5 Reasons This Flight Attendant Became a Slam-Clicker
“I don’t know why I’ve wasted so much of my life being social,” has become my new catchphrase. The Pandemic brought to light something that I had previously been too busy socializing to notice. I’m kind of an introvert. I love being alone, having quiet time, morning naps, self-care—things I didn’t make time for in the ‘Before Times’ when I was running around being social and doing things.
Transitioning back to normal life, with work and now a social calendar, was tough for me. And one place it’s been especially tough is at work. Where I once touted the perks of #layoverlife, now you can find me chilling in my room on most layovers, working on personal projects or catching up on sleep.
I’ve been telling flight attendant friends “I just don’t have the energy to go out and find something exciting to do.” I’ve blamed my lack of exploring on the rental car shortage in the U.S., on being exhausted, on having SO much work to catch up on. But there is a possibility that something else is at play.
I’ve become a slam-clicker.
So, what is a slam-clicker anyway?
If you’ve never heard this word, you are probably wondering ‘What the heck is a slam-clicker?’ And you are probably not in the airline industry. “Slam Clicker” is a term that describes those crewmembers who don’t go out and explore on layovers, and who don’t socialize with their crews. As the name suggests, once these flight attendants get to the hotel, they “slam” their door shut and “click” the lock.
Crew drinks? No thanks. Breakfast plans tomorrow morning? I don’t think so. Touristing in the city? Pass.
For years I looked at slam-clickers with incredulity. You’re here in *Insert cool city name* and you’re just going to stay in your ROOM?!
I distinctly remember showing up to work a dope Chicago trip with a 30-hour layover downtown and the two old bitties I was to work with not only didn’t have plans to be out in the city exploring, they did not even KNOW that we were staying in the (kick-ass) downtown hotel! I found myself frustrated with them both. Why would you bid this trip when you don’t even want the layover? When someone else—more junior than you—would love to have it. As we know, everything in aviation is based on seniority. So, when you get a trip you’ve asked for, that means the people below you in seniority, who may have really wanted the same trip, don’t get it.
That’s the way the cookie crumbles, and senior gets what senior gets. But I always thought it sucked.
I felt that slam-clickers were wasting layovers that could be better spent on exploration, fun, adventure, food, attractive strangers, a good, solid buzz, getting to know your crew.
But over the years, and especially after 2020, my perspective has shifted. Lately I find myself being the slam-clicker. I find myself brushing off the excitement of newer flight attendants taking on a fun city. I find myself rarely asking “So, do you have plans for your layover?” I’ve stopped asking because I have my own plans. I don’t want to hang out.
Socialest to Slam Clicker
It is a bit shocking if you knew me in the Before Times. I don’t think I ever turned down a “Anyone want to meet downstairs for a drink?” in my first seven years of flying. Historically, on layovers I’ve been an alarm-setter, a car-renter, a trail-hiker, a sight-seer, and definitely a willing partner in crime. My layover antics are what caused my bestie Rachel to dub me ‘The Socialest’, a nickname I loved.
And don’t get me wrong, that shit was great. I have so many wild layover stories. I’ve made friends and explored cities and ate the best food. But now? I’m starting to kind of get it. The reasons that people slam-click. The appeal of a quiet hotel room to yourself, an anti-social 24 hours.
I got used to having time to myself in the four months I was out of work during the Pandemic. It was a hard adjustment to have to go back to flying and give my time away again. Now, I can’t help but see it—my time—as a precious commodity. And though I am being paid to give it to my employer, that doesn’t mean I have to give the free layover hours to my crew.
Here are some of the reasons I’ve fallen into the Slam-clicker category, and the reasons that many people do.
Why I became a Slam-Clicker
Top 5 Reasons
Sometimes we slam-click to catch up on rest.
1. Same Old Story
One reason I have become more of a slam-clicker this year is that I’m always in the same places. I’ve gotten into a deep groove of working the same trips all the time. I fly west, I stay in LA, San Diego, Seattle, and San Francisco, I fly back east. It’s simple, it’s easy, and as much as I love a lot of other cities we fly to, these trips suit my work needs best. One flight per day means only one boarding session per day—you know, the time that we flight attendants work for free. The long-haul flights also give me plenty of time to write in the air. Being in these cool cities all the time makes you kind of take it for granted. In the way that tourists who come to visit will be able to tell you things you never knew about your own town, it kind of feels like the more time you spend in a place the less you appreciate the novelty of it. It will always be there; I’ll get to it eventually.
When I was a junior flight attendant and only getting this kind of trip once in a blue moon, it was imperative that I take advantage. Now, knowing I’ve got three more San Diego trips lined up this month, makes me in less of a rush to make big plans.
I’m sure a lot of slam-clickers are slam-clickers for this reason. They work the same type of trips, in the same cities, all the time and the excitement is just harder to conjure.
2. A Respite
Another factor in my new slam-clicker lifestyle was becoming a homeowner. Buy yourself a 100-year old house in New England and see if that shit feels relaxing on your days off. I’m not even doing any renovations. But getting settled, maintenance, and one unexpected issue after another made it so that being home was not exactly the picture of tranquility.
Having a nice hotel room with no items to clean or unpack, no leaks to fix, no pests to evict, and, importantly, none of the associated bills that come along with them, feels like vacation. I often arrive to my 24-hour paradise with the intention of doing nothing but catching up on sleep and reading. Lately I have had to force myself out of the hotel even to go for a run.
I know that this is one of the big reasons people are slam-clickers. They have busy lives at home.
For people with young children, for example, getting to spend 24 hours without a tiny person asking you for something? That must feel amazing. Not cleaning a litter box, no dog walks, no dishes to wash, no spouse to talk to. What a freaking dream! (Does this say something profound about the way I see relationships that I’ve compared talking with a spouse to mundane house chores? I’ll ask my therapist.) In any event, the point is that for many people, days off at home are not so relaxing. But a long stay in a nice hotel can feel like a little slice of silent heaven.
Sometimes a layover is all business-- in bed!
3. Everyday we’re hustling
The other reason I haven’t been hitting the town much on layovers is that I’m…kind of busy. I’ve got a lot of side hustle-y things going on and one of the sweet benefits of my day job is it pays me while I pursue my more fulfilling dreams and personal goals.
If you’re new around here, I publish a fresh post to this blog every single Thursday. NBD, right? But each one is written, edited, input, formatted, and optimized by yours truly. And I am NOT a web person. Being generous with myself, each post that I publish takes me somewhere between 10 and 20 hours. Seriously.
Beyond that, I’m working on a book project. I’m enrolled in business classes because, apparently, I love staying balls-to-the-wall busy. I’m taking some personal finance courses in my spare time, reading self-help books and doing the associated exercises. Trying to follow the news, learning to play piano, writing songs, practicing with a band. And now, with COVID restrictions eased up, I suddenly have a whole-ass “social life” again. It is seriously a lot.
And this is beyond the normal adulting things that in and of themselves feel like a fucking insurmountable hill sometimes. I’m talking doctors appointments, finding a therapist, sorting my company health insurance, the dentist, the gym, cooking dinner, the bills, resetting passwords, the fucking YARD. (OMG you cut the grass and pull the weeds and it all just grows BACK! Literally every second of work is for nothing in the end. What the hell.)
BESIDES all of this everyday fuckton of things to do, many of our fellow flight attendants have other important things in their lives. They use their layover time to have meetings with clients, to study for exams, to run their side (or main) business, to write, to sell homes, to plan weddings, to run their YouTube channels, to train for marathons, to pursue their purpose. To take care of business.
Sometimes a slam-clicker just has some serious moves to make. And goal work is good work.
4. Not Drinking
This is not a factor for every slam-clicker, but it is definitely one that has increased my slam-click tendencies. I stopped drinking in February of 2020, right before the Pandemic made its way to the American consciousness and changed everything. In all those months off of work, not only was it easy for me to not drink, but I also got used to being in the house every night and getting eight hours of sleep. What a revelation! Now that I don’t drink, I’ve lost my sense of FOMO and have no issue “missing out” on nights out with the crew when what my body actually needs is a solid night’s rest.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll hang in a bar every now and again, but there’s no pressure to go, or to stay out late if I do. And where I used to crave the booze-fueled social interaction with crew, now I’m kind of good. Catch me in bed on Marco Polo with my besties. I’ll be the one in the face mask, snacking in bed, about to get 10 hours of sleep.
*If you don’t have the Marco Polo App yet, read more about it here. It is the literal BEST app for connecting with close friends and family with none of the icky stuff of other social networking/connection apps. Especially good for those of us, flight attendants or world travelers who spend a lot of time alone on the road.
And sometimes we use them to make funny faces and relish our (long-gone) abs. Oh man I miss those things!
5. I’m senior, B*tch.
To be fair, I’m only senior in my airline because it’s a smaller carrier and I got in at the exact right time to move up the ladder quickly. At a bigger airline I’d be a tiny fish in a big pond, and I would have far less control over my schedule. But I’m not there, I’m here. I am able to pretty much work what I want and when I want. And since I’ve earned this position with the years I’ve put in, I don’t feel all that bad “taking” a good trip from someone junior and not “making the most of it.”
Once someone is senior enough, they can get the trips they want and spend the layovers in whatever way they see fit. And the world keeps on turning.
Those are some of the main reasons people become slam-clickers. They are the reasons I became a slam-clicker, anyway. Flight attendants are more than meets the eye. We are busy. We’ve got LIVES! And while I used to scoff at people and their “relaxing” and “self-care” and “me time”, I have slowly but surely become someone who needs all three of those things. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always stay couped up in my room. Sometimes slam-clicking means a long, leisurely walk around the city alone or taking myself out to dinner. But other times it is exactly as it sounds. I delight in a quiet evening in a hotel. A lazy day in crisp, white sheets, or writing on a balcony. I am grateful to be senior enough to hold these trips that I like and to have the choice to do what I want with them. I’m thankful for this job that affords me so much free time to work on my dream projects. And good lord, I can’t tell you how thankful I am after catching a full 8 hours of zzZZs.
Life is good. Even when you’re a slam-clicker.
I hope this clears up what a slam-clicker is and helps to dispel the sometimes-negative connotation the word can have. I have only recently had this perspective shift of being able to understand and empathize with slam-clicking. If you’re a social butterfly flight attendant, eye-rolling at us slam-clickers, maybe you’ll have a bit more understanding of what we’re up to and why we don’t want to hang. It’s not you, it’s us—and the King-sized bed calling our names.
Whether you’re a slam-clicker or one of the social-est, I hope you enjoy those trips and have a little fun—whatever that means to you.
Safe travels and happy weekend everyone.
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Thanks for stopping by. I’m Toni and I run the show here at A Wheel in the Sky. Here, we talk all things travel, flight attendant life, and personal development. I hope you liked reading about slam-clickers today. If you’re interested in more flight attendant content, try some of the posts below. And don’t forget to click Subscribe to catch all the latest travel tips, insider secrets, and juicy stories.