The 10 Best Travel Apps For Flight Attendants

1. FAAWait – During a creeping weather delay a flight attendant who also works part time as an air traffic controller told me about FAAWait. It’s his favorite app. One click and we knew which airports across the country were also experiencing delays, how long the delays were averaging, and what had caused the delays.

2. MyRadar: Recently a fearful flier on board one of my flights spent three hours watching the weather light up his iPad screen: blue, green, red – wow, so much red! He knew exactly when to expect turbulence, how bad it might get, and how long it would last. Knowing this kept him calm. At one point he even turned around in his seat to let the crew know it would be smooth flying from here on out. Two seconds later the captain called to tell us the exact same thing, it was safe to get up and finish the service. Since then I’ve been recommending the app to anyone who mentions they’re afraid to fly.

3. WhatsApp: An Emirate’s flight attendant from Bosnia based in Saudi Arabia told me about this app on a flight from Miami to New York. WhatsApp makes it possible to send text messages to friends and family out of the country free of charge. There is virtually no cost to stay in touch with loved ones. You can even share audio and video messages.

4. Twitter: Still the best way to get breaking news! You don’t need to “get it.” Just learn how to use the hashtags to find information as it’s happening. For instance, not too long ago I was at an airport that was being evacuated and no one knew why. That was my cue to search the airport code – #DFW. That’s how I found out there was a bomb threat on an incoming flight. I learned this from passengers who were actually on board the flight and tweeting about it as they taxied to the gate.

5. HappyHourFinder: Flight attendants don’t make a lot of money. In fact new hires start out making less than $18,000 a year. And yet we’re subjected to overpriced hotel and airport food on a regular basis. This is why we take advantage of happy hour specials, particularly ones that include half priced appetizers, which might explain how I ended up at Vince Neil’s Bar, Tres Rios, in Las Vegas two hours after learning about the app in the crew van on our way from the airport to the layover hotel.6. Instagram: Because when you travel there are just so many beautiful things to photograph. The app not only makes your pictures look ten times better, it’s easy to text and email your photos or post photos straight to Facebook or Twitter. What I enjoy most about the app is following people whose photos inspire me to travel, like @Lax2Nrt or even @Umetaturou who shares hilarious pictures of a Border Collie named Sora who can balance anything on his head. One of these days I’m going to fly to Japan and walk that dog!

7. Postagram: Remember when you used to send postcards to family and friends from around the world just to let them know you were thinking about them? Now you’re too busy to think, let alone search for just the right card to send. Not to mention all that time it takes to address and stamp it. With Postagram you can turn your cool photos into postcards by using pictures from your phone, Facebook or Twitter. Write a short message and Postagram will take care of the rest.

8. Yelp: Whenever I find myself at a layover hotel in a new city, the first thing I do is pull up Yelp just to see what’s nearby. I might use it to find a great place to eat, check out a tourist attraction, or locate a pharmacy within walking distance. Users post reviews and photos to help narrow down the search so you can determine whether or not it’s worth it to leave your hotel room.

9. HotelTonight: If you’re a commuter like me, this app will save your life one day. At noon each day HotelTonight offers great last minute deals on a couple of hotels near your current location. Get a $25 credit with your first booking, $25 for each friend who signs up, and $25 when a friend makes their first bookings. So … who wants to be friends?

10. GateGuru: Enter an airport code and up pops everything you could ever want to know about food, shopping, and any services offered, along with reviews, ratings and maps. Enter your flight number and access flight status, delays and weather conditions all in the same place.

[Photo courtesy of PartyMonstrrr]

Galley Gossip: Interview With A Saudi Airline Flight Attendant

Where are you from, Ahmed? Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I’m Jeddah based.

What are the requirements to become a flight attendant for Saudi Airlines? High school minimum, English language (reading writing and spoken fluent), minimum age is 19, maximum age is 35, flight attendant diploma or courses has a priority.

How long was your flight attendant training? 3 months. But the new procedure is 6 months.

What’s the best thing about being a flight attendant for Saudi Airlines? Benefits. We receive 14 salary per year in addition housing and transportation allowances, many free tickets, 24 hour insurance for accidents, and social position.

What is the average time on the job as a flight attendant for Saudi Airlines? Retirement age 60 years or 40 years flying. Male flight attendants don’t have contracts. We are government employees. Female have an open contract. 25 years maximum.

Are female flight attendants recruited from other countries? Yes. We recruit from Morocco, Tunis , Egypt , Sudan , Ethiopia , Algiers , Albania , Bosnia , Turkey , Lebanon , Jordan , Syria, Pakistan , India , Philippines , Malaysia , Indonesia and Bangladesh. We don’t have any flight attendants from Saudi Arabia or The Gulf Countries.

How do you think being a flight attendant in the United States differs from being one in Saudi Arabia? Being a flight attendant in Saudi airlines is more secure then USA because we belong to the government and Ministry of Aviation and Defense. Nobody can fire you due to bankruptcy of the company. We receive a salary and benefits no matter what happens to the company.

Favorite airplane? If it’s not Boeing, I’m not going – hehehe

Longest flight? Washington and New York is our longest flight. 14 hours of flying.

Favorite route? Flights to the US so I can reach my required flying time in three flights only.

Least favorite route & why? London. Some of the passengers cannot ask for anything without mentioning their British passport.What are your top three favorite layover cities? Paris, Casablanca and New York.

How long are your layovers? Between 26 to 100 hours for some flights. Washington is either 52 or 100 hours. New York is either 35 or 60 hours. We used to stay in Manhattan but now we stay in Long Island City. We have a layover in Milan, Italy for 126 hours.

Where is your favorite place to work on the plane? Galley. To be away from the headaches of passengers.

If you could work for any airline in the world, which one would it be? I think I rather stay with my airline but Singapore, Emirates or Etihad is my second choice.

If you could be anywhere in the world, where would it be? USA Or Morocco

With your culture, how do you handle the treatment of female passengers? Like everybody else. No special treatment these days.

During the Ramadan, how do you deal with not eating and drinking during sunlight with a very tiring job like yours? It’s allowed in our religion (Islam) during Ramadan to eat and drink while traveling, but some of us prefer to be fasting.

Is it true that female cabin crew can’t serve men during their “time of the month?Nooo! Of course it’s just rumors without source.

Can you marry and/or have kids and keep working? Yes. With the new rules females can marry and have kids. They have maternity leave for maximum one year.

Is there a call to prayer in the air? No, but if someone asks we’ll let them know.

During prayer onboard the aircraft when passengers need to get up and face the east, how do you accommodate for that? All the new fleet (wide bodied) is equipped with a worship place in the aft of the aircraft (A330 , B777 , B747)

Do you have a union? Sky Team Alliance.

Do you have to share hotel rooms with other flight attendants? Yes, but only on domestic layovers. We get our own rooms when we work international flights.

What is the strangest customer request & how did you handle it? For me the strangest request came from a teenage girl. She wanted to kiss me. I had to take her number just to escape from her because she insisted on kissing me in flight. One of my friends had a passenger ask him if he could try and open the door during flight just to see how a decompression will occur.

What will you do once your flying career is over? Move to Morocco, my wife’s country. I might sign a contract with any aviation agents flying on small planes and exercising aviation sports like sky diving and paragliding. I live for flying.

[Photo Credit: Ahmed Mousa]

Galley Gossip: How Being Married To A Flight Attendant Is Great Training For The Job

Hi Heather, My wife is a flight attendant and for some time now I’ve been looking to make a career change and was thinking of becoming a flight attendant myself. I can see how she enjoys it and has fun with it and I’d like to try it, too. Do you think it would be a good or bad thing to bring up in an interview situation that I am married to a flight attendant or does it matter at all? Obviously being married to one gives me a greater insight and depth of understanding of the job and what it involves compared to many other candidates. I have a degree in Microbiology so I have somewhat of a brain, although my wife might debate that with you. I also co-managed a bar in Ireland before I came to the United States so I know what it’s like to have to deal with difficult and intoxicated customers. I also was an airport screener for a while and I’m a state certified emergency responder. I’d like to think these things would make me a strong candidate. Just curious what you think. Thanks for your time, Brian.

Based on your work experience alone, you sound like the perfect candidate to me! You’re comfortable cutting people off handling intoxicated passengers, you’re familiar with the responsibilities that go along with working at an airport, and you have a pretty good idea of what life is like in the sky. Being a certified emergency trainer will only make you more attractive to the airlines. Your wife, I’m sure, has mentioned that no one ever dies in flight, right? At least not until a doctor can make an official pronouncement. This might be why so many flight attendants have nursing backgrounds. Some are even senior enough to hold a flying schedule that allows them to balance a nursing career at the same time. These are always my favorite flight attendants to work with because when there’s an emergency in flight, they tend to take over. That being said, I truly believe it’s your wife that makes you a standout.

You've Got Heather Poole

You of all people should know that it takes a special person to be involved with a flight attendant. As you’ve mentioned, you already understand our crazy schedules and what the job entails. Most people don’t realize that being a flight attendant isn’t just a job, it’s a lifestyle, and it affects everything we do – or don’t do, because we can’t get the days off to do it. This explains why so many new flight attendants either quit a few weeks after successfully completing the training program or last a lifetime. It’s that extreme. Many people can’t deal with our long absences, missing holidays, not being able to make long-term plans, and our ever-changing schedules. Just last week I was reassigned not once, but twice before 10 a.m. on day two of a three-day trip, and then on day three, my three-day trip turned into a four-day trip. If there’s one thing that flight attendants have in common it’s that we always have back up plans A, B and C, because when it comes to working in the aviation industry something is bound to go wrong. It’s why being flexible in terms of scheduling is so important. This is exactly what makes you special. You understand all of this already. I say if you’ve got it, flaunt it! Good luck.

[Photo courtesy of Christopher Bailey]

Galley Gossip: How To Answer Difficult Flight Attendant Interview Questions

I’m scheduled for a flight attendant interview on Tuesday! I’ve been through the process once before so I am familiar with the questions they may ask, but I’m just not confident in my answers sometimes. The hardest part is answering behavioral or situational questions. When they ask, “Name a time when…” I find it really hard to recall examples from my past work experience. I have trouble with these questions and I’m not sure what a good answer may be. I hope you can help. Here are a few examples.

1. How do you handle stress?
2. Name a time when you were under a lot of stress and how did you deal with it?
3. Describe a situation when you had to make a quick decision?

Krista

You’ve been through the interview process once before, so you already know what to expect. That’s half the battle. Try to relax and don’t forget to smile. Being able to keep your cool during a stressful situation is a big part of the job. The fact that the airline called you for a one-on-one interview says a lot about you. Thousands of people apply for the job, but very few applicants hear back from the airline. Remember that next time you’re not feeling overly confident. And try to have some fun.

When it comes to answering interview questions, the most important thing to do is let the airline know you’re a customer service oriented person – as often as possible. Talk about how you go above and beyond the call of duty to help people. Airlines are looking for flight attendants who are friendly, work well with others and take pride in their job. Try not to read too much into the questions. There’s no such thing as a right answer. You don’t have to share life-altering events for an airline to realize you’d make a great fit. Think in terms of the job. Keep it simple.

I can’t answer the questions for you, but I can give you a few things to think about when it comes to stress and making quick decisions.


1. How do you handle stress? Look how you’re handling it right now – perfectly. You’re doing everything possible to prepare for the interview. When you come prepared for something, you’re less stressed, and when you’re less stressed, you’re able to focus on the task at hand and do a better job. This is why the airlines spend weeks, even months, training flight attendants. When something goes wrong, we don’t think about it, we go right into action. How else do you think we’re able to evacuate hundreds of passengers during an emergency in just a few seconds?

2. Name a time when you were under a lot of stress and how did you deal with it? Running late, for me, is the worst stressor of all. When one thing goes wrong, it seems like everything goes wrong. This is why I give myself plenty of time to get to the airport. And why I set not one, but three alarms to wake me up when I have an early sign-in. Of course, it wasn’t until I found myself sprinting through the Tampa airport practically buttoning my blouse as I ran because my alarm didn’t go off to learn this lesson. Learn from your – er, my – mistakes. And pack the night before.

3. Describe a situation when you had to make a quick decision. Recently a passenger walked on board with his fly down. I could have ignored it, but I decided to tell him. I know I’d want to know! But I whispered it in his ear instead of saying it out loud for all the other passengers to hear. He blushed, turned around, and zipped up real quick. He also thanked me several times. Your quick decision doesn’t have to be a life changing event. Really you just want to show you’re a helpful person. When someone falls down, do you help them up or do you keep on going? It’s what the airline wants to know about you.

Hope that helps.

You might also want to check out this “Galley Gossip” post: “How To Prepare For A Flight Attendant Interview.”

[Photo courtesy of Kudumomo]

Galley Gossip: How Do New Flight Attendants On Probation Commute To Work? (And Who Pays For It?)

I would love to become a flight attendant. I live close to Fort Lauderdale airport, only about 30 miles from Miami International Airport and 80 miles from West Palm Beach Airport. I also have two teenagers (13 and 16) so that’s where my question begins. If I live in Florida but my base is in New York, will I have to agree to relocate? How does that work if I live in Florida and have kids and a husband? Would the airline pay me to fly out to my base station every time I need to report to work or do I have to pay for that? Or would I just have to move there? This is what I don’t really understand. – Gladys

On the flight attendant job application you’ll probably find the question, “Are you willing to relocate?” Check the box “no” instead of “yes” and it’s safe to assume you probably won’t get called in for an interview. It’s common knowledge that flight attendants must be willing to cut their hair and go anywhere.

After you’ve successfully completed training, you’ll probably be put on probation. At my airline, probation lasts six months and new hires on probation do not receive travel benefits during this time. New flight attendants who choose to live in another city are on their own when it comes to covering the expense of getting to and from work during the first six months. Once off probation, commuters at my airline fly for free by standing by for an open seat. This is called non-reving because you are now a non-revenue passenger. Keep in mind there are very few open seats available on flights today, especially around holidays, during weekends and all through the summer. I’ve actually seen flight attendants come to blows over the jump seat on the last flight out. Which is why you’re lucky you live so close to three airports. You have options when flights are full or when delays and cancellations affect air travel.Something else to keep in mind is that new hires start out on reserve. What this means is you’ll be on call on the days you’re not scheduled to work. Once the company contacts you to cover a trip, you’ll have two hours to get to the airport. If you live in Florida and get based in New York (and you don’t want to move), you’re going to need to find a crash pad for the days you’re on reserve. A crash pad is literally a place to crash in between trips. These are usually apartments shared by many flight attendants who also commute to work. Bunk beds are used to cram as many people as possible into a single room in an effort to keep the cost down. They average between $100-$350 a month. The airline doesn’t cover the expense, as it’s your choice to commute. Keep in mind that some airlines require flight attendants to serve reserve only a few days each month, while others schedule flight attendants to be on reserve the entire month – until they’re senior enough to hold off. This is called straight reserve. There’s a reason why the words “line” and “life” are so similar. When you can hold a line (a month of scheduled trips), you have a life. It’s also why “seniority” is so important in the aviation industry, and why it’s in your best interest to accept the first training class offered.

You might also want to read:

Galley Gossip: Can A Mother Of Two Young Kids Become A Flight Attendant?”

“Galley Gossip: How To Prepare For A Flight Attendant Interview

Galley Gossip: How Do Flight Attendants Survive On Such A Low Salary?

Galley Gossip: Queuing Up On Reserve