From early morning wake-up calls and unconventional work hours, to weekends and holidays working, the life of a flight attendant may seem both challenging and intriguing. For a flight attendant a day “at the office” may involve a trip to an exotic location, an unscheduled landing, looking after an unaccompanied minor or a celebrity, or even handling an in-flight delivery.
Kara Mulder is an international flight attendant with a European airline based in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. Originally from California, Kara began her career as flight attendant in 2009 after graduating from college. She has travelled to over 45 countries, on 5 continents. Besides flying, Kara is also an avid writer; her travel stories have been published in the Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Matador Network as well as other newspapers and magazines; and in 2011 she launched the website ‘The Flight Attendant Life.’
the Jupital interviewed Kara to find out what it takes to be a flight attendant and to gain further insight into this adventurous career.
the Jupital: How did you decide to become a flight attendant?
Kara: My career as a flight attendant came as a surprise. After graduating from university, I had a challenging time finding a job in my degree field, so I chose a new direction, which has been the biggest blessing in my life. Fate decided for me and I fell in love with this profession.
the Jupital: How do you prepare for a flight?
Kara: The majority of flights I work are red eyes, so it’s important I nap the day of departure, especially if it is the first leg of a trip. During layovers, I like to keep a typical schedule away as I do at home: morning coffee, reading, blogging, exercising, and a kite boarding session if there’s wind.
the Jupital: What are the highlights of your profession?
Kara: The people I work with and meet during my travels are the most wonderful highlight of my job. The fascinating, inspiring, lovely, encouraging, energising and humorous people I meet give me constant ideas for stories and reflection. I love people. The places I visit are inspiring too.
the Jupital: What is your favourite city to travel to?
Kara: I prefer cities with wind and flat water, so I am able to kite board. Amongst the destinations I fly to regularly, I enjoy most Copenhagen, Denmark, London, the UK, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
the Jupital: How do flight attendants manage to look impeccable before each flight?
Kara: ‘The cabin crew look’ may have to do with finding the perfect red lipstick and taking time to press the uniform. Since I began flying exclusively international routes, I take more time to perfect my look than I did when I worked short hauls.
the Jupital: What insider advice would you give travellers for a better flight experience?
Kara: The travel experience may be more pleasant if started in a rested state, so sleeping before a flight may help. Someone who is cold on flights may pack a blanket or jacket. Cabin crew are particularly busy during specific phases of the flight, such as the safety demonstration or the meal service for example, so if a passenger has a non-urgent request, he or she may wait for a lull in cabin activity; it may help both the passengers and the cabin crew if travelers understand the flow of flight.
the Jupital: What are your recommendations for people aiming to follow this career path?
Kara: Learning languages may help, as well as working at a hotel, café, restaurant, or bar prior to applying for an airline job. Anything with potential to expand the knowledge and acceptance of people from all backgrounds and races, to strengthen communication and management skills may add to the hospitality experience required for this job.
What other professions involve travelling the world while following a career path?