For those that have jobs, you may be familiar with the term “commuting.”  It’s the process that you engage in to make it to work; whether that be by walking, biking, by boat, or by car.  Flight attendants, and pilots also commute, but our commute usually involves a few thousand miles, covering multiple states, and cities. This is the airline commuter life.

Traveling Flight Attendant

Traveling Flight Attendant

For flight attendants and pilots to arrive at work on time, our mode of transportation is an airplane. Naturally. For those flight attendants that are based in the United States, working for American carriers, we have these wonderful (and horrible) benefits that allow us to travel on other airlines.  Flight Attendants and pilots commute for a variety of reasons.  Often, junior flight attendants are assigned a base that is not any place that they would like to live, and choose to find crash pads, and still live in their hometowns, going home on stretches of days off.  Airline employees really do live globally, with sets of friends, responsibilities, and life activities that are so absolutely different depending on their locations.  It’s easy to feel fragmented.

I’ve never considered myself a commuting flight attendant, and instead, have always lived where I am based, but last week, I realized that, at least for the past year, I have commuted.  My reasons to commute are mostly self-inflicted.  No one forced me to choose a Florida base.  No one said I shouldn’t buy a car, or get an apartment in Hawaii.  No one calls me asking when I will be home to be back with the family.  I have chosen this life.  I choose this life.  All that I really want is to choose California (credit michael).  Always.  I am constantly moving from Florida Home Life, to Farm Home Life, to Southern California Home Life, to Friend Home Life.  I am just as homeless as ever. I thought the point of moving from the middle of The Pacific, to the edge of The Atlantic was to fall in love with stationary.

Always moving

Always moving.  Still just me and my bags

I refuse to sit days off in Ft Lauderdale.  I am not quiet about the fact that I do not like it in this place.  I have been more than vocal about the dissatisfactions that I have with the new job.  It makes me wonder if the problem isn’t the places, and instead, the problem with happy is me.  It’s strange as I’m happy; ok, entertained, working on projects, have friends anywhere I go, but my heart only feels completely settled and comforted when I am in Hermosa.  Maybe it’s because I have my bikes…

woman cycling gopro

I don’t enjoy this commuting life necessarily, although, when dating, it can be inconveniently convenient.  For reals.  I never really have to decide if I want date two, or three, or discuss important topics, or decide if I actually like him, because I’m only here till tomorrow. Commuting, in my life, has served a purpose of separating, of making my ambition and goals the one thing that never leaves based on a destination.  There are a few other things that places, commuting, or this lifestyle will never change…

Flight Attendant Faces

Can never change the bond of true friendship

It’s not that I enjoy flying bi-coastal as a commuting flight attendant, passenger style, after spending 20 hours of my last 38 hours working on an airplane. It has simply become a necessary evil that I, as well as many other crew members, endure to live in the places that they want to live, or be with the families that they love to raise.  My best friend commuted for an entire year from Honolulu to Colorado, which, for anyone that knows anything about flying stand-by anywhere, you know that commuting out of Hawaii is a bitch.

Horrible commutes

At least one of us is maintaining a positive attitude

My mom commutes from California farm country to Phoenix every week before her trip, and every week after her trip.  She also works alone, or with only one other flight attendant, and on many days, has more than six-legs.  I don’t know how that woman has so much energy for all of it, AND she’s always laughing and smiling.  AND she’s always nice.  Wow.  Hopefully it’s genetic.

Mom and Daughter Flight Attendants

Mommy & Me

The job of a flight attendant is one of the easiest you will ever find. It’s the life revolved around that challenges…

About the Author

Hello, I’m K. J. Watts, but my friends call me Kara. I fell into the sky and have worked as International cabin crew, on private jets as a corporate flight attendant, and earned an FAA Private Pilot Certificate. Over a decade ago, I started this blog, which developed into a love for writing and a debut memoir based on Flight Attendant Life. A California native, I now live in Sydney, Australia, where I enjoy spending time with my husband, writing, and surfing.

  1. Hi! I really enjoy reading your blog! Especially the part of living in Hawaii. I’m an Atlanta based flight attendant, soon to be in Salt Lake City or San Francisco (crossing my fingers for a transfer). I currently live in SF and commute to ATL where I have a Crashpad. My heart has always been telling me that I should and want to move to Honolulu. It’s a big move but since I work most almost 2 weeks on and 2 weeks or 10 days off, I’m wondering if a complete move to HNL is necessary OR if it is possible to maybe find a situation where I share a house with someone or rent it for 10 days every month or 2 weeks. I know it might be a long shot but do you know of FA’s that do this?

  2. HI!! I really enjoy all of your posts!!! I am currently living in Honolulu with my family and boyfriend’s family where our rent is $600 a month for our tiny room in the house. He has a really good job with the city and I have multiple jobs within the hospitality industry of Waikiki. Honolulu is expensive even with him having a city job and me working multiple jobs we still cant afford to buy our own place. I recently got hired and am anticipating training for a smaller commuter airline which has bases through out the Pacific North West. My question is once I am done with training should I pack up and move to my base where I will be on reserve for some time without knowing for sure if I will be able to afford rent or should I attempt to commute from Honolulu to my base in the Pacific North west and rent a crash pad on a monthly bases. I’m conflicted since I really want to be a flight attendant and want to have a great career but I am just uncertain if I will be able to survive away from home while I have a reserve schedule.

Comments are closed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}