Confessions Of A Flight Attendant: Opening up about flight attendant fatigue

Sometimes, often times, things are not what they seem. The flight attendant life is encased with glamour; foreign destinations, gorgeous pilots, beautiful cabin crew, going places and experiencing a level adventure that the majority envies and will never quite understand.  They want your life. They want my life. They want this life.

SkyWest New Hires 2014

But if they knew the darker sides, would they still want it?

Finally, I’m going to open up about my own story, the one that I have chosen to hide, because, although I am a blogger blogging about my life, I see it as very important to separate Kara and ‘The Flight Attendant Life.’  So why now say something? Why become so transparent at this point? Basically, there are two reasons: First, I want those that have misjudged me or have heard things to hear the actual truth, so that they don’t need to continue to create fairytales.  Second, just as there have been many times that I have struggled with something and then have written about it, someone responded with a,  “Thank you. I needed to hear that.”  In honesty, hopefully we help people, and I want to help people.

About four months ago, I was in Lisbon and Israel, traveling and travel blogging in my days off.  You would think this to be not much different than my cabin crew life, as I am always going places with that.  Except, it was different.  For two solid weeks, I was in the same timezone. I had forgotten what that was like.  I had forgotten what feeling normal felt like, eating regularly, with no headaches, and having energy.  I had thought that I was so incredibly happy with my life and existence in flight attendant world, but what I hadn’t realized until I was able to step back for a moment was that the constant jet lag, commuting, and living in the crashpad was affecting my health, my emotional state, and my ability to function in my job.  

sad angry flight attendant

I came to a crossroads: do I quit flying? This thought and prospect had me in tears most of the time as it was flying that changed my life.  I loved this job; how could I give it up? I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, but I knew I couldn’t continue at the level I had been operating at.  So, I looked into taking a break and was granted a temporary leave of absence.  I moved back to California.  I didn’t tell many colleagues as it wasn’t there business and hell, we all were and are fatigued and exhausted.  I actually felt like I was weak. Like, after just barely a year, I had fallen apart. I was confused, uncertain, and scared. I didn’t want more than my closest friends to know as I had no idea that if at the end of my leave, I would even want to return to the skies. Most people would think that a jetset life would be an incredible adventure, but my adventure in settled has been foreign ground. 

Come Fly With Me

I had a plan for my break. I would recover and rest.  I would explore the woman I am outside of flying. I would enjoy Southern California and hopefully connect with likeminded individuals.  And, I would write. I would attack all of those dreams that have taken second place to flying; my book, the TV show project, church.  Would I travel? I didn’t know. I didn’t tell myself I couldn’t, I just told myself to, “Enjoy your life. Enjoy your time. Enjoy your relationships.” 

Best friends travel blogger


This whole process has been incredibly scary, but equally empowering.  The biggest lesson I learned is to listen to my heart, that things work out, and to trust my talent.  Basically, I showed myself that if my life is not the way that I want it, I CAN CHANGE IT! I have that much power and control over my destiny, and that is such an incredible epiphany.  I have heard that maybe some have judged me for taking a leave from aviation, and I know, regardless of what I say, there will always be someone who judges, but to these I want to say, please remember I own an adventure/travel blog that now has many contributors, I am a human being with feelings that can get hurt, and of course I’m going to put the happiest of photos on social media. 

I just want to live a life that matters, one that makes me excited to wake up in the morning, and in my situation, I needed to take a step away to reevaluate my focus and vision for my life. I encourage all of you to do that in your life.  Are you fatigued, exhausted, or miserable? What can you do to create a life you love?  Honestly, I don’t feel like I fit outside of flight attendant life. I become insecure when interacting and somewhere lose the incredibly confident and outgoing me.  It’s been an interesting experience fitting in outside of my airplane office. I haven’t been working, as the rules of my leave state I can’t have a regular job, but this doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy.  In some ways I’m working harder than ever, just with more rest.  I am not out on holiday while all of my colleagues work.  I have many freelance projects that demand much of my attention.

This time off has allowed me so much more freedom than being on a full cabin crew schedule.  I work when I want and from where I want.  I like this, but it’s a lot harder of a job than being a flight attendant. If you are thinking of changing your career from being a flight attendant to something else, think carefully as really, I don’t know if there is a job that is easier and more entertaining than one that claims an office in the sky.  Being a full-time writer is harder in some ways. I love not being jet-lagged. I love living all the time in Southern California. I love writing for this branding firm I freelance with. I like not commuting, and going places when I want to not and not when someone tells me to.

Florence Italy travel blogger

Soon, I will go back to flying. Do I want to? Actually, I’m indifferent in some ways.  I know the things that I faced before will still be the same issues when I get back.  I will still have red eye flights, be bouncing time zones, and saying goodbyes, but due to this break, I feel I am in better space mentally and physically.  I always preach on this platform, “If your life isn’t what you want it to be, change it. Make it what you want. Don’t follow the easy, set, predictable route.” I followed my own advice and that’s made all the difference. I taught myself that no matter how scary, uncertain, or unsure the future is, I can face it. That no matter if I am facing a situation I think is too much or that I am making a wrong decision, I will get through it.  That no matter what anyone says, at the end of the day, I have to answer to myself for how my life is.  I wasn’t ok fatigued. I’m better now. 

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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Jasmyne Hammonds says May 23, 2015

Wonderful post. It was so nice meeting you in San Diego even if it was only for a short time. I actually start training in July and just reading through your blog definitely puts into perspective how important self-care truly is. Hopefully we’ll cross paths again soon!


    Kara says May 24, 2015

    So proud of you Jasmyne!

Gail says May 25, 2015

Everyone still adores your career. 🙂 Hugs!

Hanna Angelica J. Morales says May 26, 2015

hello there! I want to become a flight attendant. but I’m scared I’ll be far away from my family, or not in christmas with my family. I’m 15 btw. should I stop this dream of becoming a flight attendant and find another dream job? or continue. I’m nerveous.

Hanna Angelica J. Morales says May 26, 2015

hello there! I want to become a flight attendant. but I’m scared I’ll be far away from my family, or not in christmas with my family. I’m 15 anyways. should I stop this dream of becoming a flight attendant and find another dream job? or continue. I’m nerveous.

Richa says June 6, 2015

I am suggesting my Cousin to pursue career in being a Flight Steward. Is it a good idea? Besides fatigue and Jet Lags, what are the other challenges involved in this career? What are the future prospects. How about family and married life? And what benefits are attached with this career? Please reply at the earliest.

Gabriel says June 19, 2015

What about relashionships? Is it possible to have this job and also have a boyfriend/girlfriend who does not have the same job.

JR_justJR says August 25, 2015

That was incredibly well written.

You basically boiled it down into a nutshell.

Great writing on the trade off and the gap between the highs and lows of your job.

Fly Safe.


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