the Not-So-Glamorous Life of a Flight Attendant {Travel Tuesday}

May 15th 2012
Oh you see us flight attendants in airports, strolling along with luggage in tow, cheerfully smiling at all hours of the day! But the truth is its not always glamorous…
That luggage has travelled with us to every corner of the world and is probably on its last leg, that perma-smile might be masking lack of sleep, and truthfully we all have bad days like everyone else in any other profession. For the last five years of being a flight attendant; I can write how to pack efficiently for a weekend trip, where to buy the best beauty products in the World, where to get the best lattes in any city, etc…
But the truth is its not always glamorous.
Today’s Travel Tuesday post is the Not-So-Glamorous….
(1) Food Poisoning: 

So where does one eat when one doesn’t speak the language? Two choices: pick a North American fast-food chain where you recognize the menu (a bit boring) or Pick a crew member that speaks the language and tag along. My first years flying I got the food poisoning bug (many times) and its not pretty! No makeup will hide that greenish tint, no Gravol will subside the nausea, and no amount of liquid will stay down. And the last thing you want to do is call your crew scheduling department from overseas and tell them you can’t work the return flight home. Yes, it happens and yes you can get stuck for days in a hotel room until your cleared to fly back home. It ain’t pretty!

(2) Missing Special Occasions 

Yup, sitting on a beach for work can be a pretty sweet deal (and not many layovers include a beach). However, when it falls on a Special Occasion not so sweet. Christmas, Birthdays, Weddings, etc…forget those dates because you cannot make it! Yes, there are dates that you will be able to attend by some fluke in the scheduling system you were able to get the day off however for the most part, nope.

(3) Hotel Rooms
Ah, Hotels! The luxury….or not. Once you’ve seen a hotel room you’ve seen them all. Yes, of course there is a variation and star rating associated to different chains but at the end of a long work day all you want is a clean bed and clean towels. Once you get past the aesthetics of a room, remember someone slept in that room before you! I’m not germaphobic but….bed bugs (thankfully never had an issue), pubic hair in what you think is a fresh towel on a rack (gross), hairs in the made-up bed, etc…Want me to go on? 
(4) Jet-Lag
Forget a hot bath to relax in before bed (you read above #3 Hotel Rooms), a sleeping pill will not work either (just don’t want to go that route), basically you sleep when you get back home. Long layovers are a thing of the past! Flight attendants are lucky if awarded a layover close to 30 hours; on an international flight the best thing is to not look at the clock of your origin. Sleep is essential and normally your body is tired after a long flight anyway. However, if you have just worked a red-eye flight and location upon landing is morning your best bet is to take a short nap or stay up till night-time. Our circadian rhythm has little time to adjust but by following the clock of destination is the only way to a well rested layover. 
Have any of the above factors effected your travels?
Aside from the Not-So-Glamorous factors of the job I still love the job!
What is your perception of Flight Attendants?
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