This post is dedicated to someone who I love very much, who is like a little sister to me and who understands this life all too well. This is for the girl who feels fly life’s subtle sting sometimes. When hearing the click-click of the hotel room door is not comforting but in fact, isolating. In another city where the name escapes, it doesn’t seem to matter where now or where next. Because it’s a little bit too much on days like this; in times like these. It just feels so lonely lately.

This is for her. This is for me. This is for you. Because we have all felt so lonely…

Flight Attendant Kara Mulder

For the first time in awhile, or that I can ever remember since beginning fly life, I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to be single and this admittance terrifies. Because they say that you find someone when you aren’t looking. I’ve spent the last seven years simply living, learning and loving every city that I could possibly land myself in, not looking, and look how far that got me? Pretty much all the way around the fucking world…


Because as hard as anyone of us tries to not need people and connection, we can’t escape the necessity of love in our lives. We were created for connection. We were created for community. We were created to be part of something bigger than ourselves, and when we float from city to city and country to country, there are little pieces of our hearts that pull away. It’s like our soul says,  “I don’t exist here exactly. This is not my complete place. I am just stopping by.” Loneliness tugs at our hearts, sinking deeply in our souls through every diet coke we serve and behind every smile we flash. It’s the smile that translates to, “I’m happy to be here. I’m happy to serve you. But, I’ll never see you again.” We pack our suitcases with a little tinge of sadness wondering if quite possibly, with every wonderful adventure, there could be something deep and meaningful that is missing.

It’s not about knowing that people love and miss you and can’t wait to see you again. We know this. I know this. My “little sis” knows this. It’s about falling asleep in an undisclosed city, in an unnamed hotel, at an hour that you don’t know what, knowing that no one can keep up with you and you can’t even keep up with yourself. You’re everything that everyone wants to be. They just want to live a day in your shoes. You love your shoes, but are slowly coming to the realization that if you want a different color or a different size, you’ll have to change the lifestyle. You’ll have to change the job. With this life the trend includes this subtle, unspoken and hard to communicate aspect of loneliness. These are big shoes to fill.

Maybe it’s just a life thing and we all feel so lonely lately. 

I was scared to go back to Florida last week, because I feel so lonely there. I know people, but it’s the kind of knowing where they don’t really know me and I don’t really know them. And, I’m tired. Just so tired. Recovering from jet lag. Conquering mountains of laundry and re-packing for another trip. I spend a lot of time alone. As crew, honestly, we all do. It’s this intensely social existence interrupted by periods of intense isolation, in cities where there are no connections. We aren’t a part of a community that is consistent or constant, except for our fly life. We exist in a churning and changing entity where we feel like we belong; sometimes. Then we leave or they leave. The trip ends and everything changes again. We must find ourselves in a new environment and we must discover who we are again. We are so good at being chameleons.

It’s lonely because no matter who loves you when you are New York and they are in Charlotte, your life can only include them in moments. The ‘I miss yous’ and ‘See you soons’ find you in London today, but Los Angeles tomorrow. They think your life is glamorous and you do too, but you can’t explain just how much a normal day at a museum with them, in a normal city means. Because you don’t want glamour, you just want to know they are there for you and you will be there for them. The problem is, you don’t know where you will be tomorrow and you know it’s selfish to drag someone through your crazy life with you. You place a little bit of a guard around your heart, throwing yourself into everything that the flight attendant life is instead, because that will take care of all the loneliness.

You can’t pack all of your relationships with you all of the time and you feel so guilty for this. The guilt begins to pile up like an overweight bag, reminding that maybe with this perfect life you are losing what you care about most and who cares about you. You keep falling asleep alone in hotel rooms where the numbers run together and you don’t know if you’re in 215 or 512 or, “Was that the room number from last week’s trip?” You begin to wonder if it’s worth it. You’re not sure, but it sure as hell is addictive. Your drug of choice: Flight attendant life.

flywithmeghan flight attendant redeye

This social lifestyle of cabin crew covers up many an isolated existence. Don’t let the pretty smile and flashy uniforms fool you. You never really know how alone that bubbly, charming, and “happy” flight attendant feels. We aren’t complaining about it, these feelings just come with the territory.

“Little sis,” there’s a little children’s bedtime song that goes a little like this:

“I see the moon- 

The moon sees me-

The moon sees somebody I want to see-

God bless me and God bless he-

God bless the somebody I want to see”

We look at the same moon Darling, and when I fall asleep on the East Coast and you fall asleep on the West Coast, both of us feeling so lonely lately, know that we’re looking up at the same moon, and know that I’m thinking of you.

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. While it may be lonely, anything can change with a little determination. Be proactive, reach out, and make connection. They won’t be made for you. Instead of walking straight to your hotel, grab a drink with no expectation and be friendly. It goes a long way. The more connections you make, the easier it will be when going back. I’m saying build friendships. I can tell you right now, if you flew into San Diego, you’d have a friend to go eat with. That’s where I am. It would be a simple connection that would make life a little less lonely

    1. I left flying so I could stay closer to my family and I am sure every cabin crew can connect with your note…going through the lines reminded me of my flying days…very nicely put in words.

  2. Great piece. Your writing is superb and right on target about our lives in the industry. Thank you for sharing what I have often felt. Happy sailing!

  3. As I sit alone in my hotel room, I read this and feel as if I am reading my thoughts and my feelings!!! Thank you for writing this blog! It’s so fun to read and at times it’s nice to know that I’m not alone in what I feel sometimes.

  4. Thank you for writing this article. You truly describe exactly how a flight attendants life is or at least how I feel mine has been. Up until reading this I honestly thought that I was the only one who felt like this. Thank you again!

  5. Your blog was s true insight of how I felt for so many years . After 25 years of flying I am finally retiring and I am very excited about having a sense of community , a family , a routine . I will miss my flight attendant family but at the end of the day if you add up the time I spent w many of them over the last 25 years , it wouldn’t add up to much in “real” time .

  6. This made me cry today. I am in a beautiful city but I miss my family, am I making the right choice. Thanks for this.

  7. I still admire your adventures Kara and your writing (you write well!). I understand the endless tired and lonely feelings and feeling that YOU can’t even keep up with you. I was pondering the other day after a rare visit from some college best buddies that really felt so differently distant this time….. after so many connections now are there really real friends out there? Am I just to hyper connected between meeting so many new others and the loose threads that seemingly leave us often later tied together as finally a series of images and comments over moden technology (romantically too- what is left of so many pieces of my heart living through today’s dating culture? Are we just going through the motions another time again?)

    You and I are on a different path, but I feel this very much. Your blog seems to be doing very well (I ended up here today from another friend sharing a link here to this blog again-non SDA too btw). I’ve been doing my athlete thing still and it’s become hard at times to keep up with my own friends and simple messaging, chores- washing dirty laundry is a whole nother matter! I’m in process of reluctantly reaquiring a new ambien prescription to better cope with my weird hospital shift hours. It’s a bipolar feeling life here- which this blog resonates with me on- many highs and lows between moments of amazing adventure and utterly stressful exhaustion. Keep on living it! Wishing you the best and a finding truly happy balance Kara! Here’s a big across intenet hug FWIW -Ryan

  8. Couldn’t have said this any better! Well said. I’ve encouraged all my friends and family to read this.

  9. Its the best job in the world and also the worst job anyone could think of. One might say that why complains when you are paid to travel the world? But i would say its sucks to travel with a bunch of strangers that u just met during briefing few minutes ago. Its not that they are bad people or anything, its just that travelling wud mean the world to me if i were to be with the fimiliar faces. Tho it seems that we met a lot of people through out the years of flying, but it just aint right. It doesnt fill up the void inside of you. You tend to miss friends and family… Loves one… Surrounded by people who endup flying for more than they can remember and trying not to endup like em but eventually you found yourself still jumping on slides every year for god knows how many times already. The worst part is usually when birthdays, festive holidays and so on doesnt mean anything to you anymore cz you always endup working on that very particular day. How you wish that you could leave this #crewlife and start on something new but you are just in denial when you say “i can leave anytime i want” when the fact is you are hooked on the something that is sooo bitter yet very sweet.

  10. Perfect post.
    I often say, this can be the loneliest job in the world, yet it looks so cool to those who don’t know.
    I feel for new hires, who haven’t filled their soul with the love of our job, yet they are often alone going to a hotel…in a strange city, and a short layover. Different crews each day.
    Yes, your crew is your family for the length of your trip, but no amount of jumpseat therapy can replace a hug from a far away loved one.

  11. Beautifully written – this captures the unglamorous life of flying so succinctly. Ive been feeling the same – male crew get lonely too.

  12. OMG!! It must be in the Universe, I have been feeling this hard for the past 8-10 weeks, even thoughts of getting a ground job so I could maybe meet some one to date. then I think of the Months where I have 18 days off. and don’t want to give that up but how are we to even find a respectable date let alone Love. Thank you for your article. Nailed It!

  13. My daughter tells me (in her own words) exactly your thoughts. She is hooked on the life you lead but she too yearns for a life of ‘normality’. She too has so many friends but knows no one. She visits so many places but has no real home. She loves her life but wants a special someone to be in her life.
    I am so very proud of her.
    I hurt so very much for her.
    Thank you for sharing in such succinct explanatory simple words.
    My heart goes out to all of you.
    Mamma mudge x

  14. So true!!! Flew for 20 years and it would hit me the minute I got in my car in the parking lot to drive home to a dark, cold and empty house. I decided I would not let it defeat me! I talked to strangers, dated several guys off the plane. Asked crew members if they had a single friend…. would date 3-5 guys a week ( meet for drinks, dinner, etc,.. MEET.. so I could leave early) Finally Mr. Right was introduced even though it took his persistenace of 2-3 months for me to realize he was Right! Married, commuting with 2 babies 15 months apart was hard. I took early retirement because they became my priority!!! MISS my crews, but I am truly blessed by God. My prayers were answered. 10 years now, with a 13 and 15 yr old. I have seen all stages of their lives and teach at their school. I thank my husband for standing behind my dream.

  15. Hey, I love you for writing this. It’s 630 am east coast time- jet lagged and can’t sleep. You are somewhere in CPH. Thanks for being my best friend. Love you lots.

  16. Beautiful! Many times I have sat on a balcony looking at the gorgeous Caribbean Sea with tears in my eyes….

  17. Thank you for your honesty & openness. I’m in the interview process with an airline & wondering if I’ll be able to live with the loneliness of being a flight attendant. Being a total extrovert is one of the things that drew me into the industry…yet exactly what I’m afraid will make me so unhappy. Reading this gives me great insight as I make my decision. Thank you! (& I look forward to reading your other posts, you’re a wonderful writer)

  18. Pilots feel the same way. You’d think being a part of big crew going to cities world-wide would be completely fulfilling, when actually it can be quite isolating. I’m on my 2nd marriage, it’s about to blow up, with a 6 year old lovely boy. This life is non for the happily married with family. If you want a family, get out. Being a fancy international airline pilot seemed like a great idea when I was in college and single, but now all I want to do is be home every night with my boy, and for sure I could have had a better chance at being a better husband as well. 24 years of this life and I’ve had enough; I just want to be normal. While some have managed to make a good go of family life as a pilot/FA on the road, it is a monumental task. It is super hard on everyone. You have a wonderfully entrepreneurial spirit; use that to achieve your dreams, find that special someone and have a family life if you chose. I have no doubt, whatsoever, that you will be a successful person outside of being a flight attendant. You can use that success to have a healthy home life and travel on your own terms. I’ve only found this blog today, but I can totally relate. The airline life is just hell on family life and being in a long term relationship.

  19. Had a little cry after reading this… Amazing we are all thinking/feeling the same way.

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