Year Three. Month Three. #YVR. 

This is home. <3 #PNW

The gravel crunches underneath my tires as I make my way up a winding driveway on the southern end of Whidbey Island, Washington. The tall evergreen trees play tricks with the sunlight, producing mischievous shadows along the way. I roll down the window and inhale the warm, sticky scent of freshly mowed grass. This is everyday life on Whidbey Island.

I arrive at the house at the top of the hill and an old Labrador Retriever greets me. It is Gracie, one of seven animals on the property. I pet Gracie for a moment, then I get down to business. Time to straighten my uniform, put on my wings and unload my crew bags from the car.

My work day starts now.

I can't tell you how many times I've done my makeup in the car mirror at 5AM.

This is everyday life as a commuting crewmember. I am lucky enough to work for a regional airline, with a small base and close-knit crews. I am senior enough, already, after only two years, to be able to pick my schedule. I bid to work with my close friends, a couple who work side-by-side in the flight deck.

My pilot friends also happen to be my neighbors on Whidbey Island. Today is the beginning of a four-day trip and we are carpooling together. The couple sits up front (he, the Captain, on the left and she, the First Officer, on the right). I sit in the back of their car and look over our trip sheet and flight release. We catch up on life, on gossip and talk about plans for our layover. We stop for gas and coffee on our two hour drive to the airport. We take a ferry. We get stuck in traffic. We merge into the carpool lane, finally arriving at the airport with a few minutes to spare.

Just waiting for the fabulous ground crew to bring this lil' gal in.

At the airport I check in and suddenly it's go time. The aircraft that we are taking today is arriving into base late. Once the aircraft is at the gate and deplaned, we will have about twelve minutes to get onboard, check our equipment, set up the galley, tidy up the cabin, board all sixty-five passengers onto the aircraft, do all of our safety announcements and close the door for us to be considered "on time."


I rush onboard and almost trip in the tiny galley of our wonderful Canadair Regional Jet 700. There are crates of supplies all over the floor and a catering worker is scratching his head. I squat down to where he is leaning inside the aircraft through the galley service door.

"It's my first day..." he explains, trailing off. I sigh internally, glance at my watch (eleven minutes to go), kick off my heels and grab my service shoes.

"Okay, I am going to help you, but I might get bossy. Let's do this."

Twelve minutes to preflight, do catering, clean the cabin, board and shut the door? No problem.

The catering guy nods and we are off. I am shouting instructions to him through the tiny galley service door. He is running back and forth to his truck; I am checking my safety equipment, testing the PA system, turning lights on (nine minutes left), making coffee, throwing catering supplies into the closet, organizing the beer and wine, taking out the trash, greeting passengers (seven minutes to go and sixty-five passengers to board; this is impossible), tagging oversized luggage, directing passengers to their seats, smiling (three minutes and counting), throwing an extra box of unneeded trash bags out the galley service door to the catering guy, cooing at a cute baby, shouting at the potable water guy out the galley service door ("WE NEED WATER FOR THE AFT SYSTEM!"), confirming the passenger count with the customer service agent (sixty seconds), making the pre-taxi announcement, grabbing the Cargo Load Report from the ramp agent, making sure the main cabin door pins are in place, shouting at the catering guy to close the galley service door, getting confirmation from the pilots that we are "good to close" (twenty seconds), pressing the slow-as-molasses button that raises the main cabin door (ten seconds) and closing, locking, checking the indicators and...


We are in business. We are on the clock. We are on time.

Tea and scone time. Flight attendants + gate agents = BFFs (sometimes) <3

I exhale, check my reflection in the tiny hidden mirror in the flight attendant station, fluff back my hair, wipe my sweaty forehead and turn towards the passengers. I smile.

"Welcome aboard."

This is everyday life for a regional flight attendant. This is the thrill of the never-ending adventure of puddle jumping. This is six legs a day. This is twenty-five minute (or less) turns in out stations. This is cleaning your own cabin, doing your own inventory, dealing with every possible issue yourself, problem solving, innovating, finding ways to get it done. There's no purser. There's no manager present. It's just you and the pilots (and if you're lucky, one other flight attendant) and fifty or more passengers.

And sometimes, big things happen.

That one time where a tornado happened and we had to evacuate the aircraft.

Tornado landing on the tarmac right behind the aircraft in Sioux Falls? Check. Diverting to a tiny town in Southeast Alaska? Done. Medical emergency inflight with no doctors present? Yep, that happened. Possible fire in the cargo hold upon descent? I've dealt with it. Lightning strikes? Mmmhm. High engine oil temperature, almost losing an engine, getting stranded in Calgary with no toothbrush, hairbrush or change of clothes? Been there, done that.

And then there's the little everyday things.

The one and only bathroom on a CRJ 200 is stuck... shut. The door will not open. A passenger is holding his bottom and yelling that he HAS TO GO. Sitting in the aisle with a pen and a wine key, trying to undo the screws to take the door of of it's hinges. Getting the door open and having to hold it in place while your passengers relieves himself. Wondering what in the world you've gotten yourself into.

Mechanical stuff, timing out and being stuck in Calgary with your BFFs.

Landing into an out station with no water. Leaving an out station with no ice. Getting stranded in Edmonton because a water truck runs into your aircraft, breaking it. Rearranging every passenger on the plane because of all the strange seating arrangement rules on a tiny jet. (no babies on aircraft left, no car seats in, before or after the exit row, no oxygen bottles in the bulkhead seats, immobile passengers in window seats only, "second seaters," no seat belt extenders in the exit row, no animals in the exit row, prosthetic limbs are okay in the exit row but cannot be detached from the person. Yeah. The list goes on and on.)

Passengers getting on the wrong plane. Crews getting on the wrong plane. Confusion. Constant chaos.

This is my regional flight attendant life. <3

Every. Single. Day.

And you know what? I love it.

I love every single day of this mess. It's been such a wild ride.

It's been two years, two months, nine days and six hours of my regional flight attendant life.

I've made the best friends. I've had the craziest adventures. I've laughed and cried more than I would have thought possible.

Best friend flight attendants 4evah. #BFFAs

But with all good things, there is an end. I am moving onwards. Upwards.

I am going to mainline.

Bigger planes, bigger bases, bigger crews, bigger layovers.

But I don't think I'll ever have bigger adventures than this, my everyday regional life.

Goodbye, regional life. I'm moving on up to the Big Eskimo!

Happy (everyday) flying!


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