“This job–

is 

just an illusion.

It gives you 

the impression

that you 

are

travelling,

but you’re 

not;

really.

But then, you meet people.

But then, you leave people.

You don’t decide anymore…

Most of the time,

we only get

the worst

of 

travelling.”

—Anonymous




If only you could decrease the massive migraine brought about by too many coffees and too little sleep. Oh, and that chocolate bar that you promised you wouldn’t eat. Because, your uniform; it’s tight. Somewhat suffocating— in a similar way that your job is squeezing the life out of you. You believed that you would travel and you do, but if travel is what you wanted, why is it that you can’t wait to be home? Why is this travel— flight attendant travel—not at all what you thought it would be? It all sounds so nice— London, New York, Seattle, Maui, but why can’t it be with her? Or him? Or the group of girlfriends that you miss spending normal evenings out with?

Because you are gone so much…

Griffin Traveling Feature photo

I hear the ‘slam-click’ of my hotel room door, listen to the gurgle of a wine bottle’s pour, kick my feet up for ‘Netflix and Chill’— alone. This is the glamorous life that my non-airline friends envy. I’m in the same dimly lit hotel—in a familiar foreign place—with walls tainted of jet-lag.

And secret stories.

Oh, I’m sure there are many stories; if these walls could talk. They would tell tales of a kiss between a captain and cabin crew, one that left her feeling the sting of her lifestyle. She’s just like them she thought; the young, naive, and beautiful crew who fuck up marriages and remain single for life.

Alone.

He sits, running his fingers through his hair, his wife yelling at him through a shitty wifi-connection that the kids are too much for her to handle.

Alone.

She’s struggling with depression, her 15-month old going to day care, while her other-half flys around the world, supporting the family. But, unlike her, he’s living on cloud nine; happy. At least one in the pair is, even if it is— Alone.

Why the fuck are we living so alone in a world so full of people?

There are less than six inches between the window seat and middle spot; with so little space in the aisle that you booty bump every first and last man’s elbow in the narrow walkway. If you had a dollar for every inadvertent ass tap…well, you probably wouldn’t need to be working as a flight attendant for a paycheck, now would you?

God, this life can be so good, but now that you are a cabin crew, you see the facade. You sit, in a tired stupor, understanding that most of your job is:

Just an illusion.

An amazing,

surprising,

predictable,

unexpected,

terrible,

wonderful,

illusion.

If there ever was a career with more juxtaposition, I don’t know about it. Or maybe, we are just people who want too much of the opposite things or too much of everything?

Stability, yet we crave adventure.

Sureness, but revel in uncertainty.

Love, but ‘he’s so hot right now, and I’m so far away from everything that’s real.’ 

It doesn’t seem real does it? This life?

Have you ever wondered if being a flight attendant, and your happiness within the airline industry, is simply an illusion? You don’t know any better, because this is all that you have known for so long. You can’t remember a different way. You’re as tricked by the glamorous uniforms as your passengers are. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. You wear it all well— the lifestyle. And, the uniform.

Kara Mulder

But, you don’t really travel anymore. You just spend a lot of time on an airplane, in dimly lit hotel rooms, saying nothing to the walls (or anyone else for that matter) of your past mistakes. We all have them—those regrets, and they aren’t glamorous. Between jet lag, drinking, and another city code, you will most likely forget what your life is lacking, as well as forget those mistakes.

‘Flight Attendant Life’ is probably missing a large dose of reality, but I’ll never know that because I’m entangled in its beautiful illusion. Once you tangle, you will always be tied. This job, while it will never be truly glamorous, it will forever dance delightfully in illusion.

I write this for someone and for myself— while traveling at 39,000ft, the sun dipping it’s rays into pink and purple paint buckets, splashing the sky in vibrant color. It’s gorgeous, truly. That’s real.

It’s these ‘real’ moments about this lifestyle that you love so much that make you believe, illusion or not, that you are damn lucky to live this way. It’s these moments and moments like them that will always keep you soaring amidst the illusion. I would say that it’s not the worst place to fly…

Kara Mulder

  • BoeingBoy

    I am so glad you right about this. As former cabin crew, I sometimes miss it. But most often not. Your text reminded me of the things I hated. I also found myself as an outsider in this hermetic sisterhood/brotherhood of flying people. At crew dinners I found it dull talking about flights and the gossip. And on long layovers the partying and casual hooking up turned my stomach. 10 years later the same people hangout together and still not having anything else to talk about.I am glad I got the chance to work in the sky and I am glad I got it out of my system… sort of!

    October 26th, 2016 4:55
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