4 Lifestyle Benefits of Being A Flight Attendant Besides Affordable Travel
Yes, we all know travel benefits are great. The ability to hop on a flight at a tiny fraction of its normal cost and sometimes get upgrades into business or even first class would be enough for some to take the job alone!
Yet there are some other really good reasons to seek out a job as a flight attendant. Note that it doesn’t come easy – of all the jobs out there this is one that certainly takes a high amount of dedication and time during training. (Not to mention low pay, crazy hours and stress during training) But I feel the payoff is worth the work. On the hard days I urge myself to think of the amazing opportunities having this job presents me. The following are some additional benefits to working as a flight attendant.
1. You can have a crazy amount of days off…if you want them.
Real life example for you – I am currently enjoying a week off. Its not my vacation just days that I chose not to work. 10 days ago I had two weeks off as a portion of my annual vacation. That means in the last 23 days I’ve worked 5 days. That’s 18 days off! As we work based on a minimum and maximum amount of hours per month we can essentially configure how and when we want to work. If you want to come into the airport the least amount of days possible you can work long turns back to back for about 9-10 days (with some mandated days off in that period) then have the rest of the month off. You can even arrange this on back-to-back months allowing yourself essentially an entire month off while still working full time and receiving full time pay. Don’t get me wrong that almost two weeks of hustling will be hard but the reward far outweighs the work if you intend on using that month off to travel, or work on another project. Alternatively if you’d prefer to have paid “days off” bidding for longer layovers will take away from your free days at home, but you’ll be rewarded in perdium.
Do make note that the more seniority a person has the more likely they are to make their schedule work for them. Junior crewmembers can’t always hold the long turns or layovers. This could result in them working a short amount of hours per day for a horrible amount of days. For example, if a crew member gets mainly Florida turns which from Toronto is only around 2.5 hours each way, that person will only account for 5.5 to 6 hours per day resulting in a minimum of 15 days of work.
2. You can essentially design your own schedule
It is rare in a work place that you can simply choose to do more of something because you like it. A news reporter can’t only report on happy stories because they like happy stories and a cashier can’t only cash out M&M’s because of their love for M&M’s. But a flight attendant can choose only to fly to Havana because they like Havana. So long as the route is available and within your grasp (in terms of seniority) you can pick it. Other things that you loathe, you can avoid. This is not to say it will work 100% of the time every time, but in general you have tones of pull regarding choosing what you do and do not want to work.
As a personal example, I am not usually big on days off at this point in my life. I would rather explore different countries with the comfort of “being at work” (read: shuttle provided, hotel provided & perdium paid). So I would prefer to bid for long layovers to exotic places that will help me achieve this preference.
My ability to select “long exotic layovers” will change drastically from summer to winter flying when a limited number of layovers will be available due to un-frequent or stopped flights to a certain destination. (In the winter there is WAY less Europe flying, in the summer there is an abundance of it). Yet, I will still be able to chose something that I would prefer to do, such as relaxing sunny Florida layovers or long turns to get my hours over with. (So I can spend the winter inside my house with cozy clothes on).
This ability to customize your work to your individual preferences contributes greatly to quality of life and enjoyment in the workplace. Going to work isn’t so bad when you get to pick how you want to work.
3. You know your schedule a month in advance
Imagine knowing exactly what your next month will look like two weeks (give or take) before it happens. This gives us the ability to effectively plan around our work schedules and can help us attend events or organize time with friends and family. Additionally, I find having my next month laid out makes me feel as if I am already operating in that month! That makes the days of sometimes less desirable work go even faster! Imagine a scenario where I have a couple turns I’m not so thrilled about, but I know that next month I have some juicy European layovers or a bundle of time off I simply think ahead to how amazing that will be and its makes the menial work so much more tolerable. It’s like having an ongoing “vacation timer” ticking away. The exception here would be folks on reserve, which I don’t envy what so ever.
4. International Shopping
The final perk is a less serious but equally as exciting one. With globalization acquiring exotic products is not difficult – yet, there is something so special about having the ability to purchase things from their source. Why go to the grocery store in Canada to buy pineapple or avocados (which we don’t grow) when you can go to Colombia and buy the sweetest freshest pineapple and the largest perfectly ripe avocados. I realize this sounds a bit out of this world, but it becomes a reality when flying around is your job. You’ll often hear flight attendants saying things like “I’m bidding for Venice because I need to stock up on cheap wine and good cheese” or “I’m so glad I have a Lima next month because I need to buy some alpaca blankets for my step brothers whoever”. Quality products from abroad become your norm and soon your house will be filled with international delights. Christmas and birthday gift giving becomes a breeze when the world is your marketplace. Getting the best of everything available around the world is a huge perk of being cabin crew. (Not to mention that you can usually get a couple of bottles of wine over the limit past customs with no trouble).