Being a Flight Attendant: Reserve Life

passion project

I get a lot of questions about my job, naturally as this job is very different then what other people are used to. I thought I’d do a quick blog post about what life is like as a reserve flight attendant.

Something that I think really boggles people’s minds is reserve life. For a normal desk job, if you call out sick, the company continues to spin its wheel and you come back to work when you get better and it is all good. For an airline, if a flight attendant calls out sick, then that flight cannot go. The reason is, the FAA requires 1 flight attendant for every 50 seats. Most airlines have it down to the minimum flight attendants so if one calls out they need another one to work that flight or else they have to cancel. Introducing your reserve flight attendants.

Reserves are flight attendants who just sit by and hangout and wait to be called. It’s literally a game of, do I go or do I stay?  I’m currently a reserve flight attendant but it varies per airline. For my airline it’s based on seniority so because I’m pretty junior I’m on reserve until more flight attendants are hired below me.

As a reserve flight attendant I do not have a set schedule or know where I am going. Instead, I know I am on call 18 days out of the month (with 12 days off). Most of the time I am notified the night before my reserve block starts, but sometimes I have a 2 hour call out which means I have 2 hours to get to the airport to work a flight. While on reserve I literally have my suitcase packed in my trunk and I always carry my uniform around with me if I go hangout with friends.

Reserve life can be exciting because you can go to some awesome places. On reserve I’ve gone to Costa Rica, Hawaii, Cabo, New York, Boston, etc. But sometimes it’s tiring because you just want to be home and inevitably the days that you want to be home are the days that you get assigned a trip. Reserves are pretty much required for the airline industry to function but it’s definitely a tough part of the job that makes you appreciate having a set schedule.

While reserve life is hard, I do really love my job and really don’t mind it. I hope this post gives you a little more insight to the airline world and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

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5 comments

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  1. Willia Kristine

    Wow. seems like reserve life is more difficult than actually having a schedule. At least with a set roster, you’ve already put yourself in that state of mind that you’re doing a flight. but reserve like is always a surprise. Makes the job exciting!

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