Being on Standby…

The life of a flight attendant is not always as glamorous as it seems…now please don’t get me wrong because I absolutely love my job ❤ But sometimes there will be days or certain flights that might not be on top of your favorite list. Today was one of those days as I got pulled out from my Airport Standby on a Turnaround.

‘Turnaround’ means I will go there and come back straight away spending my entire day on an aircraft without actually going somewhere or even getting out of the plane. With my bags packed for a nine-day trip somewhere nice and fancy and my mind already picturing myself in an exotic place somewhere around the globe..maybe sipping on some cocktails at the beach or having some yummy Gelato in Italy…one can only imagine my disappointment when they call me out for this flight, as I was secretly hoping to go to New York instead. But reality hit me and so I forced a smile and made my way to sign in for the flight thinking of the long and very tiring day that lied ahead of me which surprisingly turned out to be a lot different from what I was expecting….

My first encounter with the crew was a bit awkward as I accidentally stepped onto the First Officers feet while entering the briefing room. Luckily he wasn’t too upset at me but I definitely gained everyone’s attention straight from the beginning. Just by looking at the unenthusiastic faces of the crew in the briefing room made me realize once more that this is definitely not a trip to some exotic place -.- Almost half of the crew did not show up for this flight (I wonder why?!) and so we ended up with a lot of other ‘Lucky Ones’ who were pulled out from their Standby to join our excitement. One by one they all entered the room with probably the same look on their face that I must have had when stumbling in earlier. And suddenly it hit me. What if we just all somehow make this a really fun trip and simply enjoy ourselves by being extra cheerful and motivated?! What if we just all pretend to go on a tropical island somewhere in the Caribbean instead and come up with some crazy plans?! What if we just all make our lives easier and make this a nice day?! And so we did.


My seat neighbor must have read my mind because the very next minute he started listing all positive things about this flight spreading some very good vibes (yes man!). Our Purser seemed to have the same positive spirit and started to play some music in order to get us in the mood. Gosh why can’t I have such awesome crew on my Ultra Long Haul flights?! That is what probably all other crew thought by now but I honestly believe in the simple and very powerful principle of optimism and self-motivation. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Simple and easy. But when life is always serving you the fresh juice on a silver tray you don’t feel the need to squeeze those lemons. So sometimes in life you need to be faced with little challenges in order to get the best out of you.


With a very light load on the first leg it was an easy flight for us flight attendants and we had enough time to go and visit our colleagues in other cabins. Sometimes you meet the most interesting people on your flights but on flights like this you tend to bond a lot more with your fellow colleagues. And so it happened that we got a very interesting lecture from one of our male cabin crew who seems to be a part-time life coach/self certified relationship expert. He was definitely a character that entertained us all and came up with some very vital tips and interesting stories. Believe it or not but male advise can be so much better when it comes to certain topics. After listening to all his advise we nearly forgot the time and were surprised how fast the first flight went by.

On the second leg I decide to visit the very front of the aircraft in order to take care of our flight crew…also because I feel bad for my earlier faux pas with one of the pilots. I wow them with my Cappuccino making skills on ground and in return learn some pretty interesting flight related basics during cruise phase. Again time was passing by very smoothly until I suddenly receive a call from my team in the back of the aircraft. A customer is having heart problems. Immediately I jump out into the cabin to make my way into Economy class mentally already preparing for a medical emergency and my next steps. But when I reach the scene I only find a slightly confused man sitting on the jump seat gesturing that he is feeling cold. Relieved about his good state of health I get him a blanket and return to my duties. I guess the language barrier is a big challenge on this flight as most of our customers cannot speak English and have strong difficulties in expressing themselves. Sometimes it can be quite funny but in situations like this it can become a serious problem…lucky today it wasn’t so serious.

Another challenge of this flight is that most of our customers cannot read or write which makes it very hard to seat them during boarding. We literally had to guide everyone personally to their allocated seat and a lot of our Economy class customers tried sneaking into one of the First class suits upon arrival…of course not unnoticed 😉 The toilets are the toughest part of this flight as most customers tend to confuse the attendant call bell light inside the lavatory for the actual flush. I guess I do not have to go into detail on that one…

Despite the fact that we are also having a lot of fun on that trip we are very happy when we finally land back home. After everybody disembarked the aircraft and I said my 300st farewell this evening we notice two customers still neatly sitting in their seats with their seat belts fastened. I ask them if they need any help but they just stare back at me being all puzzled. I sent my male colleague who speaks Arabic in order to communicate with them and he finds out that those gentlemen are still waiting for us to touch down. With an amazing window seat and all airport lights on their side view they haven’t even noticed that the aircraft is already parked at the gate for the past 20min. As much as I am trying to I cannot file this into the language barrier category 😉

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