When I first started flying 18 years ago, I was told I couldn’t eat, drink or chew gum while walking through the airport terminal. (I have no idea if that rule still applies or if the company ever tried to enforce it.) Off duty we aren’t allowed to drink alcohol at a bar or on an airplane if we’re wearing our navy blue polyester.
When we discard a work dress or blouse, we have to remove all the buttons and any airline insignia. If our uniform pieces are stolen, we must file a police report — God forbid somebody tries to impersonate us. Did you know there are nightclubs in Japan that allow patrons the opportunity to spend the evening with women wearing “a real life” flight attendant uniform? It’s why one international carrier sewed tracking numbers into each of its uniform pieces and require its flight attendants to return them once they stop flying.
I was reminded of this recently, when I shared some of this with a reporter looking to do a story about a “secret group” of flight attendants. When she first mentioned the secret group, my head started spinning. A secret group of flight attendants? How could I not know about a secret group of flight attendants?
I’m a flight attendant. I’ve been flying a million years. I wrote a New York Times bestsellerabout life as a flight attendant. So if there’s one thing I know, it’s what’s going on in the airline world — and yet I had no idea what this reporter was talking about.
“Crew life,” she clarified.
“…crew life?” I laughed. “You mean the hashtag crew life?” I thought she was joking. She wasn’t.
Yeah, that's me, the one standing in the aisle wearing flammable polyester...