Every major airline has a probationary period that starts after you complete your training when you get “on the line.” During this hellish time (usually a few months) you can be fired for absolutely anything without an explanation or apology. One day you’ll be working, the next day you’ll be back wherever you came from. During Probation you will be scared shitless anytime anything goes remotely wrong, no matter how ridiculous or insignificant. Any time you have to tell a passenger that you’ve run out of their first meal choice or that they won’t make their connecting flight is told with such unspeakable dread. Any disagreement with a fellow crew member is reason to toss and turn all night long. You hold your tongue no matter what people say to you or how horribly they treat you. Like a slave, you just turn the other cheek and take whatever is thrown at you. Thank you Sir may I have another?! You’ll feel like you have no soul or backbone. In your mind you have all your witty comebacks and how exactly you’re going to tell the passengers off, but just file those away for a while. You’ll have plenty of time to be a jerk right back to the passengers later on, but for now, you have to play ball.
You may find yourself allowing three hours travel time to get to the airport when it normally takes forty-five minutes. You cannot be too careful. That day when you get off of probation is circled in red on your calendar. Your life will change that day, especially if you work for an airline that has a union. Once the union covers you then it’s damn near impossible to get fired, no matter how hard you try. Feel free to use all the witty retorts and give all the attitude you wish after you make it off of probation.
Just in case you think you may get fired though, here are some Must Dos that you need to accomplish ASAP. Once you’ve completed this list then you’ve pretty much done the best things you can do as a flight attendant and you can hold your head up high as you’re being fired for gross incompetence or whatever they say you did or did not do. You’ll also have the staple photographs and scars that prove that you were at one time a flight attendant.
#1 Have your picture taken sitting in the Captain’s seat
#2 Have your picture taken standing in an engine
#3 Have your picture taken lying inside an overhead bin
#4 Join the Mile High Club
#5 Stay out all night on a layover and show up for pick up without sleep or shower
#6 Hook up on a layover with local
#7 Show up to the airport on your days off and just fly somewhere random, just because you can
#8 Sit in the cockpit for either take-off or landing
#9 Hook up on a layover with another crew member
#10 When you ferry a flight (no passengers, just crew) sit on a plastic tray at the front of the aircraft in the aisle and “aisle surf” during take off. Hopefully you’ll be on a wide body aircraft with two aisles and you can race a friend. Gambling will occur, not only on who wins the race but also on who bleeds the most. Fun times for everyone.
#11 Upgrade someone just for the hell of it
#12 Get an oven rack burn/scar. No one will believe you were a flight attendant until you have scar lines on your forearms. In fact, burn off all your fingerprints as well, just like a real flight attendant.