What’s it like to be a flight attendant? One answers our questions.

What is your flight attendant really thinking about you?Kara

Kara Mulder is a flight attendant at a major low cost carrier, and the brains behind The Flight Attendant Life website. Popular posts include “Best Outfit To Wear On An Airplane” and “Dating And The Flight Attendant Life.”  I asked her to answer some questions about her job. She was kind enough to oblige.

What’s your job? Where are you based? How long have you had the job?

I am flight attendant, based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I’ve been flying for 4.5 years.

2. What’s your least favorite part of your job?

My least favorite part of going to work is encountering the aircraft lavatory. It doesn’t matter if it’s at the beginning of a flight, or five hours into flight time, airplane lavs are disgustingly fowl! They just smell terrible! I hate smelling like airplane when I get back from working a trip.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

There are multiple reasons why I like being a flight attendant, but the main reasons are that I love the people that I work with, every day is different, and I have tons of days off to do fun things like travel to foreign countries, and learn to kite board.

What’s one thing people think they know about your job that’s actually incorrect?

I don’t get a lot of dates because I’m a flight attendant, and when a flight is delayed, I’m not getting paid for sitting around the airport.

What personality traits does one need to be a flight attendant?

I think the main personality trait that makes a happy flight attendant is learning to accept unexpected inconveniences, and enjoying the surprises that the job brings. Also, professionalism, punctuality, assertiveness, and a friendly attitude go a long way in the airline industry.

From the looks of your website, you try to have fun on layovers. What’s your favorite layover pastime?

Honestly, not a lot of fun happens on overnights, because layovers are built at minimum rest, which barely gives the crew enough time to get grab a bite to eat, and then go to sleep. But, the most fun that I have had on a layover was once, when my flight cancelled in Maui, I had a whole day to do whatever I wanted. So, I went kite boarding.

What’s the most common question you get from passengers?

Is this your normal route? What do you have? Do these seats recline? Where are we? (To this one I always wonder, ‘Why does it matter?’)

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Royal Brunei Airlines — the airline on which you can (apparently) bring your own booze

This interior belongs to Royal Brunei Airlines. Photo courtesy of the airline.

This interior belongs to Royal Brunei Airlines. Photo courtesy of the airline.

I should never doubt my readers. Last week, I posted the photograph above and asked if anyone could name the airline pictured. One reader guessed correctly: It’s Royal Brunei Airlines.

Royal Brunei is flag carrier airline of the Sultanate of Brunei, based in Bandar Seri Begawan. It has 12 airplanes, including two 787s, and flies to more than 12 destinations, including London, Singapore, Melbourne and Dubai, according to its route map. Wikipedia says Royal Brunei does not serve alcohol on board, but that passengers can bring their own. So that’s interesting.

Want more information about Royal Brunei’s route structure? The CAPA Centre for Aviation has compiled an excellent analysis of the airline’ s business model.  

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Inside the numbers: Why LAX could be on track for record year in 2014

LAX traffic is on the upswing, airport officials told the city's airport commisison earlier this month. Staff photo by Brad Graverson.

LAX traffic is on the upswing, airport officials told the city’s airport commission earlier this month. Staff photo of new international terminal by Brad Graverson.

A new Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners took over a couple of months ago, and the group — appointed by new L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti — wanted a full update on traffic trends at LAX.

Luckily for us, that report, delivered at the Nov. 14 meeting, is public record. There’s nothing top secret in the power point airport officials delivered, but it might help you better understand some key LAX metrics.

Let’s take a look at what airport commission members learned:

  • Board members were told LAX is unique because it has no dominant airline. Instead four carriers – -American, Southwest, Delta and United — have roughly equal market shares. This pie chart is a bit misleading because American’s tally includes flights operated by its American Eagle subsidiary. United Express and Delta Connection flights, however, are not include in the larger airline’s tally.  (Many of the Skywest flights in the chart, for example, are operated as United Express.) 

LAX Market Share

  • LAX passenger traffic peaked in 2000, but airport officials are predicting 2014 will be a big year. Also, below, you’ll see New York Kennedy got a big traffic bump from Jetblue, which began operations in 2000. 

LAX chart 4

  • As you can see below, LAX officials are bullish on international traffic. In the past six months, airlines have announced new flights to Stockholm, London Gatwick, Oslo, Jeddah, Abu Dhabi and Sao Paulo.

LAX chart

  • Some of the airport commissioners said they’re concerned San Francisco International Airport is seeking to “steal” many of LAX’s international flights. But this slide below puts the competition in perspective. LAX still has almost twice as many international passengers as San Francisco. 

LAX map

  • In terms of international flights, San Francisco gained on LAX during the middle portion of the 2000s, in part because United and other Star Alliance carriers increased schedules at SFO. But since 2010, LAX has been holding steady against SFO, according to airport officials. 

LAX chart 2

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Saudi Arabian Airlines to fly between LAX and Jeddah

Saudi Arabian Airlines will soon start flying to LAX. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Saudi Arabian Airlines will soon start flying to LAX. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

I’m a little late on this one, but Saudi Arabian Airlines will begin thrice weekly service between Los Angeles and Jeddah in April, according to airport and airline officials.

The airline, a SkyTeam member that goes by the brand name Saudia, plans to use Boeing 777-300ERs for the route, according to a release. 

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Video: Go inside a flight simulator with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

An excellent video produced by Amsterdam Schiphol Airport takes you behind the scenes at  KLM’s flight simulator training facility.

You can either use the video to brush up on your Dutch or read the subtitles. Either way, you may gain a new appreciation for pilot training.

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