A lil Advice to New Hire bbs
The first six months of flying are rough. You may be in the middle of moving to a different state, getting the hang of commuting, or just trying to figure out this crazy schedule, on TOP of adjusting to this new lifestyle. It's a lot to handle.
But first off I just wanna say I'M PROUD OF YOU! And you should be extremely proud of yourself. Whether it's your first real job or you made a huge career change, welcomeeeeee!!! Your life will never be the same.
I'm only 3.5 years into this gig, but I still remember how overwhelming it felt to be new. My first week of flying consisted of me being stranded in NYC without a place to stay and sleeping in a friends crashpad bed while they were away, being on Adays (reserve) 6 days in a row, and being told by my roommate back home that my puppy got out and is missing. So yeah.
Here are just a few things I want you guys who are young and fresh to hear, just in case you haven't heard it from anyone else. Or need to hear it again. Or just need something to read during your 3am shuttle ride to EWR.
If you’re not sure where something is located on the plane or in the galley, for Chrissake just ask. If you need help with something, just ask. Even if it's dumb, just ask it yo. It’s okay to ask a ton of questions, and you should! Ask the flight leader, ask fellow flight attendants, look up things in your Skypro, ask CrewAssist, etc. And if a passenger asks you something you don’t quite know the answer to, it’s OK to say, “I’m not sure, but let me ask someone who does know and get back to you.” Learning the job takes time, and everyone learns at a different pace. Don’t be so hard on yourself. But also like, don't be taking forever to look for one thing and give out false info to passengers when you could just ask a fellow crewmember for guidance.
When I first started flying, I didn’t even know where napkins were, let alone how set up a cart. Everyone was new at some point. So don’t sweat it. Sometimes it helps to say in briefing, “Hi, I’m super brand new so I might ask a ton of questions and might not know the flow of things yet, but just tell me what to do!”. And if you like how another flight attendant interacts with passengers/deals with situations/makes announcements, watch how they move and take mental notes. They'll be your secret mentors.
Don’t let crewmembers speak to you any which way.
For the most part, the flight attendants you come across will be normal, understanding human beings who just wanna get done with the trip already and go on about their lives. But some...some have downright ugly personalities and that has nothing to do with YOU. The type that you know are just bitter and sad human beings outside of work. You will come across these people, and they will snap at you, yell at you, gossip about you, boss you around or rub you the wrong way. Fuck em. Stand you’re ground and speak up when something doesn’t feel right. Remember, they are NOT your mama. They’re your colleague, someone you just met, and will only have to spend a few hours with them and hopefully never see them again.
What happens on the plane, stays on the plane.
You will make dumb mistakes. You will forget to say or do something. You will leave something on the plane. You will get into it with a coworker. You will have mean passengers that act like children, who say outrageous things, who test the shit outta your patience. BUT GUESS WHAT? It’s in the past. You will make new, dumber mistakes and meet new, dumber people. Don’t stress yourself out over a flight or anyone who was on it, because it’s not worth the time nor the energy OKURRRR.
Create your own routine.
Flying can really take a toll on you mentally, phsyically, and emotionally if you don’t take care of yourself. You’re waking up, going to sleep, and eating at the craziest hours without a semblance of a routine in sight. The only thing that’s for certain about this job is that it’s changing all the time. Make time for yourself. Create rituals. Bring things from home that make you happy. If you drink a certain tea everyday, take some packets with you so you’ll have it on your layover. Put headphones in zone out during the hotel shuttle ride. Spray aromatherapy mist on your hotel pillows every night. I dunno! Do things you used to do before flying and try to incorporate them into your new schedule. And stay healthy!
Explore your base/new home.
I swear the first year I was in New York I didn’t go anywhere because I was too lazy to take the train/lowkey scared of getting lost on the subway/highkey scared of doing things alone in an unfamiliar city. It didn’t feel like home because frankly, I didn’t make it feel like home. I stayed inside my apartment a lot, complaining about my neighborhood (Kew Gardens whaddup! lol) without doing much to change my situation. You have to make the effort. Moving’s never easy. Find the things you love to do, because they’re out there. Get lost using public trans because that’s how you learn. Be open to meeting people. Most importantly, go do things by yourself dammit!
Commuting isn’t easy at all. But if you’re stuck in a crashpad and have time to kill some days, make use of it. Our bases are in major cities. Go explore! Especially if you’re thinking of eventually changing bases, because when else will you get the chance?
Take advantage of the perks.
Ummmmm did you just land the most chill job with the most amazing perks? Yes, yes you did. It may be hard at first, but don’t let that other annoying shit get in the way and make you lose sight of this fact. Your first year is probably the most memorable because everything is so new. So travel as much and as often as you can. Go to places you’ve always dreamt of. Take advantage of layovers. Pick up trips with friends. Pick up out-of-base. Pick up seasonal trips. Visit family and friends you haven’t seen in ages, just ‘cause. Take your parents somewhere. Cram your already crammed schedule because you might not have the energy or time as the years go by.
Hang in there.
It gets better, I promise. Right now you might have to work weekends faithfully, sign in at ungodly hours, work those 4-legs-a-day trips on the MD88, always work the galley, and miss out on holidays. It’s just a right of passage, hunni bunny. Just stay positive throughout it all and know that it won’t be like this forever. That’s the beauty of this job...it gets better as time goes by. And hello!!! You fly for free!!! You get to see the world in ways most people never get to. You can technically live anywhere you want and still have this job. You can pick up layovers where friends/family live AND get paid for that. Focus on the positives and let wine take care of the negatives.