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When The Seatbelt Sign Goes Off

It feels like it’s been quite a while since the last interview. This episode (the first of the new season), was yet another eye-opening one that destroyed some of my misconceptions. I had a quite interesting conversation with Nichole Davis (not her real name, but a nom de plum that she uses), a flight attendant with a major airline who chats about her work and travel life as a single woman.

When the seatbelt sign goes off: Nichole Davis

Nichole has written a memoir of the same name about life in the skies. These days especially, it seems to be that a job as a flight attendant can not only be stressful, but dangerous at times. You only have to look at headings of fights and assaults on flight crew that seems to be happening on an almost daily basis. The above video is just one of many.

People seem to have shorter fuses and the rage bubbles over at the slightest provocation. More often than not, masks seem to be the root cause of all this nonsense.

Bangkok temple in gold and blue. When the seatbelt sign goes off.
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Who doesn’t like exotic travel? Bangkok anyone?

Some of the highlights of the interview:

  • How she got the job as a flight attendant post the 2008 financial crisis. That brought back terrible memories for me too :-(.
  • Choosing that lifestyle as opposed to going back to the corporate world and the rigid structure despite the pay cut.The rigors of training for life up in the air. I honestly had no idea of just how much they have to know and be able to do. I had always thought it was a simple case of social skills and personality. Wrong!
  • Her take on why people seem to be misbehaving constantly when they fly.
  • How people come out from the woodworks and assume she can get them free flights, or become their courier.
  • The myth of flight attendants being easy to seduce and are loose. The fantasy versus reality.
  • The long hours and stress that come with the job and finally taking a leave of absence in order to take care of her well-being.
  • The best place she has traveled to so far. This was a surprise to me because l had expected a different sort of answer. Amazingly, she is the third person l have interviewed who has picked this country. It’s sounding like l need to visit there :-).
  • Learning to travel as a solo black female and loving it.
  • Advice for those who wish to take an unconventional path like her.

Nichole’s new memoir “When the seatbelt sign goes off” is available on Amazon here:

I love speaking with people who have chosen a different way of life, one that suits them. Traditional 9-5 is not for everyone. For Nichole, it took the economic downturn to realize that she was done with that, and moving forward, she had to change the desire for the trappings that came with consumerism.

Happiness can come from so many different avenues than keeping up with the Joneses. I urge everyone to take a look at their own lives and try to discover a happier way of life (assuming they desire it).

Listen to the podcast here:

Other podcasts of interest:

A better life for half the price

World expat and journalist Christina Hoag

Expat in Portugal

Are you dreaming of a new life? Perhaps up in the air?

2 thoughts on “When The Seatbelt Sign Goes Off”

  1. That was a great interview. I loved hearing Nichole’s story. Reminded me of the movie View from the Top which spent a lot of time at flight attendant school. Just as Nichole said, the airlines put successful job applicants through their own training program. In other words, don’t waste your money signing up to one of those schools that offer flight attendant courses. When I was 20 working as a flight attendant would have been a dream job. I started applying to airlines only to find I didn’t meet the height requirements.

    It was funny she mentioned people who want her to get them discount flight passes. There was an episode on Judge Judy a couple of years ago where an airline employee – I believe ground crew not air crew, though I don’t recall his actual job – sold someone a flight pass, but something went wrong. For the passenger that is, who was denied boarding. Who then kicked up a big stink and the employee was eventually fired. And then they all ended up on Judge Judy.

    • Thanks, Cheryl, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I never saw the movie you speak of, I will have to look for it. I didn’t even realize they had schools to teach to be a flight attendant. I had just assumed that the airline would put you through their own course, but l thought it would be more like the abbreviated version, not a full-on course that really tests you. I feel better knowing this now, and it infuriates me, even more, when people treat them like nothing. You have just added something new. I didn’t think there was a height requirement to speak of either.

      Haha! I can’t even imagine the nerve of someone getting a buddy pass and then complaining about it, and suing the giver. Sad they lost their job, but l can’t say l blame the company. It’s their rule. Imagine if everyone handed those passes out willy-nilly, or god forbid, sell them. People just don’t realize how much trouble the airline staff could get into for breaking that rule. I certainly wouldn’t jeopardize my livelihood :-).


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