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A Day In The Life Of A NWA Flight Attendant  
User currently offlineJafa From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 782 posts, RR: 4
Posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 18995 times:

I just started my seventh year as a FA for NW. Due to the layoff's I am still on reserve. At one point I had over 2,000 people below me in seniority, now its barely 500.
I am trained on the DC9, A319/20, 757, DC10, A330, & 747. That includes all types within those fleets. Like the 747-200 & 400.
I was on call for four days May 07-10th. I called scheduling to check my line around 230p the day before I went on call. I already had a trip leaving the next day.
The automated voice advised me of chages to my schedule. In the intervening seconds, I wondered of the possibilities. I could be going anywhere we fly to. It could have been Tokyo, Amsterdam, etc. I wasn't surprised to find out it was a 2 day domestic trip. The layover was in Louisville, KY my home town. I could visit my family.
I pulled out the book of trips for May called an analysis. I looked up the pattern number 1060. I had five flights the first day, a 10 hour layover, and three flights the next day ending up at home base at 217p.
It was on the DC9-50. I was to make up minimum crew. DC9 FA and flight deck crews stay together for thier entire trip. Since the DC9-50 is a strech version of the regular DC9-30 they needed a third FA.
This mean't I would be changing crews all day long.

My first day was scheduled :
Detroit-Saginaw-Detroit actual flight time 25 minutes each segment
Detroit-Chicago o' Hare actual flight time 53 minutes
Chicago o'Hare-Memphis actual flight time 1:20
Memphis-Louisville actual flight time 59 minutes

I woke at 915a, called scheduling, we have to call to checkin between 2 1/2 and 8 hours before each trip. I got dressed and left the house at 10:15a
It took 5 minutes to reach the parking lot. I live close to the airport.
Sign-in time at Inflight Services was 11:02a
First flight departure was 12:02
All briefings for domestic narrowbody take place on the aircraft so I proceeded to my gate.
Briefings include:
introductions
ensuring minimum crew is onboard for that aircraft type
bidding for Lead flight attendant and other work positions
review current revision and bulletin numbers and info.
remind to check emergency equipment in your work area
review emergency procedures and commands
security procedures
review cabin maintenance logbook
and the list could go on and on.

MY first crew was MSP based, and I did the first two flights with them. They were in the middle of a 3 day trip.
As the extra FA, I was resposible for hanging coats for FC passengers, obtaining and filling predeparture drink orders. This can be a challenge on a full flight. Everyone boarded quickly so the aisle was clear after 5 minutes. FC was only booked to 8 of 16. So I even had time to offer seconds on the ground.
The agent comes down the jetway with the flight paperwork. We confirms the three B's. Bags stowed, Bins closed, Bodies (ableboded pax in exit row). The agent closes the door. The lead flight attendant annouces "flight attendants door for departure and cross check". No reply is required. I inserted the girt bar into the floor brackets and cross checked her door. We powered back from this particular break using the reverse thrust from the engines. We did a safety demo, I have to demo in FC and then walk to the cabin divider between FC and coach and repeat it. The annoucements are constrcuted so you have time to do this. After checking the cabin I collected reamaining FC predeparture drinks cups and tossed them. We use plastic on the ground so we don't have to open anything to stow them during taxi.
After a few minutes taxi time the flight deck annouces on the PA, "flight attendants prepare for departure" we have two minutes from this point to takeoff. If we aren't ready then we have to call them.
Once we reach 10,000 feet, the flight deck crew switches on a green light indicating that we can communicate freely with them and this is our que to make electronic device annoucements, order of service, charity partner, etc. etc.
The service on the first two flights involved a full beverage with prepacked snacks for FC only. Flights under 25 minutes don't get a service in the main cabin.
The flight deck crew annouces "flight attendants prepare for landing" when we start decending. We ask paasengers to stow luggage and collect service items. Once we go below 10,000 feet the green light goes out and we make the electronic device annoucement, etc.
4-5 minutes before landing we get a double chime to indicate landing is eminent. We pass out FC coats and the Lead makes the annoucement to bring seat forward and stow trays. We check the cabin and galley and then take our seats.
Once we got to Detroit, I had to change aircraft. I had a 1:15 before the flight to Chicago. I showed the gate agent my ID and was allowed to board. The cleaners were on-board and the caterers were just pulling up. The flight would be catered for the next two flights. I took a moment to ready the galley. The DC9's only have one galley in the front for both cabins. I put coffee bags in the three coffee makers. Two regular and one decaf. I put ice in the ice buckets, made sure the OJ was ready to go, and FC wine was open.
I also checked to make sure that my crew meal was onboard. Today it was beef over bowtie pasta in a burgundy sauce, a side salad, sourdough roll, and chocalate cake for dessert. Our contract requires a FC crew meal if your day is a least six hours and don't have more than a 1:30 break between flights. My day today was 10:15 on duty. We get paid only for flight time which today was 5:27. This is not exactly a trip everyone wants.

The rest of my crew was DTW based and I had flown with them before. Even though we number about 4,000 in my base and about 9,000 in the company, we still get to know people. Although my best friend is a FA and we never flew together.
Boarding for Chicago began 30 minutes before departure. The load was 16 out of 16 in FC and about 80 something in back. It was routine and we finished serving everyone right before descent began. All drinks are free except alcoholic drinks which are $5.
The ground crew came on and removed trash and did a quick tidying of the cabin.
We again boarded and repeated the above for the next flight.
In Memphis I kept the same aircraft and this time had Memphis based crew. Fitting the stereotype to a tee, they both had big hair and was sweeter than pecan pie.
We had an uneventful flight to Louisville. Arriving about 10:10p.
Once I deplaned I called my brother who would pick me up at the hotel. We went to Grandma's house were the rest of the family was partying. It was the Kentucky Derby today. I stayed until 12:30a even though I had a 6:30 van time at the hotel.
I got a 4 hour nap, and the next day was a blur. I got back to Detroit right ontime. I ran to the employee bus hoping not to get caught up in the shift change of ground crew. I made it on a relatively empty bus. It drives right on the ramp, so I got a real good view of the 5 A330's parked in a row. While on the bus, I call scheduling to check if I had another assignment the next day but I didn't. I flew enough hours to get pushed down on the list of people on reserve. I went home for a nap.

[Edited 2004-05-07 04:42:02]

32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCOAB767 From Guam, joined Nov 2003, 1377 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 18807 times:

Great report interesting to see how a NWA f/a flies.


Continental Micronesia: "Fly With The Warmth Of Paradise"
User currently offlineDALelite From Switzerland, joined Jun 2000, 1770 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 18531 times:

entertaining report. thanx for sharing. but i still don't get why US airlines
serve predeparture drinks in plastic cups?.
DALelite



They loved to fly and it showed..
User currently offlineWidgetBoi From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1432 posts, RR: 20
Reply 3, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 18504 times:

Awesome report! I hope you plan to write more in the future  Big grin

jeremy


User currently offlineTrident2e From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 18502 times:

That was a very interesting report. Just one question - what do you mean when you say right at the end of the report " I flew enough hours to get pushed down on the list of people on reserve".


User currently offlineWidgetBoi From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 1432 posts, RR: 20
Reply 5, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 18479 times:

I'm sure this has been brought up in the past, but I was just wondering which is your favorite plane to work?

jeremy Big grin


User currently offlineBsmalls35 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 18442 times:

Nice to read a trip report from the perspective of a flight attendant. Thanks for sharing.

User currently offlineL1011 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1665 posts, RR: 9
Reply 7, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 18406 times:
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I enjoyed reading your report, which allowed me to see what flying is like from a flight attendant's point of view. I fly NW a lot, mainly because of their DC-9s and DC-10s. In fact, I am flying RIC-DTW-TPA and back in three weeks. I could have flown more directly to TPA on Delta or US Airways, connecting in ATL or CLT. But I chose to pay a few dollars more and take NW.
I have a question about the 757 that no flight attendant has been able to answer. On your 757s with a rear cabin, those with exit doors instead of window exits, at row 36 on both sides, the window is narrower than the others due to a plastic matte in the window frame. Why is this? The flight attendants I pointed it out to said they had never noticed it before. I'm just curious.

Bob Bradley
Richmond, VA



Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
User currently offlineLu From China, joined Aug 1999, 175 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 18334 times:

So impressive report. Have you been Shanghai before?

Lu Shanghai


User currently offlineLfutia From Netherlands, joined Dec 2002, 3332 posts, RR: 28
Reply 9, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 18265 times:
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Sweet! I enjoyed reading your trip report.... Thanks....


Leo/ORD -- Groetjes uit de VS! -- Heeft u laatst nog met KLM gevlogen?
User currently offlineJafa From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 782 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (10 years 2 months 1 week 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 18191 times:

Just got back from a SFO turn.
to answer the questions:
DAL elite- once we leave the gate to taxi out, we aren't supposed to open overhead bins/galley carts to stow glasses. Plastic cups allow you to hold on to the drink longer and when we throw them away, we don't have to open a cart to stow them. We just discard of them into the trash bin, you don't have to open it.
I like to work the 757 or airbus FC. Otherwise all planes have thier good and bad features.

Trident2e- When youre on reserve or on-call, we get trip assignments according to the hours you have flown that month. The person with the lowest hours gets a trip first.

L1011- I'll have to check that out. I have never noticed that, and I thought I had a pretty good eye for detail.

LU- I have never been to Shanghai, but have been to PEK twice. I love Chinese food and would love to see more of China.


User currently offlineAdam T. From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 957 posts, RR: 6
Reply 11, posted (10 years 2 months 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 17850 times:

Very interesting! I enjoyed seeing a trip report from a FA's point of view! Again, great report!


Adam


User currently offlineTexaSkies From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 23 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 17376 times:

Jafa,
What a wonderful report. It is always interesting to get an "insiders" view on things. May you have another GREAT 7 yrs with NW.


User currently offlineA330Fan1 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 856 posts, RR: 11
Reply 13, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 17340 times:

thanks for sharing a typical NWA flight attendant's day, was very insightful and interesting..sounds very tiring!! but also very rewarding

-A330Fan1


User currently offlinePualani From United States of America, joined May 2004, 301 posts, RR: 6
Reply 14, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 17209 times:

A question Jafa...are your pursers awarded the position before the month or do you find out when you all sign in on the AC ? Great report, I'm always curious about other airlines and their crews.

pualani


User currently offlineJafa From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 782 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 16912 times:

the crew working the flight decides amongst themselves during the briefing who will take the lead position. It is offered in seniority order. On widebody international, or intra Asia flights we have dedicated Pursers.

User currently offlineTranStar From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 530 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 16837 times:
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Jafa,

First, it sounds like you do work the Asia flights occasionally.

Secondly, when you work the Asia flights, i.e. JFK-NRT or DTW-NRT, how are the shifts during the flight. What I mean is how many hours of the flight do you work and how are the shifts broken up during the flight? How is it to sleep in the crew rest on the 744?

Thanks!
TranStar



User currently offlineDeltaRules From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3722 posts, RR: 9
Reply 17, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 16762 times:

Great report! Interesting to see flying from a crew member's point of view.

DeltaRules



Let's Kick the Tires & Light the Fires!!
User currently offlineSouthwestMDW From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 303 posts, RR: 1
Reply 18, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 16763 times:

Very Nice report! I am really starting to enjoy the reports from Crewmembers!

User currently offlineJafa From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 782 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (10 years 4 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 16500 times:

On a transpacific flight the entire crew does the first meal service followed by duty free. After pickup and duty free sales are complete half the crew goes on a break. The crew then switches out after the first break is over. Breaks end one and a half hours before landing when the entire crew performs the pre arrival meal service.
I don't like going into the crew bunks becasue its small and you can't stand up straight.


User currently offlineAa777mia From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 686 posts, RR: 3
Reply 20, posted (10 years 4 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 16466 times:

Username: DALelite
From Switzerland, joined Jun 2000, 608 posts, RR: 43
Reply: 2
Posted Fri May 7 2004 23:27:27 UTC+1 and read 2058 times:
entertaining report. Thanks for sharing. but I still don't get why US airlines
serve predeparture drinks in plastic cups?.


DALelite:

Let me see if I can explain this to ya. Back in the 90's there were a few incidents were flight attendants were injured perfuming "NON SAFETY RELATED" duties. For example, handing out coats, blankets, magazines etc. The FAA then decided that Flight Attendants needed to be seated in their jumpseats after perfuming safety related duties. Prior to leaving the gate and closing of the aircraft door, the aircraft must be secure. Overhead bins closed, passengers seated, etc. If customers in first class were given drinks in glasses, and we had to pick up those glasses for take off, that would require us to open compartments/carts in the galley. The aircraft would then be "unsecured" which would violate FAR's. Therefore, in order to get around this rule, and still offer drinks in the Premium cabins, US Airlines decided to move to plastic glasses, since a flight attendant could collect them and throw them into a trash container, without unsecuring the cabin for take-off.. Hope this helps..




User currently offlineBluejackets From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 280 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (10 years 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 16444 times:

Great report.. very interesting to hear about the day of a F/A, especially that schedule!

-Will



It's funny when I tell people I love planes and they think I'm weird.
User currently offline767er From Australia, joined Apr 2001, 1092 posts, RR: 4
Reply 22, posted (10 years 4 weeks ago) and read 16410 times:

Jafa

That was great!!! I recently flew into Terminal 2 at LAX on Air New Zealand and i noticed a NW crew just off the NRT flight. I am not being rude and please do not take offense but you uniforms are very basic. Any plans by NW to do a BA and totally revamp the uniforms?????

thanks
Brent



Aircraft flown:F27,Viscount. EMB120, SAAB340, ATR70, 737-200.737-300,DC8, DC10,747-100,747-200,747-300,747-400, A320, A3
User currently offlineJafa From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 782 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (10 years 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 16185 times:

I agree the uniform is very basic, you can appreciate it a little more up close. There has been talk of a new uniform for years now, but the company will not spend money on things like new uniforms while we are losing money. I believe that the process has moved past talk to actual concepts and design, but not been implemented yet.

User currently offlineAzjubilee From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 3886 posts, RR: 28
Reply 24, posted (10 years 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 16146 times:

I wouldn't be surprised that NW launches a new front line employee uniform concept to match the new brand. Though, since NW is fiscally responsible, unlike some other airlines (DL and UA), I think new unis are low on the priority at NWA.


AZJ


25 N593HA : Great report Jafa! I hope to get more from you soon! I like flying NWA. On my last four inter-continental trips I always flew NWA. On my last on Augus
26 Post contains images Flying Belgian : I am trained on the DC9, A319/20, 757, DC10, A330, & 747. That includes all types within those fleets. Like the 747-200 & 400. Isn't that too much at
27 Jafa : It has never really been a problem for us, it certainly help with efficiency. Any FA can fly any aircraft in the fleet. Some airlines retain domestic
28 F27XXX : Loved reading your Trip Report . . time for another one ! And show us a pic of you in action (i mean on the plane .. LOL!) Tony
29 Jafa39 : So, now I see why I couldn't get Jafa as my first choice of username!!!! Interesting report, good to see how the other half fly!! Jafa39
30 AirxLiban : Excellent report! Was thinking the same thing myself!
31 LACA773 : Jafa, Thanks so much for the "diary". I loved reading about it and your follow up postings. Which is your favorite widebody? 744, 332, D10? How do you
32 Burnsie28 : Like United, which I thought was a bit odd, but oh well.
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