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A Day In The Life Of A Flight Attendant

Follow me on my three-day work trip to Amsterdam.

Life & Travel

Aside from creating beauty content, you can find me 10,000 feet in the air traveling the world as a Flight Attendant. Every day isn't all glitz and glamour, but overall the benefits make everything worth it. To be completely transparent, there are bad days. You'll be away from your friends and family, customers aren't always nice, the days are long, and you're always on the go. On the flip side, no day is the same. I meet so many different people on a daily basis and I get to travel anywhere with whomever I want. The world is literally at my fingertips.

One of my favorite things about being a flight attendant, besides the travel of course, is the flexibility. Some days start earlier and some days start when the rest of the world is ending theirs. I can choose what type of trips I want: if I want to go away for a few days, I can; if I want to come right back home, I can do that too. I personally prefer three-day domestic trips. I like to see a couple places and then go home, but that can also change depending on what my plans are. To balance out my creative schedule with my work, sometimes it's necessary for me to go to work and come right back home.

My schedule varies a lot so it's important that I make planning a priority. There's no such thing as a routine for me and I like it. I love knowing that every day is going to give me a new thrill and nothing ever becomes mundane. Today is one of those days, I decided to do something completely different, challenge myself, and make a little extra cash so I picked up an international trip to Amsterdam. Picking up a trip is as simple as checking our board to see what flights need to be staffed. I want to make more money so I'm looking for high-time (high hour trip because we get paid by the hour) and international because we get paid more for those flights.

Now, follow me on my three-day work trip to Amsterdam.

Monday

The first day probably won't be the most exciting, it will consist of a lot of preparation. Keep in mind I can't share as much as I would like because of security reasons (a girl ain't tryna lose her job) but I will share as much as possible.

10:00a: I wake up and check my phone (Instagram, emails, texts, etc.); not the best habit in the morning but I'm working on it. I also check what time I'm supposed to get to the airport, which is 18:50 aka 6:50 pm.

10:15a: Brush my teeth and wash my face. Then, I charge all my devices: work phone, camera, computer, and personal phone. Next, I check the weather: it's looking like it's going to be 40-55 degrees in Amsterdam while I'm there.

10:30a: I make a cup of coffee and some breakfast. Then watch my training materials on international trip service. I don't do international trips often, so I need to reacquaint myself with the material. I've also never been on this plane so I also need to get familiar with that.

11:45a: Start ironing my uniform, pack my bags for my trip, turn on my diffuser, listen to music, set my intentions, and get ready for the day. This is the self-care part of my day so I spend a lot of time just getting my mind right.

Courtesy of Krissy Lewis

1:00p: Squeeze in a quick 45-60 minute workout. I'm going to focus on just abs and cardio today. I get on the elliptical machine in my garage and get it in. It's hard to create an actual schedule so I squeeze in workouts as often as I can. I should also mention that I just got back into working out again after a month-long hiatus.

2:00p: Start getting ready for work.

3:30p: Eat again and finish working on articles.

Sidebar: My days are long AF! You see my day has started way before my actual work day because there are still personal and creative things that need to be done. I also had to review some material for work. Even though we're trained for multiple aircrafts and services, we don't use them every day so it requires a little reviewing.

5:00p: Head to the airport, go through security, and head to the crew lounge.

6:50p: Meet my crew and pilots then do our briefing for our 7hr 48min flight to Amsterdam. I can't spill too much about our briefings but that is where we go over the need-to-know of our trip before we actually head to the plane.

7:40p: Get to the plane and check our emergency equipment, and set up the in-flight amenities.

7:50p: Start boarding.

8:44p: Takeoff.

9:15p-ish: We've taken off and we start our service. I worked up front in first class as the aisle flight attendant. Aisle flight attendants usually interact with the first class customers, serve meals and beverages. I wish I was able to take more photos but this part of the flight happens so fast there just wasn't enough time. Once in the air, we begin bar cart with beverages and warm nuts.

9:30p: Now it's time to bring out the food. I serve all the meals and bring out our base cart. This cart has soups, bread, and more drinks!

9:50p: Pick up all the trays and meals and get ready to serve dessert.

10:10p: Now it's time for me to serve dessert. For this service, I serve fruit, cheese, ice cream, cake of the night, and teas/wine.

It's back-to-back so we can take care of the customers, give them everything they need before they go to sleep.

10:40p: Clean-up all the trays and galley area.

11:00p: First crew rest break. This isn't my break but the first set of flight attendants take a break and we cover for them until their break is over.

Tuesday

1:30a-ish: It's my turn to take a break. On international trips, we have a crew rest area that allows us to take a nap. We have 2 sets of breaks, crew rest 1 and crew rest 2. I was a part of the second round and I slept for about 1 hour and 20 min before I started service again.

3:20a: We begin our pre-arrival breakfast service.

5:02a: We land in Amsterdam. It's technically 11:02a in Amsterdam.

Courtesy of Krissy Lewis

Let's switch over to CET (Central European Standard Time)

12:15p: We check into the hotel and get settled. I took a shower and changed so I can start my 24hr layover. I usually take a nap but since I got in later than expected, I want to head out.

1:40p: Head out to the city. I took the Ferry out into the city and explored.

I visited the Red Light District, Primark, and tried some french fries. Amsterdam is known for its french fries and mayo, so it was only right that I try it!

Courtesy of Krissy Lewis

Courtesy of Krissy Lewis

Courtesy of Krissy Lewis

I want to include this because it's important. I explored alone and before every trip I make sure I'm prepared to travel and have fun alone. The crews that I work with don't always want to do something and that's fine. So, it's important to be comfortable and open to going out solo.

I also visited over the edge to take in the beautiful view of Amsterdam.

Courtesy of Krissy Lewis

Courtesy of Krissy Lewis


Courtesy of Krissy Lewis

6:00p: Took a holiday light boat tour. (Sorry, I couldn't get much pictures because it was so dark and rainy).

8:00p: Got back to the hotel and got ready for bed. Getting ready for bed includes: removing my makeup and doing my bedtime skincare routine, showering, preparing my clothes for work, and unwinding in my thoughts.

Wednesday

Time to go home!

11:00a: Get picked up from the hotel. We have drivers that take us to and from the hotel whenever we layover anywhere.

11:45a: Arrive at the airport and go through security.

12:15p: Get to the plane, brief with the captain, and start setting up and boarding to head back to Atlanta.

1:11p: Takeoff.

1:30p: We're starting service. As a crew we tend to rotate positions, so instead of working in first class, I'll be working in the main cabin. The first step in our service is to distribute menus and water. I'm working on the left side of the main cabin so I make sure every passenger has menus, water, and silverware. We continue service for about an hour and a half.

3:00p: It's time for the first crew rest break. Because the flight is longer (9hrs going back to Atlanta) and we finished service a bit earlier, our rest is 2 hours.

5:00p: The next crew takes their break and we start preparing for the second service.

7:00p: We start our pre-arrival service.

8:30: End service and prepare for landing. By this time it's 3:30p est time.

Switch over to Eastern Standard Time.

4:20p: We land in Atlanta and clear Customs.

5:10p: Get home and unwind.

This wraps up my three-day trip to Amsterdam. It's a pretty long three days but, to me, it's definitely worth it. I can travel and stay in nice hotels on the company's dime, I can check out places in and out of the country to see which ones I may want to travel back to for leisure and it exposes me to so many things — culture, self-revelations, travel, etc.

Featured image via Krissy Lewis

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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Featured image by Getty Images

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