1. Complain about being on reserve to any flight attendant who will listen. There’s nothing worse for a flight attendant than being on reserve. Don’t believe me? Ask a flight attendant on reserve. Go ahead, ask, I dare you. Just don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.
2. Sit in PJ’s half the day waiting for crew schedule to call. Some days it’s half a day and other days it’s all day. When my number is low, meaning there’s a good chance crew schedule is going to call me out to cover a trip, I’ve been known to change out of my PJ’s and into a fresh pair of PJ’s at the end of the day.
3. Calls in sick. While I don’t call in sick on reserve, however tempting it may be (I’m too scared), I can’t say the same for most other flight attendants. A few flight attendants I know actually save medical and dental procedures during reserve months.
4. Sock and underwear drawer get a complete makeover. This month I actually did clean out my sock and underwear drawer, as well as the closet. I found clothing I never even knew I had, clothing I wondered why, exactly, I had, like an animal print sundress I bought on the streets of Costa Rica nine years ago. And to think I actually wore it.
5. Work trips I would never fly in a million years. Flight attendants have a tendency to work the same trips over and over. That’s what seniority is all about. You better believe I like working in coach from New York to whichever west coast city layover I can hold on the 767. But on reserve you’ll most likely find me on the Super80 working a turn in first from New York – Chicago. Nothing against Chicago, but an eight hour day ain’t worth five hours pay.
6. Spend time explaining to everyone that I’m not off, that I really am working, I’m just on call. Which is why I’m still in my PJ’s and not leaving the house. Just because I’m not actually on the airplane doesn’t mean I can have a life.
7. Watch the Weather Channel. When there’s bad weather, crews go illegal, and when crews go illegal, reserve flight attendants get called out to cover their trips. I watch the Weather Channel in order to figure out what crew schedule is going to do, so I know whether or not I’ll get a good night sleep and whether or not I dare get dressed and leave the apartment in the morning.
8. Sit on the sofa with the laptop and drinking coffee while bouncing between Gadling, Facebook and the flight service website to check open time and relative position for hours on end. What else am I going to do? I’m stuck.
9. Gets a trip and then goes into flight operations and asks every flight attendant how many hours they have on reserve. The last time I checked Grace had 40 hours. My mom had 42. Flo had 45. I had 47. I won – er, lost!
10. Look forward to days off. Thank goodness they’re finally here and reserve is officially over! It’s back to the 767 for me.
Photos courtesy of (pj’s) Jamelch, (weather channel) Dave Malkoff – flickr.com