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What I Wish I Knew Before I Became A Flight Attendant

Workin' Girl

“Some people say it's easier to get into Harvard than to become a flight attendant."

Have you ever thought about becoming a flight attendant? Between the free flights and the opportunity to travel and see the world, being a flight attendant is very appealing. Some would even call it a dream job. However, becoming a flight attendant isn't the easiest, and if you get the job, you'll find out that though rewarding, it is not for everybody.

I recently spoke with three flight attendants and they gave me the scoop on the things they wish they knew before becoming a flight attendant. If you are thinking about being a flight attendant, you should read what they have to say first.

1. The interview process for becoming a flight attendant is a long one.

It's rare that there are openings for a flight attendant job and when there is one, thousands and thousands of people apply at one time. Once selected to interview, you may be required to do three to four interviews (and that depends on the airlines and recruiters). For most airlines, the on-site interview will be about eight hours long. Once you apply and if you are not selected, you have to wait another six months until you can interview again.

2. You cannot listen to everyone before your job interview.

There is a flight attendant group on Facebook called Flight Attendant Career Connections. On this private group's page, you can get interview and training tips (plus more). While it is insanely cool to have this type of resource at your fingertips, you should not solely rely on that page for all of your sage advice. Even if you join the group, still do your own research on flight attending. Research the company and flight attendant information online, practice basic interview questions. Also, if you happen to know someone that's a flight attendant, talk to them.

3. Always have more than one source of income, especially when you are new to the job.

If you are quitting your current job to be a flight attendant, leave on a good note, and try to still work part-time for them if you can. When you first start out as a flight attendant, you may not get as many hours as you want so it'll be good to have a second set of income. First year flight attendants have it rough. During your first year, you won't make much money so it'll be helpful to have a second or third gig.

4. Training to become a flight attendant will be the hardest thing in life.

Training is hard. Many people say it's the hardest thing they've ever done. One flight attendant felt that training is like the game of survivor, rushing a sorority with a touch of boot camp. Training moves so fast and you have to pass every test with a 90 percent or higher. Anything below is failing. You can only fail two tests and if you fail three times you'll be sent home and you can't apply again until six months later. Training is also seven weeks long and you don't get paid (remember the importance of a second source of income?).

5. Being a flight attendant can make you home/family/friend sick in the beginning.

If you become a flight attendant, more than likely you will have to relocate to a new city. It can be rather difficult if you don't have a support system in place to help you through your transitions during your first year. Living with family, if possible, during your first year is ideal.

6. In the beginning, it can be hard to date or maintain your relationships.

You're always traveling and at the start of your career, you are only home for a few days a month. This can sometimes make it hard to maintain relationships, especially if they are long-distance.

7. Sometimes you will be “on call" and it'll have its ups and downs.

As a flight attendant, you're "on call" like most other jobs and the airline will call you if you're needed. It's great because you may have extra days off to relax. On the other hand, however, you're very limited to the things you can do for the day in case you're needed for work. For example, sometimes flight attendants miss a lot of family events (i.e. holidays, graduations, summer vacations, etc.) because they are required to work during those times.

8. The comfort/service animal has no limitations.

Emotional support animals, or comfort/service animals are animals that have been deemed as able to fly with their owners in-cabin. A letter from a licensed medical professional is usually needed, but these animals help flyers who suffer from anxiety, mental health disabilities, and are used to support the overall physical, mental, and/or cognitive condition of the passenger. What you might not know is that any animal can be considered a comfort animal, even pigs. When you are a flight attendant, you will see some of the most random animals on the plane.

9. It'll be rare to work with the same people.

Every flight attendant that I spoke with agreed that this was one of their favorite aspects of being a flight attendant. As a flight attendant, you will have the opportunity to increase your network at your company because on almost every flight you will work with someone you've never met or worked with before.

10. Your entire life will change.

As a flight attendant, you'll have the opportunity to see the world. Maybe that means you are flying to Paris for two days for free or fly to Chicago for lunch just to come back home afterwards, or go to Miami for a few hours to lay out on the beach. The possibilities are limitless. Also, keep in mind the flight benefits are the best! You'll be able to fly free (some locations aren't free but the discount will ALWAYS be amazing).

Still interested? You can apply for flight attendant jobs below:

Delta

United

Skywest

American Airlines

Southwest

Virgin American

Spirit Airlines

Featured image by Getty Images

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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