I remember in February I was in Nashville visiting my cousin. This was the first time threats of Covid-19 started seeming real in America. I didn’t realize this trip would be my last non-working trip for a while. At the time of the shut down I had plans to visit my sister in Seattle, and my friends in Tampa and Phoenix – all within the next month. That was my life, always on the go and never having any down time. I never could have imagined that in the next year I would have no travel plans beyond working.
Starting in March, all of the flights I was supposed to work starting getting canceled. March through at least August, over half of my scheduled flights were canceled. The ones that weren’t canceled were mostly empty.
A lot of changes happened with the way we did service – we started passing out pre-sealed bags with water and two snacks to avoid contact and limit touch points. The middle seats were all blocked. We started the mask policy. 99% of passengers are great about wearing their masks, but I have definitely had my fair share of issues with those who don’t want to wear it.
The airplanes started getting cleaned a lot more. This is for sure the best thing to come out of 2020 with my job. In the past, I would get sick about once a month – not a serious sickness but I would feel bad for a day or two and then get better. Ever since the mask policy and deep cleaning the planes, I haven’t been sick, which is proof to me that these protocols are working.
Furloughs happened. I am beyond thankful and lucky my company has not had to furlough flight attendants. I have friends who work for other airlines who weren’t as lucky and are currently out of a job. I will never take my career for granted again.
Worse than furloughs, we all know flight attendants whose life was taken by the terrible Covid-19. The fear of going to work and getting Coronavirus was and still is very real for all flight attendants. It’s so hard for those who can’t see their parents or family because of the fear of making them sick since we can never quarantine for 14-days if we are working.
Things are currently looking up. Covid testing is much more available. The vaccine is here and the state of New York has airline workers in the current phase of vaccinations. My flights are becoming fuller and I have a few friends with other airlines who have been recalled from their furlough. Hopefully by this time next year, things will be back to normal and airlines can start hiring again.
2020 has taught me a lot. I know how lucky I am to still have a job. I know how lucky I am to still have my health. I am lucky that no one in my family or any of my close friends have gotten seriously ill. I am now used to having more than enough down time and am comfortable sitting at home with no plans. There is hope for the future, and I can’t wait for things to go back to normal.