After a grueling 8 ½ week schedule, I have finally graduated flight attendant training! It was a long, hard road, and at some times I didn’t think I’d make it, but I finally did. There were tears, late nights, stressful mornings and classes I thought would never end, but now I have my shiny silver wings.
As we walked the stage, my class manager stated that it was a unique graduation in that it’s not the end of something, but really just the beginning as we embark on our unique and incredible careers (or lifestyles, as some would say). This could not be anymore truthful, because as proud as I felt at graduation, my first flight is looming over me and I feel butterflies and dread and all other kinds of nervousness. The days of my instructors holding my hand are over, and I am thrown into the real world of responsibility.
All I need is experience though, and being thrown in the deep end, I’ll get that sooner rather than later. Right now I’m a baby, but very soon I’ll be flying and taking responsibility for that cabin. Whether it’s serving a Coke or maintaining security, I’m nervous for the whole thing. Wish me luck!
The light at the end of the tunnel might be a pinprick, but it’s finally there. I have 18 days left, and it simultaneously feels like I’ve been here for years but also that it’s flown by. I’m now officially certified on the Super 80, Boeing 737, 757 and 767, working on the 777-200 now. Even though it’s a day off, we don’t really have any “days off”. On the one hand though, flight attendants cite one reason they love their jobs is because once they’re out there flying, when they get home they’re home and have no homework or things to do pertaining to their job and can just enjoy being home (or, more likely in my case, traveling).
It was a sobering discovery last night though to realize that the exact same plane we’re studying right now is missing somewhere over Vietnamese airspace with 239 people on board, including 12 crew. CNN says that it’s not looking good, and it really brings home the reality of how dangerous this job can be, and why we spend 8 weeks here in training. I can guarantee that any flight attendants that survived that situation tried to help as many people as possible. I haven’t spent the last weeks learning how to push a cart and serve a Coke, that’s for sure. Flight attendants are considered first responders, along with firefighters, cops and EMTs. Respect your flight attendants, people, they might save your life one day!
On a lighter note, our long days have been filled with as many drills and exams as they could possibly throw at us, and I’m kind of impressed by the rock stars I have in my class. Everyone is holding up surprisingly well, though we’re all in tiny little spaces together all day and lacking on sleep, fresh air and freedom. Next week we get into the pool to play in the survival rafts, and we also get to tour the lovely 777-300 aircraft, I can’t wait to fly non-rev first class on that one!
I should be looking over my medical handbook in preparation for tomorrow’s class, but it’s almost midnight and although nothing good ever happens after 2AM, nothing good gets retained after 11PM. That’s my motto, anyway.
It was a long week, although it was fairly easy. Monday was a big day because we did drill tests and evaluations on the Super 80 (I passed, certified on my first aircraft yay!), but Friday was the important day because it was Valentine’s Day and there was wine. Yes, they gave us a wine tasting at flight attendant training. We have to be able to merchandise it in first class, after all!
The rest of the week was spent in the galley. None of seemed to grasp the concept of the service on the plane, the actual emergencies and evacuations are much more straight forward. Some of us even thought that was easier. Service should go a certain way but it also involves a personal flare, which none of us have developed yet. They say that will develop once we get in the air, but I guess in the meantime we just have to wing it. Haha, get it? But seriously, the galley is confusing.
The big topic of conversation was the base situation, meaning where each person will be based. The choices are Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami, D.C. and Dallas. I want L.A. for the sheer convenience and because I love it, although I think Miami would be a really fun city to experience. We all thought we would find out our bases on Thursday or Friday, but so far, nothing. There are rumors galore about why this is, and when we’ll find out. I even suggested starting a pool to bet when we’ll get them. I hope it’s sooner rather than later, so I can start making plans.
Week 4 is all about the 737, so by the end of the week I should be certified on 2 planes! Wish me luck!
It’s been a long and challenging two weeks at flight attendant training. I’ve gotten to class early and stayed until late, had several tests and generally been tested both physically and mentally the whole time. Not to say it hasn’t been a wild and fun ride, but it’s definitely one of the most challenging things I’ve done so far in my life!
The first week was half fluff and half work. The fluff was a lot of “welcome to our airlines” presentations and getting-to-know-each-other exercises, fueled by a lot of candy and free snacks. Little did we know that free coffee would be our life sources later on in training. It genuinely seems like the employees of this company really love it though, judging from the way they talk about and also the fact that many of them have retired after several decades but decided to come back to work.
After a couple of days, they took away the candy. We were left with early mornings and many classes, starting with learning about the Super 80 aircraft. We learned all about the emergency equipment, evacuation drills, general procedures and many other things about this aircraft. It can be kind of daunting watching videos of several “ditchings” (really, just crashes) when you are training to go work on that aircraft. I’m still powering through!
There really isn’t a typical day so far, as we’ve started at different times throughout the day. Basically, we spend a lot of time in the classroom and a little time on the cabin mock-up of the s80. It’s much easier for me to grasp what we’re doing when I can see it in real life. We have a comprehension test on Monday about what we’ve learned and also a proficiency test of our first evacuation drills, which is kind of scary because you must do it perfectly or else it’s a retake. I’m just glad I have 2 days off this weekend to relax a little bit (and fight off this cold that keeps trying to infect me). Next week we have lots of long days and we start with the 737, but we should get our base assignments on Thursday!
It’s been a long but rewarding first couple of days here at flight attendant training, and the days will only get harder.
I arrived at the training center around 2 pm on Sunday and almost immediately met my roommate, who is very sweet and I don’t think we’ll have a problem living together. This is a good thing because they told us today we’re not allowed to switch rooms, because on a flight we’d have to learn to get along with whomever we were working with. The room is like a hotel room only probably about half the size, so it’s tight but manageable. There are housekeepers and a coffeemaker, which is more like a hotel than I thought, because I was thinking dorm all the way. In a very 3rd grade fashion, I said hi to the girls across the hall and we went to eat dinner, and now they’re kind of the beginnings of little group (at least I hope they see it that way). It was very “did we just become best friends?” “YUP!”.
I’m not too worried about making friends though, because there are 61 of us in class 14-03 so everyone will need a study buddy at some point. They say our classmates will become our family.
We started Day 1 in the airline museum across the street, which got everyone sufficiently pumped for what is to come. They showed us some cheesy but awesome videos and then we were sent to our classroom. The tables all had bowls of bite-size candies (good ones like Snickers) and there was a catering table outside with Diet Coke and coffee, so I know I’ll be nice and caffeinated for the next 8 weeks.
We spent the day in the classroom mostly getting an introduction to who our airline is and what they expect from us in terms of customer service. They said that we should never forget how lucky and privileged we are, because out of 91,000 they are only hiring 2,000 flight attendants, which is roughly 2.2%. I intend to impress over the next 8 weeks.
Off to study my city codes now!
(Sorry for the lack of photos, I took some today but as I’m still not sure what the social media policy is at my airline, I’ve decided to not include them)