I just started my seventh year as a FA
. 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.
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
review cabin maintenance logbook
and the list could go on and on.
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]