A lot of people dream of being an air hostess. To live the glamourous life above the clouds. Be paid to travel and explore wonderful cities far and wide. To spend nights sleeping in luxurious hotel rooms (at someone else’s expense) and go adventuring the next day. To dress in the beautiful uniform and feel like a celebrity gliding through the airport terminal – smile beaming, suitcase trailing behind you and scarf waving fabulously from your neck. I mean, it does sound pretty great!
I always had the idea of being a flight attendant in the back of my mind. When I first fell in love with idea I was around 19. I assumed, like many others, that getting paid while travelling the world – young, carefree and with no obligations – would be a pretty sweet gig. I looked into it, only to find I didn’t meet the height requirements for many international airlines. (Lol #shortpeopleproblems). So I benched that idea for a while, until years later the opportunity arose again. The timing was right… and also, the rules around height had been relaxed.
And of course, I loved it at first! It was new and exciting. Every day was different. Plus I totally did feel glamourous in my uniform walking through the airport terminals. The job itself was easy too. Especially comparative to the very stressful 6 weeks of intense training it takes to get your wings! Generally the job was low-stress so I was able to switch off once my shift was over. Staying in hotels 3-5 nights a week was pretty fab at first too. Hello room service, Foxtel, white robes, hotel slippers and itty bitty complementary toiletries. (Hit me up if you need any travel-sized shampoos and body wash – I have an almost endless supply now).
So yep, #cabincrewlife definitely has its ups and downs (lol get it?! Ups and Downs. Because, planes). But in the end, I realised it had far too many cons and not enough pros to = a happy Elo. My experience as a flight attendant was basically just an ‘Expectation VS Reality’ meme.
Expectation: I will get paid to travel and see parts of Australia I’ve never seen
Reality: If you mean the inside of different airports that is
Expectation: How amazing will it be to overnight in different cities and go explore
Reality: Oh cool, I got to my hotel at 10pm and I’m leaving at 8am the next morning. So much time for activities…. Not!
Expectation: A new soft luxurious hotel bed every night, YES PLEASE!
Reality: I miss my own bed!
Expectation: Woohoo cheap flights – thank you staff travel benefits!
Reality: Hmmm so when will I actually have enough time off to go anywhere?
And the list goes on…
It really wasn’t as glamourous and exciting as it once seemed. I mean would you call picking up passengers food scraps and rubbish, cleaning smelly lavatories and sometimes even dealing with vomit, glamourous?
Ultimately it was the lifestyle I didn’t enjoy. I had very little work/life balance. It felt as if I spent more time away than I did at home. Because, well, I did. Even when I was home I was beyond exhausted and run down. Physically I was there, but I wasn’t mentally or emotionally present. For this naturally introverted soul, I found it really difficult not having a solid work team. I’d often feel anxious driving to work at the thought of not knowing who I’d be spending the next 8-10 hours with. Shift work and living roster-to-roster (that was subject to change each day anyway- why even give us rosters?!) just wasn’t for me. Plus, its not really the most challenging or intellectually stimulating role. I kind of felt that I was getting dumber and dumber by the day, because I just wasn’t using my brain or learning new skills.
When it came to resigning, there were many contributing factors that made the decision an easy one. The long hours, the fatigue, the time away from home, the 3am starts one day then 9pm the next, the not working with the same people every day, the living out of a suitcase, being away from my partner and my dogs and I just wasn’t happy! I didn’t feel like my usual fun-loving, positive, energetic self. The job drained me of all that. Even my body was telling me to GTFO! I was getting sick ALL the time and my body clock was so out of whack.
So while it was good for a short time, it turns out flight attending just wasn’t for me. I do understand why some people like it though, and perhaps if I was in a different stage of my life, I would have enjoyed the role a bit more. Maybe as a 19-year-old with no obligations, no boyfriend, no fur babies, no house and no reason to miss being home.
All that being said, am I thankful for my time as Cabin Crew? – of course! Despite ultimately deciding the job wasn’t for me, I am so grateful for the 18 months I spent flying around Australia. If I hadn’t done it, I would always have wondered what it was like. I developed some amazing friendships and I do still hold on to the good memories.
But do I miss it? – Nope, not at all. I am quite happy to no longer spend my days stuck in a metal tube, with recycled air at 40000ft. I am so happy to have my feet firmly planted on Perth soil now. I appreciate the simple things like seeing the Perth sunsets daily and having my weekends off. I am so grateful to be home every night with my man and be able to come home to the happy smiles and wagging tails of my two dogs. (Honestly, my heart explodes every time!) I love that I have more of a routine AND more freedom to do what I want when I have days off (because I actually know when they are now!) I am no longer tired, drained and unhealthy. I haven’t been sick or fatigued in such a long time and I know I am coming back to who I am as a being. My body is at ease and my heart is happy.
So yeah, that is why I quit a lot of people’s ‘dream job’.
Love Elo x