What This Flight Attendant is Thankful For
On this Thanksgiving, one of the things I’m thankful for is all the good passengers out there who make my job easier instead of harder. Since this is a flight attendant blog, and since this holiday is about giving thanks, I wanted to create a gratitude list for all those good passengers. If the items on the list sound like you, then you’re doing well! And if not, you may want to get yourself in check. Santa, a flying man himself, has a special place in his heart for aviation professionals. And we all know he’s watching.
On behalf of all flight attendants, here is why we are so grateful to you, a member of the flying public.
Your Flight Attendants Thank you for:
Wearing your mask.
Not pulling your mask down to talk to us in the aisle.
Not blaming us for delays.
Nor for the broken tray table. (We didn’t do it, I swear!)
We feel so grateful when you thank us for working the holidays so you can get home to see your loved ones.
For not yelling at us when things don’t go your way. We are people after all. Some of us are moms, daughters, sons, uncles, grandparents, and I’m sure you wouldn’t want someone speaking to your family members harshly.
We’re thankful that you never EVER enter the lavatory without shoes. And were even more thankful you don’t let your little kid do it either. Yuck, amirite?
While we’re talking feet, thank you for not putting your bare feet on another person’s arm rest or seat back. And we’re especially thankful you’d never put those gross little piggies on the tray table where people eat.
So many thanks for not standing while the seatbelt sign is on.
For not getting drunk and belligerent before or during your flight.
For looking up at the dozens of airport signs directing you to baggage claim instead of asking us where baggage claim is.
For reading your menu card. (Omg major Flight Attendant boner moment here!) It is so NICE that you would use your eyes to look at the options instead of asking me to name all of them for you. You must dine in restaurants sometimes because you are seriously good at this.
We are so thankful for all of you not taking it personally when we must enforce rules and policies set by the Federal Aviation Administration and our employers. We know it can be a drag, but you are a trooper.
All of you bringing us treats? BIG UPS, you rule. Thank you!
We are so, so grateful to those of you who place your trash inside of the trash container in the lavatory instead of in the paper towel dispenser or thrown about on the floor. What a gift.
HUGE thanks to you for not leaving your trash in your seat back pocket. It took a tiny amount of energy for you to place that trash in the trash bag when we walked by your seat, but that tiny amount makes you a BIG hero to us. Thanks for not making us handle your sanitizer wipes or tissues. Gloves or not it’s soooo gross. You’re the best.
I’m so thankful to all of you who do not ask incredulously or with a look of wonder “Is that a female pilot?”
Big thank you for not complaining about the crying baby. You must have been a baby once because you demonstrate a seriously human level of empathy for the lil’ guy who is obviously having a rough time.
So grateful that you never touch us in the aisle or snap your fingers or say “hey!” to get our attention. You, sir/ma’am, are a decent person!
Lastly, thank you for not calling us Stewardess.
Alright, I’m just having a little Thanksgiving fun. But in all seriousness, if you fit the descriptions above, then I am truly, really grateful for you. I mentioned in my last post that most people on airplanes are nice, decent people who follow the rules— the bad ones just stick out more in our memories. Sincere thanks to all of you who make this statement true. You are part of the reason I am happy to come to work.
I do want to turn this post in a more serious direction—don’t worry, not too serious!—to talk about some things that I am really, seriously grateful for. As a flight attendant, working in these uncertain times, and as a regular human, living in these uncertain times. Here goes: My (other) gratitude list.
What this flight attendant is thankful for
Having a job.
It is a well known fact that the aviation industry is volatile. People have told me this since I became a flight attendant seven years ago, but I never experienced it myself until COVID. Things are worse than they have ever been for my industry, an unprecedented blow. While so many of our colleagues at other airlines have been furloughed, I am feeling incredibly lucky to still be flying.
My coworkers and I are fortunate that our airline is still in the game. That, while we don’t always agree with the “bottom line” approach to business, we were set up in a good financial position to weather this storm. So, I get to keep doing this thing that I love, at least for now.
To be alive.
A quarter of a million people have died.
There are no available statistics on how many flight attendants, pilots, gate agents have died. It seemed strange to me, as we are essential workers, helping to transport people and the virus from point A to point B. But I suppose when the death count reaches upward of 250,000 there would have to be a lot of sorting by profession. Anecdotally, I can tell you that several coworkers at my company have been taken by Coronavirus. I can tell you that brothers and sisters at other airlines have lost their lives.
This is not to steal the thunder from healthcare workers, true heroes, and grocery store employees, again, true heroes. It is merely to note that all of us here today are decidedly lucky.
Having a job I love.
Not only am I still employed, but I’m still employed in this job that I adore. If the risk of exposure is a downside to this gig, the freedom of movement and the benefit of not being bored or lonely is a huge advantage. I get to leave the house to go to work. Who would have thought a year ago that this would be a point of excitement? I get to leave the state and sometimes, the country. Have to, in fact.
Going to work allows me to hop a flight and spend the night sitting on my balcony in 60-degree sunny San Diego, to go for a run in San Francisco or to hike in Red Rocks Canyon, just outside Las Vegas. While so many people have spent their days lonely at home, I’m forced to go places.
Layover life is not what it used to be; it’s quieter, less social and more slam-click relaxing. But to be able to experience this movement at all feels like a great privilege.
My family members are healthy.
I’m grateful that, unlike so many, I have not lost my family members this year to the pandemic. (Or to any other cause.) There are as many of us this year as there were last year, and that is a blessing. I may not be seeing them this Thanksgiving, but I’m thankful that the opportunity still exists to see them at all.
This year has made me appreciate my friends so much. Sure, I have always loved having friends, but I have also always loved having walls up, maintaining a quiet distance. I hate feeling vulnerable, like I don’t have it all together. Sitting on my high horse or suffering in silence have been my MOs. But this year, when some shit hit the fan and I needed an outlet, a comfort, someone to trust, my friends have stepped up in a big way.
When I wrote the post earlier this year on being sober for six months, I discussed the things that worried me about a future without alcohol. One worry was that my friends wouldn’t think I was fun anymore. That I wouldn’t think they were fun anymore. That I would be devastated finding out which of my friends were real and which were just here for the party.
I’m happy to report that nearly all of the people I consider close friends have been supportive, genuinely happy for me, and still want to be my friend. I have seen a couple of these friends over the past few months. (Safely distanced and COVID-tested, of course.) And though they’re drinking and I’m not, it was still a blast. I still laughed until I cried. Even in the company of those friends I’ve had my WILDEST party nights with. It was all good.
Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Maybe I should have tried letting my walls down sooner.
Guys, you know who you are. Thank you for being there when I need you, for the love and support, and for putting up with me while hangry. I’m so lucky to call each one of you my friend.
That this year is almost over.
For some, it has been a year of great joy.
I slowed way down and discovered I loved it, dug into personal goals and creative work. We voted out an authoritarian-leaning lunatic. I have a very exciting end-of-year project that is not a baby but something I’m too superstitious to talk about yet. I’ve gotten into the nitty gritty of awakening my self. Listening to her. Caring for her. I traveled extensively and learned a great deal.
And it has been a year of great tragedy.
Lives lost, jobs lost, homes lost, and health lost. Sometimes, in the midst of the pandemic, it felt like the universe was conspiring, delivering blow after blow, each hit dirtier than the last. The irony was tragic, and I know for many of my dear friends and family, coworkers and acquaintances, this year has been HARD. Even though I’m thankful for the good that has come to me in 2020, I am with the rest of you: I’ll be very happy to close the book of this year and start fresh.
To the people who read this blog, to those who share it, thank you. I am caught completely off guard every time someone says in passing “by the way, I like your writing” or that they enjoyed a particular post. Knowing the things I’m writing have resonated with you is soul-filling stuff. I’m so honored to be the voice in your head while you’re reading. I am so grateful for the time you’ve taken to do it. And I’m so touched by every comment or compliment or share or “way to go”. Finally figuring out how to work my analytics to see how many people are reading this thing was such a gift. And so are you.
I may not have a million readers, but I cherish every single one that I do have. Y’all are the BEST!
And that’s it for today. I think I’ve hit my emotion quota for one post and then some. I’ll be spending the rest of my holiday doing some volunteering in the morning, followed by eating in sweatpants, watching Christmas movies, and reposting memes about why this holiday is fake and represents mourning and genocide for Native Americans. (The gratitude stuff, though? 100% real.) Thanks for dropping by to check out the things that make this flight attendant one very grateful gal. I hope you have as many things to be thankful for, and that you keep them in mind, today and every day.
Peace and love to you and yours