This month marks my two year anniversary as a regional flight attendant. When Covid-19 began spreading in the US around March, air travel decreased substantially. Because of this, I took a three month voluntary leave of absence for May, June and July. When I returned to work earlier this month, so much had changed. But one thing remained the same: my love for flying and helping people.
Although the travel benefits of the job are all but vanished and people are hesitant to interact with others, I still find joy in the sky. My airline is restricting seat capacity, but most flights I have worked are at or near capacity. Compared to most flights in April with only a handful of passengers, I take this as a good sign!
I have found that some are still wary to interact with us flight attendants, but others are grateful for a conversation with someone new. I am also wary of interacting with strangers, so that mutual feeling tends to be the primary conversation starter. It’s tough to limit interaction when you also yearn for it.
One positive effect this pandemic has had regarding air travel is shifting the perspective people have had on the role of a flight attendant. When we stopped serving food and drinks onboard in March, more people began to notice our primary focus: safety. While customer service is one of the most well-known part of our jobs, and my favorite part, the public’s realization of our importance has given us another reason to be proud of our work.
I stay safe by wearing my mask and washing my hands often, not only for myself, but for others. I know I’ve come in contact with others who have been infected a few months ago. Plus one of my previous roommates likely had it in March back when testing was more restricted and risky to go to a hospital for it. I like to think my cleaning and self-care efforts are why I’ve tested negative so far. Especially living in NYC, which was one of the first epicenters in the country. I’d count this as a feat, which I plan to sustain.
During lockdown in April, I took part in a one day stay-at-home scavenger hunt for good. It was a mini version of GISH, which holds a week long “greatest international scavenger hunt” each August to promote kindness and weirdness around the world. Registration fees for this one day “mini-GISH” (and another in May) helped feed children impacted by the pandemic. Here’s two of my favorite items I did:
I first took part in the hunt in 2013, when it was GISHWHES (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen). Created by “Supernatural” actor Misha Collins, it also introduced me to the nonprofit Random Acts. While I didn’t take part in this year’s main GISH, I did become the newest staff writer volunteer for Random Acts! You can find my bio on the staff page.
Also created by Misha, Random Acts gets its name from its mission to help others and change the world not only through major projects, but also through random acts of kindness. This mission especially spoke to me because I’m not in a particular position to help others with huge projects, but I enjoy bringing happiness to others however I can. For me, sprinkling small acts of kindness throughout my day and knowing I put a smile on someone’s face makes all the negativity in life easier to overcome.
As part of the writing team, I write about kindness acts sponsored by Random Acts, plus topics that tend to be difficult to talk about or often misunderstood. These topics are part of the nonprofit’s new initiative focusing on social equity and justice, which sprung from the recent growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Keep an eye on that page for my upcoming article about different forms of racism.
I am proud to volunteer for such a positive organization. If you have ideas for a social justice topic or a voice you think needs to be heard in a future article, feel free to share!
Up next: I still have a lot more stories to share about my South America and Budapest trips earlier this year, in pre-pandemic times.