From cabin to condo 

Jayde Atchison (she/her) // Opinions Editor

My mother would be the first person to tell you that I have kind of always been a slob. Growing up was a constant struggle of being reminded to clean my room, school desk, locker, backpacks — anything that could have my personal items stowed inside was pure chaos after valiant attempts to be tidy (for about a week). Even when I moved out, I was never one to be bothered by the classic clothes chair in the corner of my room or a couple mugs soaking in the sink. Maybe I was merely unmotivated, maybe I was just young and lazy, but it seems my flying career has begun to impact my everyday existence. 

Working on a plane is purely formulaic — other than the layovers and the guests on board, each flight has a structured pace that must be adhered to. Board, arm doors, safety demonstration, secure the cabin, take off, snacks and beverages, garbage, land, deplane, repeat. While the idea of a repetitive desk job makes me want to call in sick until retirement, there is something comforting in the routine of flying. Amidst the unpredictability of each day, I know there is an underlying method to the madness that is my journey. Collecting garbage immediately after a service, or ensuring a clean galley for the next crew has made the way I operate at home drastically shift. 

I find myself washing up immediately after each meal, almost as if I expect someone to take over my kitchen once I depart it. Gone are the days where I would be embarrassed to have someone over without warning. I live out of a suitcase about 20 days a month, which has translated into more consistent laundry duty (where my clothes actually make it back into my closet). My mindset has quickly shifted — I essentially host hundreds of people every day, so somewhere in my subconscious I want to be able to host my apartment in the same immaculate manner. 

Other than my transformative cleaning habits, I have noticed that certain personality traits have been impacted from being in that metal tube so often. Patience has always been present in my life, but never so much after working in aviation. It’s as if I am working out that part of my brain every day that I step into an airport. Most people are exhausted, or simply don’t know what they’re doing is not appropriate or appreciated. My job is to de-escalate and provide a safe, pleasant environment for everyone who boards the plane. Where I once would be quick to judge or snap at those that rubbed me the wrong way — I now hold more compassion and patience. 

For example, first time mothers traveling with newborns, riddled with extra hormones and emotions have been known to lash out on those around them. It’s not common, but I have seen it on more than one occasion. While hormones can be an obvious explanation for odd reactions, it has shown me that everyone has something going on outside of their flight with me, so it’s best to brush it off and choose empathy instead. 

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