A question about being a flight attendant with a small child at home

Dear Heather,

You said your husband travels over 100,000 miles per year, and you are spending January away from home. Isn’t that hard on your child? I think I’d find a career that kept me home more often.


Dear DJ,

Two weeks ago I found myself commuting home in first class sitting next to a seventeen year-old boy on a flight from New York to Los Angeles. “Are you going to LA on vacation?” I asked him.

“No, I’m going to Sydney, Australia. I’m just connecting through Los Angeles,” he said as he took a bite of ice cream covered in hot fudge.

I looked around the cabin for his parents, but there were no parent-y looking people sitting nearby “Are you going there alone?”

“Yeah. I have friends there.”

“Wow,” I said, because not only had I never traveled overseas until I began working international routes in 1998 at the age of twenty-six, I still haven’t been to Australia, a place I’m dying to visit one day. “I’m really impressed,” I added.

He smiled. “My dad’s a Captain.”

And there you have it, ladies and gentleman, the benefits of being the child of an airline employee. Something tells me that the kid I sat next to in first class, the one eating an ice cream sundae who was on his way to meet friends in Australia is not complaining about the fact that his father worked a job that took him away from home. Though I could be wrong.

Even though my career does take me away from home when I’m working, I feel I have more quality time with my son than other parents who work a regular job who have limited time with their children in the evenings due to after school activities, chores, and parent fatigue. Because when I’m home, I’m home for days at a time. Sometimes even weeks at a time. Keep in mind that a typical flight attendant works twelve to sixteen days a month. Sure some flight attendants choose to work more hours, picking up extra trips on the side, while others work less – like me!


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