are a strange breed; and most flight attendants will tell you that we are actually our own subspecies. In fact, I have overheard several flight crew members refer to us as “air royalty.” We live in the air, typically flying some 150,000 or more miles annually. We travel on airplanes at least once a week and sometimes follow two week long itineraries. Our flights can be as short as a half hour commuter hop or as long as a transpacific expedition to the Land Down Under. We can tell you all of the international routes departing from San Francisco by air carrier and our photographic memories can give you the cabin layout of any aircraft in the sky today, or in the past two decades!
To survive one or two major airline trips a week you have to be a true gypsy. I know that I begin to suffer wanderlust about two weeks after my last air trip. It is in our blood, and we cannot help ourselves. We are from the same gene pool that gave rise to history’s great explorers. In another time, we would have endured the six month ocean voyage to uncharted lands. We would have gladly made a three month long trip to get to the Holy Land. We not only live to experience the unknown, we also live for the journey itself. In short, I am convinced that we are the last of the true romantics!
Most who are not part of this fraternity of airborne wanderers will tell you that air travel is glamorous. Jetting off to new and exciting destinations, waking up in different world capitals, seeing all of those exotic cultures; it must be simply sensational. Reality is that the magic can wear off pretty quickly!
If you have ever woken up in a stale 747 cabin, as you creep into the thirteenth hour of the flight, you know precisely what I mean. If at one time or another you have slept in every gate area at O’Hare, you share my pain. If you have ever had the entire crew on a flight greet you by first name, and then ask you if they ever found your missing suit case from two years ago; we have suffered together. If you consider small packages of mustard coated pretzels to be a basic food group, hello my brother in arms! Those of us about to fly salute you!
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