Sometimes the fact that I don’t live at my base (Denver) can get annoying. Instead of driving to work, like most people. My commute is a 50-minute drive to downtown Salt Lake City, then I have to wait for a shuttle (up to 30 minutes) to take me to the airport. Next, I make my way to the plane but mind you- if it’s a full flight I need to get there early because our non-revenue flying is on a first come/ first serve basis. If I know it’s going to be a full flight, I try to get to the gate at least two hours before the flight. Add to that an hour-and-fifteen-minute flight and that’s a commute that can often take me three and a half hours or more!
The only saving grace is the fact that I don’t have to make the commute every day. I usually work at least two trips in a row, so that leaves me away from home a minimum of six days (this is my own choice- a normal shift would be three days on and four days off). This is the reason I don’t own any animals or even plants. If I have to feed or water something to keep it alive, it’s probably going to die. I’m totally a dog lover, so this is a horrible fact of my life right now.
The good news, however, is that our union protects my commutes. If I get to the airport and find out there there’s no room on my flight, and no other flights to get me to Denver, I just have to call crew scheduling and tell them the situation. I may miss out on some of my trip pay, but at least I don’t have any attendance points against me.
There are two ways to look at a commute like this:
- It SUCKS that I don’t live at my base!
- I’m so thankful that I work for a company that allows me to commute from anywhere in the world, as long as I’m willing to make that commute.
I try to focus on the latter.
So- why on earth do I live in Utah? Among the reasons if the fact that this is where my parents live. I was living in Kentucky for five years and when they opened up our Denver base, I decided that it was time to go live closer to the folks’ (close enough that I don’t have to board a plane to go visit them, but far enough that they won’t come over unannounced. I need to make sure my living room is clean, don’t forget). I figure that an hour-and-a-half warning should be plenty of time to clean up any house, right?
I’ve been traveling for about a week and a half, and I’m ready to get home and sleep in my own bed tonight. At the moment, I’m sitting on the floor at Denver International Airport. This is because I’m using the wall socket to charge my various devices and there’s no chair nearby. My plane should be here soon.
It was crew scheduling again. Even though I was literally in the hallway, walking toward the elevator, they told me that there had been another change in my assignment. Instead of working in Las Vegas and then to Indianapolis, they told me I was now going to work to Denver, then on to Indianapolis. Now I didn’t have to be at the airport for another 3 hours or so- that I would be filling in for a flight attendant who had to call in sick when they were already working a trip.
Before my flight pushed back, I checked the temperature outside. -2°. I love the cold, even when it’s THIS hard- it’s magical. En route to Denver, I took a picture of the fields below. Not a bad view from the office!
By the time I landed in Denver, there was yet another message to call my scheduling department. No longer am I needed to go to Indianapolis. Instead, I’m off to Minneapolis. I do understand that flight attendants get sick. I also understand that there will be weather and mechanical delays and cancellations in this industry. Still, I am starting to feel like the flight attendant whipping boy.
After three hours of “airport appreciation” in Denver, I worked one more leg to MSP in Minnesota. I worried that there would be another message letting me know about yet another assignment change. Luckily, there was no such message. I was free to head to the hotel.
After changing out of my uniform, I walked over to The Mall of America for a few minutes. Even though it’s very close to the hotel, it was a strenuous walk. It was only 5° out, and so I felt an instant and constant ice cream headache. I don’t think the north pole would feel much different.
Even though I only worked two legs, I am exhausted. I can’t wait to climb into bed and nod off. Even though I wondered where I’d end up, it was still a good day. I was blessed to meet so many new coworkers and report that all the passengers were great.
It doesn’t even look like California at the moment. When my first flight landed, I had a message to call crew scheduling. I did so, and the scheduler on the other end of the line told me that I had been rerouted. I was initially supposed to work two legs, but now that has become three. The way things are looking, I’m not even sure where I’m going to end up tonight (or when my workday will be finished, at that).
I’ve decided to look at this job as an adventure since I get to travel to so many destinations, and you never know what will happen in a day. I’ll try to remain optimistic. The good news is that now my trip pays more than it did when I left my base this morning. I can’t wait to see what happens.