Get ready for another series post! When I started documenting my travels on tumblr, one of the first posts I wrote was about the top 10 questions I get asked about being a flight attendant. Now, 2 1/2 years later, I have a few other questions to add to that list! So yes, technically these are the top 20 questions that I get asked about the job but you’ll have to read about the first 10 HERE!
1. How long do you get to spend in each place?
This always varies! Typically I would say that a majority of my layovers are between 12-30 hours but I have had longer and shorter. Some people don’t even like layovers and all their trips are turns! Honestly, this is totally up to you when it comes down to it. I personally try to avoid anything less than 12 hours because not only do I want to sleep, I also want to see part of the city on my layovers! It is one of the best parts about the job in my opinion!
2. Do you have to live at your base?
Nope. Living in base is definitely a choice, but living in base is going to give you the best experience with this job. Other flight attendants commute to work and that means that they have to fly in before their trip starts. Sometimes they get stuck having to fly in a day earlier or out a day later though, so this adds up quickly in hotel costs. Also, you will spend half of your days off just getting to and from work, and it will make the job much more difficult. So even though you don’t necessarily need to live in your base, I would highly recommend it!
3. How many flights do you work a day?
This also varies! Some days I only have to work 1 flight and other days I have to work 4! Usually, the days are scheduled with 2-3 legs a day which isn’t so bad. One flight seems nice but you wont get a ton of hours with only flying 1 flight per day. If you have 4 legs though…yikes! May the lord be with you!!!
4. How flexible is the job?
If you ask other flight attendants you may receive a different answer, however for me, I think this job is extremely flexible! Aside from Thanksgiving and Christmas, I have been able to get most of the days off that I want by either a) asking off for them b)swapping a trip with a thing called “open time” which has extra trips that need covered or c)begging and pleading other flight attendants to swap with me until I get what I want! Another option is to just get a layover in a city that you want to be in! Like for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I know I wont be able to hold those days off BUT, I can hold a 30 hour layover in Phoenix to see my family anyways! There are a lot of options available to you with this schedule, you just need to get creative!
5. Do you make any money?
*Insert biggest eye-roll ever* Of course we make money! Maybe a decade or so ago flight attendants didn’t make much, but now, we make a pretty good chunk of change as long as you are willing to put in some hours! This might not be the most humble part of my post, but I want you to have a real idea of what you will make before applying for the job! I am just over 2 years with the company and I am bringing home about $3,500-4,000 a month after taxes. I also get monthly bonuses averaging about $100 and a yearly bonus of a couple grand!
6. Does Delta pay for you to go on vacation?
I really don’t understand this question but I get this one ALL OF THE TIME! Like no? Of course they don’t pay for my vacations. I do however get vacation TIME that is paid, but as far as booking my hotels when I am not working, this girl is on her own! The good thing is though that we do have paid vacation time that ranges from 1 week to 5 weeks after so many years! You really can’t find that with most companies anymore. For tips on how I save for all my travel expenses click here.
7. What is the worst part about the job?
Depending on who you ask, you will get many different answers. For me, the worst part about the job is having to work odd/long hours. I couldn’t tell you the number of days I have worked 17+ hours and only gotten an 8 hour layover, or the number of redeye flights I have done that force me to spend the whole next day asleep. Looking back on it though, those days/nights are worth getting to spend 24 hours laying on a beach in Hawaii or Wandering around Seattle for the day! Not every day will be like this by all means, but tomorrow happens to be one of those 3am wake up calls for me and the only thing that makes it worth while are the awesome layovers!
8. How many years until you can hold what you want?
Really there are so many different options with this job that I can already hold some of the things that I ask for. I don’t get too crazy when I am bidding for my schedule, but I know I can hold certain types of trips and thats what I go for. As far as being senior, which is what I really think people are getting at, it all depends on your base. If I was based in New York, I would consider myself senior after about 6 years. In Minnesota though, it would take me about 17 years. Being senior to me means that I am no longer required to have 6 days on call each month and at that point you are definitely able to hold better trips.
9. How does standby work?
Standby is kind of tricky. I posted briefly about it in my blog about The Cost Of A Free Flight but standby travel means I only get to go where there are available seats. I don’t always get to go anywhere whenever I want, but I have learned how to get creative and make things work. Sometimes I need to fly to a completely unrelated city first because the flight loads look better from there than my original starting point. Overall though, I have been pretty fortunate and have only been “stuck” twice. I made it out the same day, but getting out of Thailand or China can be very difficult for standby passengers. Buddy pass riders better start looking to begin a new life if they are lucky enough to get to these places because they sure as hell wont be able to get out.
10. Do you still like the job?
I know I sometimes post about the negative sides to the job, and everyone needs to vent occasionally, so even when it seems like the job has got me down, I still absolutely love it! It is so strange to me that this all happened because I applied on a whim, but now I am the happiest that I have ever been and truly think that I have found the perfect job for me! I absolutely love being a flight attendant and would recommend it to anyone!
Stay tuned for when Delta is hiring! I will be sure to post and let you all know! I haven’t gotten any official word, but I have a feeling the application will be opening up in August or September for those of you who want to apply!