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A Day In The Flight Attendant Life: What working as a long-haul cabin crew member on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner Is Like

It was London this morning.  Los Angeles tonight.  Copenhagen, Oslo, and Florida soon.  This pattern, or trip, is around eight or ten days long.  I don’t really remember.  I only pay attention to Pick Up Times and what the Report Times say.  Sometimes, I don’t even know where I am going, not because it’s not on my schedule, but because I forget.  Everything happens so fast, and then in moments, it’s simultaneously so slow.  It’s the job of ‘Hurry Up and Wait.’  

Frazzled Celessa

I didn’t realize it was Sunday today, and two days from now, I won’t be able to get it out of my mind that the current day that I am experiencing is Sunday.  As Cabin Crew, one begins to remember important details only, like arming and disarming doors, the safety information, and how long Crew Rest is.

Dreamliner Crew Rest

Today, I am working in mid-galley.  My company’s Dreamliners have three galleys in total, equally distributed on the aircraft.  The mid is the galley that clamors for attention; front and center.  This galley is next to the door where boarding and disembarkation generally happens.

Boeing Dreamliner

Away from base, our pick up is two hours prior to departure.  Boarding occurs after all of the required safety checks are complete.  As the boarding music starts playing, I am reminded how badly I need days off.  That one song about window shopping and the PA announcers voice is making me crazy.  These passengers are making me a little of that too, but it’s London.  What did I really expect?

The Shard London

My crew is good enough, but there is an energy that I can’t seem to shake; an energy that I don’t like.  The flight is long today- eleven hours.  That long is no fun with bad energy.  The time is more if you include taxi and hold times.  This is also a day flight, which means it will be more busy.  Busy doesn’t bother me.  It distracts me from the fact that all I really want to do right now is sleep.

kara mulder flight attendant life

The Dreamliner is nice to work on   I was reminded of this when I was thrown onto an A340 with a charter company that I did not work for.  I wasn’t so happy, but I made new friends.  That matters most to me in this job.  The aisles of The Dreamliner are small, but wide enough.  The galley floors are heated, and I can control the cabin temperature by specific rows.  I can also disable the flight attendant call buttons by seat if I want, a feature I only use (mostly) when children more than once turn it on accidentally.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Galley

I work with a crew of eight to eleven.  Ten to fifteen with the pilots.  We have been as many as twenty with repositioning crew members before.  It’s the same process every day- Pick up. Briefing. Security. Security Checks. Boarding.  Safety Demo. Cabin Checks. Meal Service. Coffee and Tea. Clean Up. Snack Bar. Second Meal Service. Second Coffee and Tea. Second Clean Up. Second Cabin Check. Deplaning.  Customs.  Pick up.

This Dreamliner has rainbow lights that start upon decent and before landing.  It makes me think that the Boeing engineers and this airline are stuck in a time of peace, love, and happiness, secretly hoping that this type of lighting will transport them back to The 70s.  The windows are bigger on this aircraft, and the air pressure is standardly set at a lower altitude than most aircrafts.  They say this feature makes “for more Jet and less lag.”  That announcer- I get so tired of him.  I wonder who he is and what his story may be.

Dreamliner Boeing 787 cabin lighting

As the flight continues, I get tired.  Really tired.  I stay awake by continually checking the minutes until my crew rest begins.  Two colleagues and I have a riveting conversation.  The subject- Pantyhose.  Maybe I should start selling a proprietary brand of pantyhose on The Flight Attendant Life I think.  I rarely sit on my jumpseat and read (we aren’t supposed to do that remember, so I don’t;).  I may sit and write lists and notes in my journal, but the Snack Bar orders usually interrupt every few minutes.  Mostly, the Cabin Crew stands in the galley talking nonsense to pass the time.  My jumpseat has a pullout back rest, the windows are dimmable, and the lavatories have a hand censored activation system for the sink and toilet.

787 dreamliner window

Sometimes passengers yell at me for serving them an Onion Sandwich for breakfast, and when they fail to pre-order a meal, ask me to submit a complaint for them.  I’m not sure why they believe my complaints to management hold more weight.  Sorry, they don’t.   I’m Cabin Crew:  Mostly just another number.

They have been flying me a lot, and for this, I am grateful.  If I don’t fly, I don’t make enough money to live.  This is the case of most first year FAs.  I’ve struggled this year with making three times less than I did at my previous airline.  I’ve also struggled through commuting, blogging, breakups, and business pursuits.  But, I am happy.  Very happy.  I feel lucky to live this life, own this blog, and have amazing editors, family, and friends.

The Flight Attendant Life Career

My body hit its breaking point.  I’m currently sporting a fever of 102.  I called out sick for the rest of my pattern, missing Copenhagen and Oslo this time.  This is my first sick call with this airline.  I’m glad I made the decision to stay.  I hate calling in sick, but couldn’t imagine being on a plane for ten hours feeling the way I do.  I haven’t been away from an aircraft for more than a day over the past two and a half months.  Between commuting and my full flying schedule, this life caught up with me.  I’m not a person that naturally gravitates toward balance, and now, all I want is to do nothing.  And, I just want my mom.

Mom & daughter flight attendants

About the Author Kara

Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.

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