Ten Tips for New Hire Flight Attendants

Last week, my base welcomed our first round of New Hires in almost two years. 
Those of us at the bottom of the seniority ladder are SO EXCITED they're here. 
These new kids improve our chances of holding weekends off, getting trips we want, and they bump us up closer to the mythical "line holder" seniority level we've been dreaming of for two years. 

Ten Tips for New Hire Flight Attendants:

1. Get a distinctive ringtone for Crew Scheduling.

I went with the theme from "Archer" because it always feels like they're sending me on missions. The downside is that I now can't watch Archer without having a mini panic attack when the theme plays. Chose a ringtone or song that you don't mind ruining as an anxiety trigger for the rest of your life.

2. Be physically active.

The thing that surprised me the most when I started this job was just how physical it is. Walking miles dragging bags in high heels, lifting bags, hauling 300lb carts, getting down on the ground to fix things, and more. That activity plus the sheer physical task of traveling all. the. time. makes this job a very physically tasking one.
When you factor in the physical requirements of an emergency situation on top of the day to day haul, you need to be physically fit to do this job well.
Get some cardio in at the hotel gym, eat fruits and vegetables (that have not been fried), and get as much walking in as possible during your layovers.

3. Explore new things during your layovers and in your base.

You need to make sleep a priority, but when you're in a new city you should get out and EXPLORE! My go-to move is getting to the hotel, changing into a weather appropriate outfit, and using Yelp to find a place to get some good food within a mile or two of my hotel. I'll then map walking directions to that food place. Depending on the area, I'll check with the front desk of the hotel to see if the route is safe and walkable, and then I venture out! 
Tip: to look like a local instead of a tourist, pop some headphones in, but keep the volume low enough that you can still clearly hear everything going on around you. 

In your new base, ask co-workers where you should live/eat/play and don't be afraid to use modern technology to help! I picked up a nice young man on my second night in Philly thanks to a popular dating app, and now we've been dating for two years. There are multiple apps to help you make new friends in cities too!

One of my goals for 2017 is to eat Ramen in every city possible.

4. Try to save a little money for the slower months.

During the summer we fly more and therefore make more money. During the winter months there are fewer flights and less money. Plan accordingly.

5. Download your monthly schedules at the end of the month.

For tax purposes, you need to know every single layover you had all year. The simplest way is to just keep track every single month.

6. Always screenshot your pairing/sequence at the start of a trip.

Sometimes Crew Scheduling likes to pull some shady stuff. Make sure you have a record of what you were actually assigned so that you can pay claim/ sort things out.

7. Learn your computer system and your contract inside and out.

Crew Schedulers are human. They make mistakes just like we all do. They'll try to give you trips you're illegal for. They'll try to assign things out of order, simply because they don't know any better.
Be ready to question things respectfully by asking what page of your contract allows what's happening. If something seems incorrect, ask about it! Know how to use your computer system to bid

8. Create a packing system that works for you. 

You will lose your mind and all your stuff if you don't have a place for everything so that you can make sure everything is in it's place before you check out of your hotel room.
I have some suggestions for how to make that happen as a Flight Attendant.

9. Rely on your co-workers and ASK QUESTIONS if you aren't sure about something.

We all remember our first working flight. We all remember what it was like to feel unsure. Ask other flight attendants for help or to explain things to you if you're confused. Whether that's on the aircraft, in the galley, in the crew room, in a briefing, or at home when scheduling assigns you something that doesn't feel right. Use your resources! Reach out to your coworkers on Facebook if you can't find one nearby in person- there are so many people who will help you get this right. Just please don't bring your notes from training on your first flight. You'll look like a dork.

10. You are not alone, this is an overwhelming life change.

Becoming a Flight Attendant isn't just starting a new job. It's starting a new job in a new city, away from your support system at home, in a high pressure environment, where people's lives are in your hands. To top it off, you're never sure where you'll be when and you're constantly in motion. 
Everything feels strange and new and exciting, but it can also produce a lot of anxiety and sadness.

This is a big deal. It can be really hard, but you aren't alone. Every single FA flying has been through what you're going through.
Don't be afraid to reach out to your friends or to senior flight attendants to ask for advice or help.
We want you to succeed and we want you to flourish- we're a family connected by wings. 

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