It's about my life, one suitcase at a time...
Wearing the uniform
A few years ago there was a TV show about Pan Am, the mythological airline. I think one of the first scenes showed the crew arriving at the airport: four flight attendants (called stewardess at the time) wearing the iconic blue uniform, with their gloves and their bags on their arms, walking through the terminal on their way to the plane, and all the people in their way stopping and staring with adoration. They were the celebs of their time, glamour girls. It was a time when flying was a luxury, something you didn’t do every day, and people treated it as a special occasion. And thus, those who worked on the plane and got to experience flying on a daily basis were special as well.
My first flight after completing my training and check flight was a layover. Nothing very long, but not bad a first time fully qualified flight attendant. On that last night, when we were on our way to the plane at the airport in Bangkok, I thought back to that scene from the show about Pan Am. I attributed it to the fact that it was one of my first times in uniform, but it’s been three and a half years since and that feeling still lingers within me. I can still feel the stares following me whoever I arrive at the airport, overseas or here at home. The first time someone said to me something along the lines of, “you’re a flight attendant? So cool!” was on my first day of training. It was the middle of winter and I had just missed my ride, and I was embarking on a track that included a taxi and a train ride and a bus, and a lot of anxiety before I finally made it to class. But for a split second, when the security guard at the train station saw the uniform, I found myself straitening up and smiling, and I was truly proud to say, “not yet, but soon”. I still get that feeling today, when I can readily reply, “yes, I’m a flight attendant”.
There is something about our uniform that makes me proud, that makes going to work fun. This uniform tells me I’m on my way to a new destination, maybe something exotic, or maybe that I’m finally on my way home after a long layover when all I want is my own bed. This uniform tell me I can make people smile because it’s a sign for them they’re on the way to an exciting new adventure. That I am part of an airline that is still considered a national icon, that still makes people feel good, that still sometimes goes out of its way to help those who are in need. That I am part of this world that still looks glamorous even if it is now much more accessible to other people, even if they don’t get to experience it every day.
This uniform tells me I’m stepping out for not just another work day, but towards another adventure.