A question about being a flight attendant on reserve


Dear Heather,

I am intrigued by reserve. Must you queue up each day?

Have fun but be safe,

Geno

Dear Geno,

You are correct, we do queue up each day on reserve. Today I’m # 61 on the reserve list. Because there are 34 other flight attendants who are good to work four days in a row, like me, I’ve just made an appointment with Alice – master of hair. But now that the weather channel is reporting ice in Dallas, even though I’m based in New York, I’m getting a little nervous about my appointment with Alice today. When one airport is affected by weather, all the airports will eventually be affected by weather. Trips will cancel and crews will go illegal and that’s when my phone will ring.

RESERVE – Reserve flight attendants do not have a line (schedule of trips). On reserve we bid for days off only. When we don’t have a day off we remain on-call. The company can (and will) assign us a trip at any time of day (or night) with at least two hours time to get to the airport. Reserve duty is much like being an on-call doctor in that we must stay within a manageable radius of our base (mine covers three airports – JFK, LGA and EWR) and there are no late nights out and absolutely no alcohol, since you can (and will) be called out to work any time of day and night. I remember one night having a quiet evening at home with a movie and Chinese take out. The food had not even arrived to my apartment and I was already leaving for a trip to London! There’s no warning, no lead time, and no excuses. You just have to zip up your bag and go!

On the days we are good to work we have a four hour window to call in and retrieve our assignments for the following day. Because there are only so many available trips each day, not every flight attendant on-call will get one. Flight attendants who are not assigned a trip will be awarded a number. This number is based on the hours the flight attendant has flown during the month. The flight attendant with the least amount of hours is assigned the lowest number and will be called out first if a trip comes up.

While a high number on the reserve list is always a relief to a flight attendant who did not get awarded a trip, a flight attendant who is just about to go to bed, that flight attendant may still get a call in the middle of the night from crew schedule to fly. Here’s why…

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Heather Poole View All →

Yeah, that's me, the one standing in the aisle wearing flammable polyester...

5 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Pray for me Heather….I have a first date tonight with a FA who is on PERMANENT reserve (low senority.) I tried you’re “things not to ask an FA,” and asked how she liked being on permanent Reserve. My ears are still ringing.

    Lewis

  2. Pray for me Heather….I have a first date tonight with a FA who is on PERMANENT reserve (low senority.) I tried you’re “things not to ask an FA,” and asked how she liked being on permanent Reserve. My ears are still ringing.

    Lewis

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