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)