Everything You Need To Travel in 2021: A Flight Attendant’s Guide to Gift Giving!
Whether you’re shopping for someone who works in the airline industry or simply someone in your life who loves to travel, look no further! We are flight attendants so we travel for business and pleasure and we’ve got all of your travel needs covered in our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide! We may not have been able to travel much this year, but we are looking ahead to a year full of travel in 2021. Here’s everything you’ll want to get for a loved one – or for yourself!
Did we leave anything off the list? Tell us what’s on your wish list in the comments!
1. Hot Logic Mini
Never go without a hot meal again! This is great for in your car, in the airport, or in your hotel room!
Did we leave anything off the list? Tell us what’s on your wish list in the comments!
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While this year has been difficult for all of us, many flight attendants have lost their jobs due to the impact that COVID19 has had on the airline industry. Many grounded crew members have taken this extra time to use their talents and create or grow their own businesses! As we approach the holiday season, let’s do what we can to support small businesses, especially ones owned by our fellow flight attendants around the world. We’ve compiled some of our favorites below, but feel free to tell us about your own flight attendant-owned businesses in the comments!
A special thank you to all of the businesses that took the time to comment on our post on social media asking about flight attendant-owned businesses back in September. We love seeing how creative our fellow flight attendants are – both on and off the plane! If you’re a flight attendant that owns your own business and we didn’t mention it here, tell us all about it in the comments below!
I was recently interviewed by someone who asked, “Why are so many male flight attendants gay?” While I understand the significance of stereotypes, they’re often more harmful than they are helpful, so I felt that the question warranted a thoughtful response. The short answer is, being a flight attendant is the best job out there and gay men are obviously the most intelligent people on the planet. I’m mostly kidding, but all jokes aside, the job lends to a lifestyle that is both fun and glamorous. (Most days, anyway!) Flight attendants get to travel all over the world and get paid for it, jet off to different countries at the drop of a hat, and avoid those awkward holiday dinner conversations with family by blaming our absence on work. What’s not to love?
For gay men, being a flight attendant is all about identity – or rather, anonymity in this case. Imagine a flight that you’ve been on. Do you remember your flight attendant’s name? Rarely. Do you know anything about this person other than they seem to have fun at work? Nope. But you will always remember how your flight attendant made you feel. As crew members, we loveputting on a show for the public, entertaining our guests, and then going on with our lives at the end of the day. We love to perform, and the airplane provides a perfect stage to express ourselves. We can transform into a character we might not otherwise get to play and sometimes our uniform even becomes a costume that can make us feel safe and protected. We are allowed to be unapologetically true to who we are with no threat of pushback from potentially unaccepting friends or family. Everybody adores a fun-loving flight attendant because it makes traveling more fun. But while often times even the most conservative person loves a sassy gay flight attendant, it’s still not necessarily the person they want their child bringing home to dinner. In the aviation world we are accepted for whatever bold personality we want to adopt. On the airplane, we are free to be whoever we want to be.
The flight attendant lifestyle has remained so appealing for gay men over the years because like gay men, flight attendants come from all walks of life and face similar issues of self-identity. Through all of the diverse cultures we get to experience every day at work, we realize a new piece of ourselves in each one, learning more and more about who we want to become. Rather than learning new ways to hide from our truth, we uncover new aspects of ourselves that we never knew were there before. Individually we may be quite different from one another, but we all have so much in common at our core. There’s an unspoken bond and mutual respect among flight attendants much like members of the LGBTQ+ community. That respect translates well into the flight attendant life because crew members around the world are united by the wings that each of us wear proudly when we fly. We have experienced a lot of the same situations and understand each other as a result. Each trip we fly with new crew members and are required to communicate effectively with them without ever having met before. We have to be able to form strong connections with sheer strangers. This allows us to create a space where everyone feels free to open up… sometimes maybe even too much! At the end of the day, flight attendants around the globe look out for each other, just as members of the gay community often do, too.
With the flight attendant lifestyle, the possibilities are endless. The job is flexible, relatively low-stress, and allows us to see places and meet people that we would’ve otherwise never imagined possible. Being a flight attendant allows a level of freedom to be exactly who you want to be, which often times we don’t get the privilege of doing while growing up gay. Whether you fly with your best friends or perfect strangers, you can open up and embrace your truth. So when someone asks why gay men become flight attendants, it’s because you can be anybody you want to be, but most importantly, you can just be yourself.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
And now, some wisdom from Nicole Byer:
You’re right, Nicole. We are too much for this world. We belong in the sky!
Being a flight attendant is unlike any other job out there. It’s so unique, in fact, that years later even our own friends and family don’t fully understand what we do. As much as we love flying, though, 2020 has grounded many flight attendants… at least for now. It’s bittersweet but also a refreshing chance for some of us to try something new.
Now that thousands of flight attendants are without jobs, many of us are exploring the possibility of a new career path. To all of you job recruiters out there, we know you might think that we are just flight attendants, but I promise you that there is so much more than meets the eye. Before you pass up that flight attendant in your application pile, let me tell you that flight attendants are some of the most suitable candidates out there. We are ready for anything – and I mean anything.
Here’s why you should hire a flight attendant:
While flight attendants often joke about never really knowing what day it is, we are always successful when it comes to deadlines. In just 30 minutes, we have the ability to ensure that 200 people are seated, required safety briefings are complete, and all emergency and catering equipment has been checked. With changing time zones we still always arrive on time, complete our duties, and even make sure we buckle the pilots in and feed them their lunch.
Project Management Experience
I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to prepare dinner for 20 people in a kitchen the size of a broom closet, but we have! This is no easy feat, especially when faced with the occasional jolt of turbulence. Through proper organization and preparation, we always make sure dinner is hot and served in a timely fashion! Just don’t judge us too harshly on the quality of the food.
Works Well Under Pressure
Have you ever had someone come to you with a medical situation and immediately had to assume the roles of doctor, nurse, communicator, record keeper, and EMT? At 35,000 feet, there aren’t always a lot of options in emergency medical situations – and flight attendants are there to handle everything from heart attacks to childbirth.
Adaptable to Change
Whether it’s Federal Aviation Regulations or specific airline policies, the role of a flight attendant and the rules that we live by are ever-changing. When a new task is thrown at us, we’re ready for the responsibility. Plus, we’ll only complain about a little.
Excellent Leadership Skills
As flight attendants, we are natural born leaders who can take charge in any situation. If you put 8 flight attendants on a plane, every single one will show initiative. We’re such good leaders, in fact, that you may never know who is in charge on the crew – because sometimes, neither do they! All jokes aside, we all have an innate leadership ability but also know when to step aside and let others take the lead.
Now, we know you may still have some reservations. We’ve all seen the occasional flight attendant outburst stories on the news. Let’s discuss some things that may concern you. If you think we’re rude, we’re really just direct and making sure we deliver the company’s message with conviction. Think we just like to party? We know how to have fun so that we can maintain a healthy work-life balance. Think we’re unskilled workers? Many of us have advanced degrees, second careers, and still have time to take care of a growing family.
On any given day, flight attendants fulfill a multitude of roles both on and off the airplane. We are safety professionals, security guards, servers, teachers, counselors, communicators, tour guides, babysitters, and more! All jokes aside, we know how to lead, we know how to manage, and we will take care of anything that comes our way. Plus, we will even do it all with a sense of humor.
I put on some music, brewed myself a cup of coffee, and started a load of laundry. It was a typical morning off from my flight attendant life. All I wanted to do was relax and lounge around the house. As I ran downstairs to fold the laundry, my phone buzzed with a new e-mail. I knew today would be the day I got the news, but I was still hoping things would somehow be different. There it was: Furloughed. In just a matter of weeks, I would be unemployed. I sat down on the steps, home alone that day, and cried. I don’t know how long I sat on the stairs but in that moment, it felt like forever. The job that I had been doing for seven years was saying goodbye to me, at least temporarily. I knew it was coming and I know it won’t last forever, but when I saw it in writing, I was crushed.
When I first started flying, my life was a mess. My job was emotionally draining, I couldn’t afford to pay rent, I was on food stamps, and I was in a dead-end relationship. There was literally nowhere to go but up. One night, after a really big glass of wine (or two), I applied on a whim to become a flight attendant and just a few weeks later, I got the job. Becoming a flight attendant didn’t just change my life, it saved my life.
The flight attendant job is a dream. It’s fun. It’s flexible. We get to see the world and visit friends in faraway places whenever we like. For some flight attendants, this is the job they got after high school, or dropped out of college for. For others, this was only a steppingstone or a chance to see the world. Whatever the reason for becoming a flight attendant may be, the thought of now going back into the so-called “real world” seems daunting for many. As challenging as it can be to adjust to the flight attendant lifestyle, it’s even harder to imagine leaving it.
Recently, I was flying with one of my best friends. The Captain announced that we were starting our descent into Boston. Our crew had just one more flight to go and then we would be home after a very long trip. As the plane flew down through the clouds, it quickly became dark and our plane leveled out again. We were in a holding pattern as a storm rolled through Logan International Airport. The Captain made an announcement to the entire plane, “Well folks, air traffic is holding us here until the weather clears up in Boston. We’ll get you there… eventually.” We all cringed as we heard his words echo through the cabin. That’s the funny thing about being a flight attendant. We are well-prepared for anything to happen and yet we are still somehow surprised and even annoyed when it does. When you become a flight attendant or pilot, you tell the company you’re interviewing with that you’re flexible and adapt to change quickly. As the years go by, you deal with delays, diversions, and sometimes missing important life moments, all because of a flight gone wrong. That’s just the nature of the industry, but we still do it anyway because we love what we do.
At the end of that trip, we did make it home eventually. We may have diverted to another airport along the way, but ultimately, we made it to our destination safely. For those of you around the world hanging up your wings for a few months, a few years, or possibly even forever, look at this as just another diversion. Rather than let it bring you down, think of it as a chance for new opportunities. You’ll always be a flight attendant at heart, so do what any flight attendant does best: face the situation head on, follow your instincts, and dream big. We will be back in the skies before you know it, or something great could be waiting just around the corner.
Special thank you to Taylor Tippett for allowing us to use her photos. Now more than ever, we appreciate the words of wisdom and encouragement! Check out her Instagram accounts for more inspiration: @taylortippett@wordsfromthewindowseat