Can a mother of two young kids become a flight attendant?

My name is Stephanie and I am thinking of becoming a flight attendant. My only concern is my two boys ages 5 and almost 2. How can I have time to be a mom and work? I love to travel and I hear benefits are good. Can I work flights after bedtime? But when will I come back?

The most difficult thing for a flight attendant, Stephanie, is being flexible in terms of scheduling. Making long term plans is next to impossible when you never know what you’ll be working month to month – or even day to day if you’re on reserve! Even if you are able to hold a schedule, that schedule can always change at the last minute and the only thing you can do about it is continue on with the trip or quit! Keep in mind if you do quit mid-sequence, you’ll have to figure out how to get home as you’ll no longer have travel benefits.

Two years ago I had a trip that was scheduled to land on Christmas Eve. With thirteen years as a flight attendant, I was finally able to hold Christmas off! I couldn’t believe my luck. But on Christmas Eve the final leg of our trip canceled. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, the entire crew got reassigned, which meant none of us would make it back in time to celebrate the holiday! I wound up in Toronto at an airport hotel when I should have been at home with my family eating turkey and dressing like everyone else.

Unless you have an amazing support system twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for the kids, this may not be the job for you – at least not right now! It’s why so many flight attendants start working at an early age or later on in life after the kids are grown. Trust me it ain’t easy juggling the job with family, especially when you’re brand spankin new with little to no seniority.

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2 responses to “Can a mother of two young kids become a flight attendant?

  1. I can confirm everything Heather said.

    You would need LOTS of family/friend support. Do you live near family members who can babysit? Pick your little guys up from school? Take them to their activities? Changing the little one’s diapers? Does your husband have very predictable hours and is capable of feeding them and putting them to bed? You need plan A, B & C…

    The same thing happened to me on Xmas eve once too! I didn’t have kids yet and in opposition to Heather, I avoided my lack of seniority by scheduling a San Francisco on Xmas Eve. The flight cancelled and we were reassigned. I had a suitcase stuffed with presents…

    One issue that will pop up and hasn’t yet but your wonderful travel benefits are STANDBY, which means, if there is no place on the plane, you don’t go. Your sons are young and unless you homeschool (which I do not recommend if you fly), you’ll be consigned to school vacations, which are the hardest times to get on board. I was single when I visited most of the 50 countries I’ve seen. We ended up buying “real” tickets at the normal prices for visiting family even when I was still with the airlines, because we simply wouldn’t have been able to get on as a family together during vacation times.

    One last issue, which I hate to mention, but if you’re planning any more children (a girl??), this isn’t the ideal job. I had real problems getting pregnant with my second. I stopped flying a few years later and had a little (good) surprise at age 39, thinking “How did I do this…???” when a few years earlier, it was tough going when we were actively trying. Many of my coworkers had fertility issues, some of which might be simply because we’re not home when the stork plans on visiting. Who knows. But I thought I’d mention that one, just in case that was a consideration.

    A few years from now, they will be bigger, not need diapers and perhaps easier to coordinate with relatives and friends while you’re away.

    I’m not saying it’s impossible but you need to be realistic!

  2. Emily

    Heather,
    I love reading your blog!
    I just wanted to say that I’m a new flight attendant working for a fairly large company in Canada and right when I started, I started being able to hold China flying because of my language. I even got Christmas off this year and I only started 6 months ago! I think it’s very important for people to know that your language does make a huge difference in where you fly and how much money you make (from the expenses). It’s also easier for someone to be able to do school, or have a family and fly. No matter if you’re new or not!

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