A Day in the Life of a Reserve Flight Attendant

04:30 – The dreaded 'reveille' ring tone I've set for the special people in my life, scheduling, rings. Too early to be thrilled, I answer the phone and am greeted by a cheerful scheduler who tells me, 'We have to upgrade you! You're going to sit reserve at the airport today!' After telling her politely that isn't much of an upgrade, I drag myself out of bed, into the shower. On the positive side, sitting at the airport DOES allow for awesome people-watching.

05:00 - Yes, unlike other girls, I'm ready to go in no time. I've learned that flight attendants often wear their hair in buns for occasions like these. 2 hour call-out? 1 hour, out the door. Thank goodness I don't have to worry about traffic, otherwise I'd be the driving multi-tasker, the driver everyone hates. My bags are still in the car from yesterday's trip. Pretty sure I have enough socks for a 4 day..

05:22 - Employee parking lot E. Why does the other FA, in the shuttle, have boots on? That's not allowed.

06:00 – Time to put on my smile! (Note: I'm smiling even before my Starbucks!) Wondering how the TSA checkpoint will be.. also wondering how positive these businessman would be if they had to go through security every day before THEY went to work. (That's a blog post for later..)

06:30 – Check-in and the supervisors are already looking over flight attendants for uniform compliance.. wonder if they'll catch that FA in those boots.

07:00 - My first trip of the day to Starbucks . Note to self: Don't spend more than you earn today on Starbucks.

08:00 - They might need me! Someone is ...

08:10 - Cancel. She appeared. Back to yesterday's Wall St crossword.

10:00 – A few hours left at the airport and ..wait... the phone's ringing..

10:02 – This girl's off to JFK with an 18 hour layover.. (3rd time this month!) THIS time I'm working First Class! Let's see how these Senior Mamas like this! Now, which one of my UPGRD friends / Twitter friends do I call to hang out with!?


Welcome aboard (pun intended, unless you cringe at hearing that, in which case I retract it). I'm digging your writing style & look forward to your posts.

Danielle May 17, 2011 at 02:31 am

Love it, keep them coming!

Jules June 16, 2011 at 04:32 pm

I was wondering how long it was after FA training until you were placed at your domicile? THANKS!

Gabrielle June 17, 2011 at 05:11 pm

Hi Jules,

I was lucky enough to be based at my domicile right away! We were given a 'choice' at the time with my airline, since the economy was doing well and all of our 'hubs' were successful. Most FAs are places somewhere, which is more typical for airlines now. FAs are placed in their domiciles a week after training and initial on-line experience training, or IOE.

Cindy February 1, 2014 at 08:39 am

I was just was offered a position at JetBlue, awaiting background check before I learn training class date....Sooooooo excited. Gearing up for Reserve Life :)

Gabrielle February 3, 2014 at 04:05 pm

Congratulations! With JetBlue, you'll probably be off reserve before you know it! JetBlue likes to create monthly schedules, or 'lines', for their flight attendants. With a larger airline like mine, it benefits the company to arrange schedules differently.

Start memorizing airport codes now by looking up the cities JetBlue flies to on their website! If you have any questions, please let me know!

John December 10, 2015 at 12:15 am

How long is the average reserve for FA at Jetblue?

Jennifer December 22, 2015 at 08:10 am

Hi Gabrielle ,

I am also awaiting a background check to get the training date i have already began studying airport codes . I just wanted to know if there was any other advice that you have for me please .