A day in the life (posted by Lani)
of a flight attendant ... or actually you asked what a typical month looked like, but I'll give you both ;) I'm on reserve right now (and for the foreseeable future) so my schedule for the month of June initially looked like what you see on the left. Reserve means that I'm on call from midnight at the start of the reserve period until midnight on the last day of the reserve period, for any trip the company needs to send me on. There hasn't been a lot of reserve flying so far this year but it's heating up; I anticipate that by July I'll be flying more days than not.
But for now, since I don't like to sit and wait and never get to fly, I saw a trip I liked in the open pot (trips available for anyone who wants them to pick up) and grabbed it -- so the first part of my month changed, as seen on the right. Let's take a look at this month's schedule and this fairly typical trip, shall we?
All that quick glance shows is that it's a 4-day trip with overnights in Nashville, Nashville, Rochester, and ending back home in Norfolk. A closer look at the trip shows you the details, and here's where the day in the life thing comes in. Ever wonder why your flight attendant looks tired or acts frustrated and short-tempered? Here's why; the details of that 4-day trip. Please note that this was an easy trip, only 4 legs on each of the first 2 days, followed by a super-easy 2-leg day, and then 5 legs on the final day -- but the last one is a deadhead (where you ride as a passenger instead of working the flight).
Day one and I'm going to get a relatively late start; a report time of 7:00 am for a 7:45 flight (report times can be and often are as early as 4:45 am). Note over to the right, at the end of the day, the summary of Time Paid and Time On Duty -- 5:32 and 10:26, respectively, for that day. A ten-and-a-half hour day? Well, yes, and that's fairly normal. The following day has a report time of 5:50 am, with Time Paid and Time On Duty of 6:22 and 10:36. But wait ... that's just the schedule. The reality?
Yeah. The time paid didn't change, but take a look at what happened to the Time On Duty. We had delays due to mechanical problems. And the next day? More mechanical problems. 11:59 and 12:48 Time On Duty, respectively. That's a 12 hour day and a 13 hour day, back to back, NOT including travel time to and from the airport and the hotel, and that means a tired crew, ya'll. All I can say is thank heavens Friday was a short day, because we needed it. And Saturday, rejuvenated and refreshed, we finished up our trip and came home.
I've rested today and so far haven't gotten a callout; but they're only required to give me 2 hours of notice, and can give me up to a 5-day trip, and lots -- LOTS -- of trips are far worse than this one. I've done trips with up to 7 legs in a day, and 13+ hours scheduled duty times. And yet I like this job. Sometimes I wonder about myself, I really do ;)
Oh yeah, on this trip? When we finally got in Beth came down to see me in Nashville (she only lives an hour away) and totally made my day; I had fun company for dinner and there was much gossip and even more laughing, and she brought me yarn and needles and even two knitting magazines (I'd forgotten my knitting if you can believe that) so I wouldn't go batshit crazy if I had another 4+ hour sit in an airport, and it was worth being short on sleep the next day of the trip to have had that sanity break. Thanks, chickie!