About two years ago, my husband Ray and I went through a really tough time financially when he lost his full-time job. Although highly qualified in many professional fields and well-educated, he was unable to get a job for an entire year! After the first few months of much prayer and no doors opening for him, we decided that I would seek part-time work to help. No doors opened for me, either, but I did see an ad in the paper for a flight attendant position.
I was not planning to work full-time, but the idea of travel appealed greatly to me. My husband encouraged me to apply. My interview did not last long (interviewers are trained to screen quickly for good candidates), and I thought that I did not get the job. To my shock, I was hired immediately as a flight attendant for a company that supplied small jets for a larger airline. I had a garage sale to raise money for my food and needs during the three weeks of flight attendant training in another state, and family and friends also blessed me greatly with money to help me start this new adventure. Ray would stay home and take care of our daughter, while still looking for a new job, and I would fly home when I could…and they’d fly to see me, too. We planned to eventually sell our house and move to my base city to be together again.
I worked six months as a flight attendant, being stationed in Florida, and absolutely LOVED it. But I resigned at Christmas, because I just could not stand being away from my family so long (I was only able to fly home to see my family about four times the entire six months, and my family was unable to move to Florida at that time). Here are some life lessons I gleaned from my time there that might be helpful to you:
- You can do it! I did not think I’d be hired, because I had no airline experience. I had to memorize airport codes and much other information to get to the second phase of hiring at the training school in another state, and was tested on them. You either passed it or failed. If you failed, they flew you back home. I did not think I’d ever be able to memorize the codes, and pass. I also did not think I’d ever be able to memorize my announcements to the passengers, but eventually I did with enough study and practice. With God nothing is impossible!
- Conquer your fears head-on. I was so scared I’d never be able to pass my final training test, working on the actual plane with a supervisor. Here I had to show the supervisor, in front of real, live passengers, that I knew how to do everything that I’d learned in training. My husband Ray also said that making the announcements to the passengers was excellent public speaking training. As I spoke into the phone up front to welcome the passengers on board and to give instructions, they would all look up front and stare at me, lol. Talk about nerve-wracking. But it was great training, and my fear subsided as I got used to it…and even began really enjoying it. Whatever you are wanting to do, with God’s help you can do it!
- Be instant in and out of season (2 Timothy 4: 2). Once I arrived at my base in Florida, I quickly learned that it was best to always be prepared for a possible flight. We had to be immediately accessible by cell phone in case another flight attendant was sick, and Crew Tracking needed a replacement, or CT had assigned us another trip. Each night I would make sure my uniform was clean, pressed, and hung up, I had panty hose with no snags or holes (flight attendants go through hose like crazy), I had my Bible, a good book, and toiletries packed, and at least snack items, if not a packed lunch. (I think I became somewhat OCD during that time, making sure this was all done!). Then when Crew Tracking called me and told me I had a trip (lasting anywhere from one to four days), I was prepared and not freaking out, trying to get everything together at the last minute (like some flight attendants I knew did!). As Christians, we need to always be prepared and ready to tell others about why we believe in Christ (1 Peter 3: 15), and share with them the good news.
- Learn, and keep learning. Knowledge empowers us. During my pre-flight check, as passengers boarded and stowed their bags, and on my final check of the plane before take-off, I mentally reviewed the safety procedures I’d learned during my training – doors and exits locked and secure, making sure passengers had on seat belts and their seats were in proper take-off position, their table for snacks and drinks was put up and locked, bags were either in the overhead compartments or tucked under seats, and other important safety pre-cautions for everyone on the plane. I shut the front cabin door making sure it was secure, and strapped myself into my jumpseat; as the plane was going down the runway, I would again review emergency procedures in my mind. I needed to retain what I’d learned, and apply it to each flight. Are you learning from God’s word each day, gaining knowledge and wisdom from Him, living it out practically?
- Serve God and others with love (Galatians 5: 13). Most people think that a flight attendant’s main job is to serve drinks and snacks. But that isn’t true. Her main job is passenger and crew safety. However, it was part of my job as a flight attendant to serve drinks and snacks every flight, as long as it was not a really short flight. The plane aisle was extremely narrow, and I would have to first make an announcement, then prepare the serving cart (a bucket of ice and scoop, napkins, cups, sugar, creamer, canned sodas, juices, and water) and push it to the back, serving everyone until I reached the front. Smiling at passengers and being as friendly as possible went a long way in making it a pleasant flight for everyone (and not all passengers were friendly back, or easy to deal with!). I knew that I was anointed in my job walking down that aisle – or even pouring a Coke for someone and handing them peanuts! I felt that simply being a servant was a way to witness to others about Jesus, without having to say very much (our lives being a living epistle to the lost). As believers, we should be known by our loving service to others. And ministry should always start in the home, with our family! Do you serve your family and those around you, willingly and cheerfully, as unto the Lord?
- Trust God. When I finally came back home after I resigned, my former pastor asked me wasn’t I ever afraid of flying and that the plane would crash (like many people, flying made him nervous because it’s out of your control). I could honestly answer him no, because I LOVE flying. It’s FUN! Even on bumpy flights with a lot of turbulence, I felt a confidence and trust in God. I knew that plane was not going to crash as long as I was on it – I prayed over that flight, myself, and all the passengers, and was in God’s loving hands – and He was not finished with me yet! But even if the plane did crash, I knew where I was going for eternity! Do you? Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? If not, I invite you to ask Him to be your savior. He is my best friend – and it will be the most exciting ride of your life! If you do already know Him, do you trust Him, really trust Him with everything in your life? Give him your worries, fears, concerns, dreams and desires. God cares about every detail of your life, and loves you! Trust God for “a safe flight” in life, and a great adventure!
- Have an adventure. I loved being a flight attendant! It was one of the funnest times of my life, and when our daughter is grown and moved out of the house, I may do it again. Traveling is so much fun. I was able to fly all over the east coast as a flight attendant – for free! One of my benefits was that my family was also able to fly free. I flew Ray and Leah to Florida to visit Sea World. I love dolphins, and we had so much fun looking at all the different animals. Leah had never been to the beach before in her entire life (born in Missouri), and we were able to rent a car and drive to the beach. She loved the ocean, and had a blast. Later, we also flew to New York to see Niagara Falls, one of my dreams come true, and to Georgia to visit my family there. One weekend on my days off, I flew to Portland, Maine, on a trip by myself to see light houses and visit “up north” (someplace I’d never been). One of the trips I worked was to Miami, and on the night of my arrival, I went out with the crew to eat at a Cuban seafood diner. The air was warm and balmy, palm trees stood tall with the backdrop of a crisp, blue sky, and musicians played for the diners. I visited many other places working as a flight attendant. I toured the museum in Birmingham, Alabama, seeing the special, nation-wide exhibit of Pompeii’s volcanic explosion that buried the city. They had some archaeology plasters of some of the volcano’s victims, and many other remains that had once been buried by lava. It was fascinating and horrifying at the same time. I watched a pretzel maker in Chicago, and tried one of the large, salted, buttered treats for the first time – yum! In cities I took buses and went shopping for summer clothes and cute shoes. Life is meant to be lived as an adventure, not as a boring, monotonous routine. What are you wanting to do? Are you doing it? If not, why not? Really live!
- Our final destination is going to be so awesome! Although work was really fun, it was always such a relief to get back to my apartment in Florida after a long trip, especially the three or four day trips. Sometimes I’d have anywhere from three to six flights on a single day, and when you had several days of that, you are just exhausted afterward! After six months of working 10 to 12 hour shifts, and not being able to see my family much at all during that time, I decided to resign at Christmas. I missed my family too much! Homecoming was so sweet and good. As Christians, our redemption is drawing near and our homecoming, our final destination with Christ in eternity, is going to be incredible. I can’t wait! How about you?