It was Monday morning and we (my mother, my husband, my son, and I) were in the rental car, a bright red Malibu, on our way from a relaxing long weekend in Ko Olina to the Honolulu airport, when I heard a long sigh from the back seat.
“I don’t want to leave,” said my mother, also a flight attendant, as she stared out the window at a city she once called home forty years ago. Believe it or not, this was her first trip back.
“Me, neither,” I said, as the exit sign to Pearl Harbor, where my father had once worked, passed over our heads.
The husband, who was actually ready to leave, just shook his head. “Yeah, well, some of us have to go back to work.”
Thank goodness I’m not one of us, I remember thinking, as the airport came into view. Way off in the distance, Diamond Head. That’s when I heard my mother say, “You know I dropped my next trip, that Phoenix trip.”
“Me, too! I dropped my horrid twenty-hour, three-day.”
That’s just one of the amazing things about my job, flexibility. We can pretty much work whenever we want, as long as there’s a trip available to pick up, or someone willing to take our trip, which is usually not a problem when based in New York, the most junior base in the system.
I turned all the way around in my seat and looked at the woman who had a twinkle in her eye. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
My mother smiled real big and shrugged. “Maybe.”
The husband just shook his head again. “You ladies better make up your mind! We’re almost there.”
As my mother flipped open her cell phone and started dialing the airline to check the passenger loads home on Wednesday, I dialed the Marriott hotel in Waikiki to see if they offered a crew discount.
Yet another amazing thing about the job. We actually get cheap rates at many hotels, as well as discounts on car rentals.
“The flight home is open,” my mother said, snapping her phone shut.
I spun around in my seat. “And they’ve got a room available….and it’s an ocean view! If we split it-“
“Book it! Just book it! What with the economy the way it is, who knows if we’ll ever get back!”
Nervously I glanced at the husband. “You don’t mind, do you?”
Pointing the car in the direction of the airport exit, he said, “Have fun.”
And like that we booked the room, a room with a fantastic ocean view, a comfy room in a nice hotel in Hawaii located directly across the street from the famous Waikiki beach. We (my mother, my son, and I) had a fantastic time doing…not much, other than walking around, sitting on the beach, and eating a lot of sushi. Which brings me to the point of this post. There is one, I promise.
The second best thing about being a flight attendant, besides travel, is…well…I can’t decide! Seriously, there are way too many wonderful things to choose from – days off, flexibility, hotel discounts, the ability to change travel plans at the last minute, etc. And so I ask you, fellow flight attendants, besides travel, what do you love most about being a flight attendant?