A Flight Attendant Says What It’s Really Like to Fly

Catherine AumackCatherine Aumack has been a flight attendant with US Airways for ten years and she's seen many changes during that time

"I'm originally from New Jersey, but I moved to Charlotte and started working for US Airways. Charlotte is actually my mom's hometown. I returned yesterday from a three-day trip where I spent two nights in Philadelphia, and went in and out of Tampa and Chicago O'Hare. My trip had four legs the first day, two legs the second day, and two legs the third day. It's based on the hours required for rest by the FAA, depending on how much time you flew each day.

"My trips originate in Charlotte, but my destinations vary. They can last from one to four days. A lot of passengers think we only fly the same routes. Sometimes when they leave they'll ask, ‘Will I see you on my return?' I fly to anywhere that leaves out of Charlotte.

"Throughout the years, things have changed, definitely since 9/11. The passenger loads have changed, but the last couple of years the flights have been full during the holidays. It used to be challenging flying during Christmas, but it's gotten easier now that my two daughters are older. Last year I flew to Mexico City. Some people go away on vacation on Christmas holidays. They're not all going to see relatives. A lot of people who fly during the holidays never fly any other time of the year. I see that nervousness in them. I love when they come on and say, ‘This is my daughter's first time flying.' We give them extra attention to make sure their trip is wonderful.

"Other changes have occurred with regard to what we offer on flights. We started charging for drinks and food. It's still complimentary in first class. I think people understand how the industry has changed with fuel prices being so high...I may get a person who hasn't gotten the scoop and they ask ‘When did that start?' But I haven't had any issues with passengers."