Ask a Flight Attendant
I'm so excited to welcome you to a new blog series I am launching. After four years, I have come to realize that people always have a bazillion (yes, that's the number i'm sticking with) questions about aviation life. I figured this is the perfect place for me to share some insights, answer the burning questions and share some personal anecdotes.
So here it is the first installment of 'Ask a Flight Attendant.' If I didn't get to your question in this one, I'll add it to the next one. I didn't want this one to be too long.
Question #1: Do people actually have sex in the bathroom?
The answer to that question is unfortunately, yes! People have embraced the fantasy of the mile high club and I have heard stories of just that. Luckily for me I have never caught anyone doing this on my airplane. I think the reason for this is because the configuration of my aircraft doesn't allow for much privacy. I sincerely doubt anyone would be stealthy enough to pull this off.
People often ask me if I have or if I would and the answer to this is a resounding NO! Not only because it's unprofessional and would put my job at risk, but because it's disgusting. Picture the cleanliness of a public bathroom, now picture it at 38,000 feet during turbulence.
Yes, that's not water on the ground, peaches.
Which is exactly why WE ARE ALL JUDGING YOU if you go into the lav barefoot or in socks.
In fact, I made B throw out his socks after he deigned to walk around the cabin in his socks. He thought I was joking, I wasn't. They went straight into the wastebasket once we made it to the hotel.
Question #2: How many passengers bring their own food? and is that a no-no?
Few passengers bring their own food onboard an aircraft, with the exception of those who have bought food at the airport just prior to departure.
Personally, I think that is a shame, especially for those who have strict dietary restrictions. On flights where meal service is included, pax (passengers) have the option of ordering a special meal, but they don't always arrive due to system error or not enough notice. I highly encourage those who have strict dietary requirements, allergies or are just plain picky to bring your own food with you.
Even if you are a fairly adventurous eater, I would suggest bringing snacks . You never know if there could be a catering error or low stock of something you would normally choose. I can't tell you how many times I have been berated for not having enough mac and cheese for someone's child or not having enough vegetarian options. The fact of the matter is, I don't make the catering orders and the best I can do is send in a report asking for more for the next time. If I run out of something, I can't take the elevator down to get more.
The best way to prevent yourself from being disappointed on a flight is to come prepared.
As for it being a no-no, I would say definitely not! As long as you plan to finish your food prior to arrival at your destination, you should have no issues bringing food with you on an airplane. Just make sure you are following the liquid restrictions for things like peanut butter, yogurt or applesauce.
The only time you would really encounter an issue bringing food with you is if you are boarding a flight to the U.S from outside of the country. The United States is the only country that you are required to pre-clear customs prior to departure and that is where the strict regulations regarding food are enforced. For the most part, prepared foods are fine but all the information of what you are able to bring is available on the immigration website.
Question #3: How often are you home and how do you keep a semi-routine in your life, does it affect your personal life?
What personal life?
In all seriousness, it's definitely tough to manage a work/life balance in this industry. For most of us, we do this job for the opportunities to see the world, the perks if you will. But those perks go hand in hand with giving up a lot of the time you would use to build and maintain a personal life.
I am the absolute worst for maintaining a routine and that is something I have been struggling with for the past four years. If someone has any tips or tricks for me... holla at your girl.
Imagine how hard it is for anyone to maintain friendships, build relationships and even keep up with the laundry... now imagine trying to do that when you are constantly in different time zones, fighting jet lag and just want to get nice and intimate with your own bed.
In reality, the amount of time I am home varies by season, during the summer and over holidays I am probably the most busy and therefore gone the most. When I am home, however, I find it very hard to fight the urge to hermit. I will often choose sleep, a bottle of wine and my pyjamas over a social gathering or an opportunity to catch up. It's sad to say, but sometimes I am just too exhausted to find the motivation to shower and change to leave the house.
Also when your job requires you to be Miss Suzy Sunshine, forever "on," sometimes you just want to go unscrew your smile and avoid all human interaction. People are exhausting...
That being said, I try to make a genuine effort to maintain the semblance of a social life. I often am more successful in the summer months, when the days are longer and the weather makes leaving the house slightly more appealing. But in the winter, forget it... I'm hibernating.
Question #4: Do you actually get to enjoy the places you fly or not really at all?
The answer to that is yes and no!
I've had the opportunity of having layovers in amazing places, but that isn't always the case. Because my seniority is high within my company, I have the luxury of basically picking my schedule. It wasn't always this way, and for most people in the industry it isn't. A lot of time is spent working turns - basically shuttling people back and forth between destinations without ever exiting the aircraft or pairings with short layovers, which basically ensure you dive directly into bed and seek out a meal if you are lucky.
At this point in my career I can choose what and when I work for the most part, and most of my layovers are at least 24 hours. 24 hours does allow me to do some exploring but I wouldn't say that it allows me to get a good understanding of a place the first few visits. Mostly because if I am working 8-10 hours there and back, I need to get sufficient rest and be alert for the flights.
I would say, that what I do know at this point is what hotels have the good beds, the good pillows and the good toiletries.
That's all for now folks. Keep a look out for the next post in the series. Feel free to comment or send me an email with your questions. Keep them coming.
I'm thinking of interviewing other FAs to get their perspective. Let me know if you would be interested in the comments.