Monday, January 3, 2011

We Never Forget You Have a Choice!

The great thing about having jet lag is that I am bright and chipper at 4.30 am. When I'm not on a deadline, getting up at that godforsaken time, is normal and something to dread. Today, it's GREAT!

I'm typing away in bed on my laptop with a large cup of coffee and a very very happy Mr. Tig (who has finally stopped grumbling about being left with our wonderful cat sitter.) For those cat lovers who live in Los Angeles, I can't recommend Joanne O' Brien from Sittin' Kitty highly enough. She is fabulous.

Of course, I'll be fading by about four this afternoon - but as a rule, I really don't suffer much. As an ex-flight attendant, my trick is to immediately switch to local time at my destination. I might take a nap if I arrive before 12 noon, but usually I stay awake. I don't drink any alcohol on the plane or during the first two or three days (boring I know but I don't drink much anyway) of arrival. I don't take sleeping pills or Melatonin.

I still love flying -- though I wouldn't want to do it now. The crew work so hard. Flying long haul in the old days usually meant at least four of five days off down route. Sometimes I'd get a 10 day lay-over in Brazil or somewhere equally exotic to sightsee or lay by the pool. Now the crew are lucky if they get 36 hours and they're often stuck in a hotel close to the airport.

Now you can be any shape, size, age or sex. When I first started flying with British Caledonian, girls couldn't be less than 5' 4" tall (to reach the overhead hat racks) or married or even engaged. The "retirement" age was 29! There were no male flight attendants. We had to speak at least one other language and were trained how to deliver a baby. We were subjected to uniform inspection before going onboard—white gloves had to be immaculate, shoes polished etc.

They were such fun days - but knowing the average number of miles walked by flight attendants on a transatlantic flight is 12 miles, let's just say that these days I'm happy in the passenger seat being pampered by the ever friendly Virgin Atlantic folks ...


  1. Wow, sounds like you had it pretty tough as a flight attendant. I could see why you would be happier in the passenger seat. I haven't done much traveling, and none overseas, so I didn't realize they walked so much during transatlantic flights. That is incredible!

  2. Hi Amy -- It's funny how I never really saw it that way at the time - it was all very exciting going to new places --- but my feet were always sore!

  3. I remember hearing some of the more obscure 'rules' about flight attendants on Woman's Hour - thank goodness times have moved on.

  4. Hi Maddy - You've just given me a great idea! I think I'll dig out my old flying manuals and see what I can find Thanks for that! I still catch myself saying "Coffee? Tea? Duty Free?"