F/A Training: Life Changing and Somewhat Terrifying

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Hey guys! Just wanted to give a quick update! :)

I've been thinking a lot lately about how much this whole experience has changed my life.  I know, I know... that's totally cliche and you hear it all the time.  But honestly, a year ago today, I was a totally different person.  In fact, a MONTH ago today, I was a different person!  I've never much liked putting myself out there and talking to people I don't know very well.  I'm happy talking to people I already know, and I'm happy being alone, but put me in a room with 50 other people I don't know, and I used to clam up. I was afraid of that happening here in Vegas.  There's nearly 60 people in my training class... not only am I taking classes with these people, I'm also basically living with them.  But I was completely amazed at myself.  I opened up almost immediately.  I'm certainly not the loudest or nicest or funniest person in the room (believe me, there are some really strong personalities here!)... but I haven't been at all afraid to put myself out there.  We get assigned random seats each day for class... and everyday, I talk to the people around me as if I've known them all my life.

That's probably the biggest change.... but there's been lots of little changes too!

I've learned how to wake up at 4:30 every morning.  Never in my life have I thought I'd be doing that!
I've started wearing a watch... it's a requirement for class, but I've been wearing it ALL the time.  I used to hate wearing watches!  Now I find myself doing that thing where I'm not even wearing the watch, but I still look at my wrist to check the time.
I've learned that just because Vegas is in the desert, that doesn't mean it's warm.  But that does mean it's realllly realllly dry.  For the first week, my nose hurt SO bad from the dry air.  I finally bought a little travel humidifier and put it on my bedside table.. when I sleep, I have that sucker pointed right at my face!  Plus when I put on my face moisturizer in the morning, I use probably 3 times the amount I used back in Florida.
I've started laughing more.  These girls (and boys!) in my class are all such great people.  We're all so stressed out, but we're all there for each other.  All these people who were strangers 2 weeks ago now feel like some of my best friends.

On that note, we took our second test today.  I got 100% again!  I was one of only 2 people in my class to do that.  Several people failed.. they'll be retaking it tomorrow, and I really hope they pass.  It feels like we're all a family now.  And we're all SO emotional.  Today we watched a video with interviews of the crew of US Airway's flight 1549, the flight that Sully Sullenberger ditched into the Hudson river in January of 2009.  I swear, by the end of that video, nearly everyone in the classroom was in tears.  We're learning about emergency situations and evacuations right now, which is just really tough, grueling stuff.  We have to memorize lots of evacuation commands, we have specific doors we need to evacuate at, all these procedures we need to do.. but absolutely no mention of the emotional side of all that.  There's no room for panic or fear, no room for hesitation, and really no room for any emotion at all.  Our primary job is just to get passengers off the plane as safely and efficiently as possible... that is, until we feel our own lives are in danger, at which point we evacuate ourselves.  Because as our instructor put it, we still have a responsibility to the people we've already evacuated, and we're no good to them dead.

So look, ALL I'M SAYING... is keep your seatbelts on anytime you're seated, even if the seatbelt sign is off!!!  You never know when you're gonna hit some rough turbulence and smack your head on the ceiling of the plane, just cuz you weren't wearing your seatbelt.  True story.

Day In The Life

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Hooooly crap!!!  I've been here just a little over a week now.... but it feels like I've been here a month!! So much has happened!!!

Like I said last week, our first real day of training started on Friday.  Our first test was Sunday... I passed with 100%!! :)  Not everyone was so lucky, though.... 2 people failed the test (we have to get a 90% or better).  They were able to retake the test the next day, but they failed their retake, so they were sent home. It's rough!!  I had never even talked to the 2 guys we lost, but when they came back to collect their stuff, I thought I might cry.  I hope we don't lose anyone else.

The first test was over airport codes, 24 hour clock, and airline terminology... all pretty simple stuff.  The next test is on Friday, and it'll be a little more in depth.  We're learning all the inflight procedures and emergency equipment on the aircraft.  Speaking of which, it cracks me up that a month ago, I would have called it a "plane"... now it's an A/C or aircraft.  :p  Anyway, we basically have to know exactly where we need to be and what we need to be doing during each phase of flight... boarding, takeoff, inflight service, landing, deplaning... PLUS how to respond in an emergency.  We're pretty lucky because we only have to know 2 different kinds of aircraft... my airline mostly only uses MD-80's, which seat around 150 and have a short or medium range.  They also have a few Boeing 757's, which they plan on using to fly to Hawaii (heck yes!! :p), but we won't learn those for a couple weeks.

Overall, it's definitely a little stressful and overwhelming.  I'm actually fairly stress-free compared to a lot of the others.  I'm a very quick learner and tend to understand things like this very easily, and in school I was always a great test taker... but the main differences between this and school is that 1) you can't pass unless you get a 90% or better, and 2) we all chose this and we all want it.  That adds a bit more pressure.  Most of the information is fairly simple.. there's just a LOT of it.  Plus there's quite a few things we have to learn word for word.  We've kinda settled into a routine by now, though, so that definitely helps.  Here's what my average day looks like:

0430 - Wake up, shower, and get dressed in my uniform (we have casual days once or twice a week).  Try to eat a bowl or 2 of cereal while also trying to do my hair and makeup.  Makeup is required, so I can't ever be lazy and decide not to wear any.  Hair, makeup, and nails, as well as our uniform, all have to be in compliance.

0550 - Go downstairs and grab something to eat from the hotel's breakfast.  I'm usually not that hungry at this point, so I normally just grab a muffin and some fruit and stick it in my lunch box for later.  Coffee is a must.

0615 - A shuttle picks us up from the hotel.  We get to the headquarters and hang out in our classroom for a while.  If we have a test, we study and try not to be stressed out.  If there's no test, we usually just chat and compare notes.

0700 - Class begins.  Generally we have a PowerPoint or 2 to go through.  We have 2 teachers, plus we'll occasionally have guest speakers, like a pilot or one of the scheduling people.  We all take extensive notes.. I bring my laptop into class because it's easier for me to type my notes than to write them.  We get a break every one or two hours, during which time I'm generally stuffing my face with some sort of snack, since we're not allowed to eat during class.  (Some days are a little different... like today, we went to the airport to do some hands-on training with the aircraft. The second half of our day was more classroom stuff, though).

1100 - My favorite part of the day back in high school is STILL my favorite part of the day... lunch!!  I stuff my face, as usual... my typical lunch is tuna salad, crackers, soup, chips, and yogurt.  PLUS I bring extra chips or granola bars to snack on during the day, and maybe a Lunchable just in case I'm really hungry.   We also use this time to compare notes some more and ask questions.  And maybe gossip a little.  ;)

1200 - Back to class!  Same as the first part of the day, basically.  As the afternoon goes on, you can see more and more people drop their pens and shake their hands, because their wrists hurt from writing so much.  (That's another advantage of using the computer!)  We tend to be pretty restless at this point, but the end is in sight!

1600 - Finally!  Time to go back to the hotel!! (Usually, that is... some days we stay till 1700).

1630 - Dinner time... we have a small fridge and microwave in our rooms, so we try to eat food we have here.  But a lot of times, we go to the Applebee's next to the hotel for happy hour with drinks and a half price appetizer.

1800 - If I need to do laundry or get groceries, I'll take the shuttle there.  That's the only time we have to go.  We could also take a shuttle to the Strip at any hour on the hour... but that's a rarity these days, since we don't have any days off this week or next, and by the time we get back from class, we're too busy studying.  If I don't have laundry or shopping to do, I might walk to Starbucks, or sit in my hotel room and struggle with the internet.  It's remarkably slow here, and only slightly better at Starbucks.  I might also use this time to take a nice hot bath and relax.

1900 - If we have a test the next day, we'll usually go down to the hotel lounge area to study as a group. Otherwise my roommate and I will just stay in our room and go over stuff together.

2000 - Time to start getting ready for bed!  I like to lay out my clothes for the next day and make my lunch.  Double check my alarm about 5 times.  Maybe eat a snack, and then try to get to sleep by 2030.  For those of you not familiar with military time, that's 8:30 pm... yes, I am an old lady nowadays.

The next day, and the day after, is the same!!  I'm pretty excited for Sunday, though... it's the day we do our observation flights!  We basically just take a couple roundtrip flights on our airline and watch the flight attendants.  It's amazing how much I haven't noticed on flights!  I've traveled plenty, but I've never really wondered what the chimes from the PA system meant, or what it meant for the flight attendants to "cross check".  Now I know all that stuff, so I can't wait to see it in action.

That's all for tonight!  Feel free to leave me any questions you have about flying or flight attendants or my training or anything in the comments!  :)

(PS.... HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY! :D I got a fantastic surprise of chocolate covered strawberries from my parents! <3 Best valentines ever! :p)

Eating, Drinking, Gambling, and Walking: Vegas in a Nutshell

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Wow!! I have been so busy!!  Let me try and catch you guys up to what's been going on the past couple days!! :D

I flew out Sunday, from TPA to LAS, with a stop in JAX.  The flight was great! Another flight attendant found me in the airport, so we sat next to each other.  For the last hour or so of the flight, my face was glued to the window!!  The Grand Canyon!!! Holy crap!!! IT'S BIG!!! :p  We landed about half an hour early, got a shuttle to the hotel and all that jazz.  By that time there were at least half of us at the hotel.  Our class size is huge... nearly 60 people!!

Monday was our first day of "class".  We were all so stressed out about it, thinking we'd have a test on our airport codes.... BUT as it turns out, the class before us was still finishing up their final exams that day, so we didn't really have anything to do!  We all had to go get fitted for our uniforms, and fill out some paperwork, and that was it!  We spent 12 hours studying and just chatting... and also being realllly really bored! :p

Tuesday was much better, but our actual training still hasn't really started.  Tuesday was basically just an orientation... we went over the company history and policies and benefits and all that great stuff.  Lots of listening to people talk, basically! :p  That evening the hotel we're at threw us a little party... free food, WOOHOO!! :D  My roommate and I didn't stay long at the party, though... we went to the Strip!! :D  Neither of us had been there before, nor had several other people, but we went with a couple Vegas veterans and they showed us around.  It was so absolutely surreal.  We went on the rollercoaster at New York, New York, which was AMAZING.  Then we met up with another lady from our class, and she showed us how to gamble!  We were way too scared to do the tables... the people seem so serious there!!  We just did the quarter slots and some video roulette and poker.  I think I can sum it up like this:

  1. It's fun when you win.  
  2. Less fun when you don't win.
  3. Lots more fun when you're drinking.
It also turns out that the Strip is a big freaking place!!  We went to Luxor and Excalibur and Harrah's.  We walked and walked and walked and walked and oh my god, my feet hurt like none other.  We had the day off class today, so we went again, but this time in the afternoon.  We went to the lunch buffet at the Paris hotel with some of our classmates, and then we struck out on our own and went to the Bellagio and MGM Grand.  We won't be going quite as often normally, though.  We just happened to have an extra day off this week... starting next week, it'll be all business!!  (well ok, maybe not ALL business! ;)) So far this has been soo bizarre for me!! Vegas is so unlike every place I've lived before, it's crazy!  I can't believe I'm here, I'm convinced I'm just gonna wake up one day and be back in Tampa.  It is great, though, plus I've already made some great friends, so I can't wait to see what the next 5 weeks will bring! :D

Sorry I don't have much interesting stuff to say about training right now!!  Tomorrow is another orientation day, so the real training starts Friday... so hopefully by this weekend, I'll be able to tell you all about what we're learning! :)

New York, New York

t minus 36 hours!

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Ahhh, it's so close!! I just finished my last shift at my current job... my boss was really nice and told me thanks and how great of a job I've done for them, so that was really sweet.  :')  Also, a customer tonight asked me if my eyes were real.  Yes... last time I checked, they were real!

I'm pretty much all packed and ready to go!  I have a pretty hardcore detailed packing list for Vegas... plus a detailed moving list for when I have to move to Orlando... PLUS a to-do list of things I have to get done in the next 36 hours.  I have a list for everything...... and oh my god, when did I turn into my father?? ;)  I'm sure I'll end up forgetting something, though.

My sleep schedule is all sorts of messed up, but I've convinced myself it's because I'm adjusting for west coast time.  Although in reality, I'm just too excited/stressed to sleep very well!

My favorite method for dealing with stress.

Well that's all for now!  I'll update again once I get to Vegas!! :D Lots to do tomorrow, haircut and errands and learning airport codes and finishing packing and eating more chocolate! :) 

Love you all! :)

I crack myself up!

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Aviation puns ftw!! :)  I'm particularly proud of myself for these!  xD

First Thoughts and First Assignments

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HELLO!  Welcome to my blog!  I'm really hoping this doesn't turn out super boring or silly, but I hope at least some people get some enjoyment out of it! :)

So a little bit of background:  I started applying for flight attendant jobs about 3 or 4 months ago.  I had my first open house interview in December, but I didn't make it through to the second round.  Then the same company held another interview in January, and I was invited back for that one.  That time I got through, and I ended up being selected for training!  It's with a low-cost airline that goes to a lot of smaller airports.  It's pretty unique in the industry in that, for the most part, I won't have any multiple-day trips.  They don't do connecting flights, so I'll mostly be doing there-and-backs, and I'll be able to sleep in my own bed most nights!

I leave on Sunday for training.  The training process is pretty extensive... I'll be going to Las Vegas for 6 weeks.  During that time, there will lots of studying and tests, as well as practical things like flight simulators and mock water ditches.  We already got our first assignments!  First of all, we had to send in a picture that exhibits our "fun value."  Well, that was pretty easy!  :)

I also have to start memorizing some airline terminology and airport codes/cities.  The airport codes are too bad, but I'm pretty sure this is the first time in years that I've been required to memorize stuff like this!  Things I have learned so far about airport codes:

  1. Sometimes they don't seem to make any sense.
  2. There are way too many airports in North Dakota.
  3. When I know the name of the city an airport is in, but not the state, I can guess North Dakota and be right at least 50% of the time.

So other than memorizing things, I've got a lot of other stuff going on right now!  I'm packing for my 6 week trip to Vegas.  You better believe that I'm rolling every single item of clothing as small as I can.  I'm also struggling with which shoes to bring.  I know we won't have a whole lot of time to go exploring Vegas, but I'm sure there will be at least ONE night that we go out.. AND I NEED MY NICE HEELS FOR THAT!!  xD  I'm also trying to pack away some of my stuff in my apartment... I'm currently living in Tampa, but I'm going to be based in Orlando, soo I'm trying to find an apartment there!  While I'm in Vegas, I won't be able to come back to FL for anything, so that makes things a little difficult.  I'm sure it'll work out fine, though!  :)

Well that's all I have for today!  I probably won't have much else to say until this weekend!  Have a great week everyone!! :D

(Also, if you'd like to get my blog posts sent directly to your email, you can do so at the bottom of the page.  :D)

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