Today we chat with Carly, a friend of mine I met while living in Sweden. While I always think of Canadians and Americans as quite different people (that’s a compliment, Canada ;)) when in Europe, we were the “North Americans,” which I have to say had a fun ring to it. While some of us have jobs that are quite routine, Carly’s work as a flight attendant takes her all around the world. She shares with me a bit more about the job- it’s ups and downs, and shares tips for jetlag and cleanliness on board (wear your damn shoes to the bathroom!) She also catches us up on her personal life, including the benefits of dating someone from a different country and what music she is listening to. Enjoy!
So you're a flight attendant now! How long has it been since you started?
I am! It will be one year in May.
Overall- have you been enjoying it?
I answer this question differently every single day. For the most part, I really enjoy it. It's a unique job. I have a flexible schedule, great benefits and every day is brand new. I have been passionate about travelling for years, it's amazing to incorporate it into my day to day life. However, my job isn't just pouring coffee and tea at 37,000ft. I am constantly changing time zones, enduring sleepless night, working long hours and dealing with tough situations. When I'm in the sky I take on so many different roles - waitress, babysitter, doctor, therapist, magician...the list goes on. There are some days where it can be tough, but most days its easy to come to work excited and ready for the flight!
I heard the training to be a flight attendant is crazy intense. Is this accurate? What was the experience like for you?
It is VERY intense. Just like the airline industry, training is not a 9-5 job either. I found the material we learned in training really interesting. I have been a frequent flyer for as long as I can remember, so FA training for me was like finally learning the secrets I had wondered about my whole life. The training was tough, but it felt amazing to get through and know I did it.
So explain to me what a week in the life of a flight attendant is like? A month?
No day, week, or month is ever the same! Thats one of the most exciting parts of the job. Every day, everything is new. In the winter time we do a lot more turn arounds. We fly passengers to a destination, pick up new passengers and fly right back home. Those can be long days. In the summer we do a lot more over seas flights, so then we will layover in those destinations usually for 24-72 hours! The summer is a great time for travelling and getting to explore new places with this job.
Seems like you've been all over the world since starting your new job. What has been your favorite layover location?
So far, Lisbon and Havana for sure.
What has been the biggest challenge?
This lifestyle can pose a lot of challenges but the thing I struggle with every day is - getting my compression tights on haha.
Window seat or aisle?
For the sake of comfort, the window is always better. HOWEVER, as a flight attendant I know to drink tons of water on a long haul flight...so for access to the washroom my answer is aisle.
What is your best advice for jetlag?
Everyone has their own jet lag routine, but I've found some little tricks that help me. If I'm traveling as a passenger on a red eye flight I don't watch movies, I try to sleep the whole time. I bring cozy socks, a sleep mask, neck pillow and a scarf or blanket. I used to never be able to sleep on planes, now I can sleep like a baby...maybe its an acquired skill haha. If it’s morning in the new city when we land, I will stay awake and try to force myself to adjust. Washing my face, freshening up and having a coffee help with this. If I need a little reboot later in the day I will do a small workout and drink LOTS of water! If I'm operating an overseas red eye, obviously I don't sleep onboard. I have a nap before going to the airport and then I let myself sleep for about 2 hours once I land in the new city. I like to get out and explore after my nap, it helps keep me awake and helps me feel tired by night time. I also sleep with a sleep mask on so the morning sun doesn’t wake me up.
Advice for someone who is considering becoming a flight attendant?
Learn another language! Most airlines require it now, and it’s a helpful skill to have while travelling too.
Random question- what is your opinion on passengers doing face masks on long haul flights? Do we hate it? Are we ambivalent? Do we not care? Seems like every influencer and their supportive boyfriend are doing it. I'm frankly a bit on the fence about it.
I'm all for it! The cabin air is super dry. Bring on any extra moisture haha. Doesn't mean I won't give you a strange look if you catch me off guard while wearing one of these...but I think its totally A-Ok! To be honest, I have a much stronger opinion about when passengers don’t wear shoes into the washroom! PLEASE wear your shoes to the lav.
I need recommendations- what kind of music are you listening to while in transit these days?
I like to listen to chill music while on commute to and from flights. Father John Misty is one of my favourites. I also like Fleet Foxes, Lord Huron, Bon Iver, Mt. Joy, and Sufjan Stevens. Songs I have had on repeat this week are, Lilo by The Japanese House, and Shrike by Hozier. If you have suggestions please send them my way too!!
Time for the get personal speed round! - So you're in a long distance relationship right? How is it going?
My boyfriend is Swedish, we met in 2017 while I was in Sweden (with you!) We have been doing long distance ever since. Next week he is coming to Canada for a year, so I am happy to report that we will be a 'normal' couple for a while. Despite the obvious challenge we've faced, its been going really well. Definitely not the easiest type of relationship, but its worth it for the right person. We have made a point of never going more than 3 months without seeing each other. We were together before I had this job, but being a flight attendant makes seeing him much easier. He's been great at making time to come visit me too!
I feel like I know a bunch of people right now dating people from different countries. What do you like best about dating in another culture?
Right?! I thought I was in a unique situation but it seems lots of couples are long distance. I love that him and I were raised in different countries. It makes for endless amounts of conversation and learning moments about one another’s home country.
Speaking of dating- is it true that all pilots are super slutty?
Hahahah stop!! My dads a pilot. Next question 🤪
Okay last question- when can we have a reunion?
ASAP please, one of my next destinations should absolutely be NYC!