau, Alaska
    • I love Juneau. Alaska is a hidden gem that I always tell my friends and family to go and see at least once in their life. I know it seems so far away, especially from the East Coast, but definitely come check out this hidden gem.
  2. Maui, Hawaii
    • Who doesn’t love a good weekend in Hawaii? I love Maui and as I have more layovers here, I fall in love even more with Hawaii. The island life helps me recharge and it actually feels like a vacation for me even if I’m only away for 24 hours.
  3. Portland, OR
    • I love Portland layovers because stay three blocks away from Powells. Powells bookstore is a readers dream. I always have to tell myself I’m only allowed to spend $25 when I’m in Powells because I can spend way too much there. Powells is the largest independent bookstore on the West Coast that has both new and used books. If you ever go to Portland, this is a must place to stop at.
  4. Boston, MA
    • I love Boston layovers because of the hotel. We stay in two different hotels and I like both of them. One of the hotels provides breakfast which I why I like that hotel. The other hotel is near Boston Commons which is central to most everything I like in Boston. If you’re ever there in the summer, go to a Boston Red Sox game because Fenway is an amazing baseball park you have to experience.
  5. Orlando, FL
    • I didn’t start flying to Orlando until April of this year, but since then I’ve been there 8 times this year. I love the warmth of Orlando and that we are so close to Disney Springs. Whenever I layover here, I walk to Disney Springs and spend hours just perusing and window shopping. It’s a fun experience for someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of money but wants to go out and enjoy the outside.
  6. New York, NY
    • There is always so much to do and see in New York that even layover is different and fun. I have a few good friends who live in New York so if I go out there, I try to see them while also throwing in a show or two to see. The last time I was in New York I got tickets to see Late Night with Stephen Colbert. Download the 1iota app and you can get tickets to see shows for free (but often you have to plan ahead for this).
  7. Philadelphia, PA
    • I love Philadelphia for the history. The first layover I had I went and toured Independence Hall and I literally geeked out over how much history was there. I tend to get really over emotional about history and I almost cried because I was so excited.
  8. Minneapolis, MN
    • Minneapolis layovers have a special place in my heart because of all my college friends who still live there. I used to pick them up pretty regularly to see them but lately I’ve had to switch my schedule around and I haven’t made it out there are much as I would like. We stay right near the Mall of America so I always go shopping there whenever I get the chance because no sales tax is a thing I take advantage of.

What are some of your favorite places to vacation?

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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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