a ride on a big jet plane...

Aug 21, 2012

I thought that training would never end.  The long days, endless studying, and immense stress felt like it lasted forever... until it was over. Suddenly my perception switched and I wondered how on earth the past month had gone by so fast.  
We'd finished the classroom portion and had one final step on our journey towards becoming flight attendants... flying!  As part of our training requirements, we were about to go on group line indoctrination, and I could not wait.  That evening I stressed over ensuring that I didn't forget anything important and rushing so as to not be late. I should have known that I'd arrive to find out the flight was delayed. I apologized profusely, as I'm known by former coworkers to have bad luck when it comes to on time departures. While I'm early for absolutely everything, the flights that I'm on never seem to follow suit.  The reality of our situation was that as a non-revenue flight, we were on the bottom of the list for priority to take off. Our 9 pm departure became 11 pm, and we all were feeling rather sleepy as the hours passed by with nothing to do but wait.  It was a great introduction to the life of a flight attendant for those who have never done it before.  
Finally, we boarded a shuttle bus and drove airside to the aircraft, which was parked at the gate. I hadn't driven airside since Dubai, and it was one of those little thrills that brought an inner happiness. Oh, the beautiful lights!  We boarded the aircraft and I opted for a seat at the back, knowing full well that we'd be experiencing simulated turbulence and that it's always a bumpier ride at the back. 
We taxied down towards the runway, listening to commentary from our instructor.  Finally, it was time for take off.  13 brand new flight attendants sat with faces staring out the windows.  We were in the sky at last! In comparison to my former almost silent office, the A380, this 737-200 was one noisy airplane. I wasn't complaining. A plane is a plane, I love them all.  
Once we'd reached altitude, it was time for some fun! As there were no paying passengers onboard the aircraft, we were able to do things that you normally can't do on big jet planes. Our captain gave us a real life demonstration of roll, pitch, and yaw... we know what it is on paper, but feeling it in real life is another story. It was like a ride at an amusement park, and I was one happy kid.  Next up was my personal favourite... turbulence. I'm sure glad that I don't get motion sickness. I loved every single minute of it, as we bounced through the air. Simulated turbulence is something that my pilot husband loves doing when he's flying us in a Cessna, but I'm happy to be able to say that it's pretty darn awesome in a Boeing too. 
The highlight of the evening was when we were all invited in small groups up to the flight deck. I always love going up there at night and seeing all of the controls and endless buttons illuminated... but this flight was something extra special.  We had the most incredible view of a massive thunderstorm, and every few seconds the clouds below us would light up, making the entire flight deck bright.  As if that wasn't enough awesome crammed into a 15 minute span, we were lucky enough to have a view of the Northern Lights at the exact same time. I've seen a lot of amazing things over the past few years, but it takes very special moments to join the ranks of my top life moments. I had just added another to the list, making me perhaps the luckiest girl in the history of lucky girls.... At least in my opinion. There wasn't much more that I could ask for. Sometimes things happen for a reason... without our 2 hour delay we would have missed out! 
We headed back to our seats as we turned back towards Edmonton and experienced a rapid descent. Some people (my mother) would be terrified and crying, but we all thought that it was great. We went through a simulation of preparing for an emergency landing, and just before we touched the runway we shot back up into the sky.... finishing off the fun with a missed approach. I was exhausted, but giddy as we finally landed back in Edmonton.  What a night!  What a flight!
The seatbelt signs turned off, and we were congratulated by our instructor... because as of right then, we became official flight attendants.  We were handed our certificates, and just like that, training was over.  I'd spent the past month waiting for this moment, and now that it had arrived it was rather bittersweet. There would be no more classrooms, no more exams, and all of the fun was about to begin. At the same time, we'd all become close friends and saying goodbye was not much fun. We promised to keep in touch, and reunite halfway between our Edmonton and Calgary homes... in my hometown of Red Deer. I may or may not have influenced that decision.  
It's time to fly!!  I'm so excited to get back to work and actually love my job again!


Nicole said...

Congratulations! Hope you'll share your first roster with us!:)

Anonymous said...

Is that K. Oudith back there I see?

danhall1984 said...

I went back and read this today. I remember it like it was yesterday. Still love that feeling every time!!

Krysta said...

Dan, I still flying too, but being a mom has used up every ounce of my patience so I'm not sure that I'd love dealing with passengers anymore... haha.

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