My life as a flight attendant during coronavirus pandemic

The past couple one weeks have been incredible heavy, especially for the Black community. It’s time to speak up.

It’s time to wake up and do the work to destroy systematic racism that has been falsely lingering in our culture for too many years. I’ve talked about racism in my stories before and will not stop to raise my voice.
2020 is a year of changes. We’ve been already through a lot. Giving up is not an option. You’ve heard this before, but we are all in this together. You are doing mighty fine! Let me tell you that you are blessed, loved and very appreciated. :)

A lot has changed since Covid19, and I my personal roller coaster of emotions just hit rock bottom. I will share my thoughts about the past months in quarantine in this blog post with you. My last flight was a repatriation flight to Chile and I returned on April 2. Exactly three months, or 91 days later, I’m at home with no duty flights in my roster.

I have to admit I was secretly enjoying the first weeks in quarantine with a regular sleep and meal schedule. Something I didn’t experienced for the past 20 years of full-time flying. It was not easy in the beginning, when flights got cancelled and borders closed one country after another. News spread and so did the virus. At one point, the whole world came to a halt. Lockdown in major cities, empty streets that reminded us of ghost town. Literally. There was nothing we could change. My roster was published empty in May. The same in June. I was hoping for a flight with the new flight schedule, but it’s still not the frequency of flights we had before Covid19. The virus has affected the entire airline industry globally, with many airlines grounded. After intense talks, Lufthansa’s supervisory board had decided to accept an agreement over a 9 billion Euro rescue package reached with Germany and the EU. Part of the deal involves ceding take-off and landing rights to competitors at major hubs in Frankfurt and Munich, as well as giving up aircrafts to competitors. This money is not gifted at all, and must be paid back in high interest rates. An Extraordinary General Meeting will be held on 25 June where shareholders will decide on the necessary stabilisation measures. Until then, we can only wait and hope for the best. Nobody knows exactly what’s coming next. There has been news about a total of 22,000 fewer full-time positions in the Lufthansa Group while 100 aircraft will remain grounded after the crisis. Restructuring is not avoidable for sure to survive, but spreading news about layoffs are just clickbait articles. It’s really important to stay calm and positive as we have to wait until the vote is over next week. I’m trying not to get involved too much regarding news or rumours.
(I started writing the article mid of June. The Shareholder’s Meeting is over and 98% voted for the rescue package!)

So the new flight schedule for June has been published with many destinations mostly within Europe. Most of these flights are fully booked as the travel restrictions have been lifted in many countries. It’s mandatory to wear a face mask on ALL flights with Lufthansa. Before you start your travel, please make yourself familiar with the country specific regulations along your journey. Click here for more details.
I can’t tell you how much I miss flying. Even though I will eventually get on a duty flight soon, nothing is like it has been before. You will hardly see our smiles behind the mask. The fear of getting contracted with the virus is dominating our lives and leaves no space for human interaction which is really sad. But that’s the new normal I guess. Please bear with us, as we do our best to make your flight as enjoyable as possible. :)

I am more than grateful that shareholders accepted the rescue package by the government. It is basically a loan which comes with many strings attached. Nothing is for free. Except sunsets. ;) The nerve-wracking waiting time of uncertainty is finally over, although I knew deep in my heart that there will be a positive outcome. Tears were running down my face in Lisbon, when I finally received the news that Lufthansa German Airlines is not going insolvent. I know that I am really blessed to work for this airline. My heart breaks whenever I read articles about airlines that had to layoff employees or became bankrupt. I wish we could all keep the jobs that we love so much.

My July roster is out and I’m happy to have a seven day reserve line this month!

The RB stands for Rufbereitschaft(on call duty) which means crew scheduling will call you between 5-6pm to let you know about the further schedule. I already saw some flights during my reserve line and I hope I get to fly one of the North America rotations. Fingers crossed.

So what will the future bring for the aviation industry? Nobody has the answer. We survived crises like SARS or the Gulf War, but not a pandemic like Covid19. Lufthansa just has published the flight schedule until October. The load factor for short-haul flights is around 70%. Depending on country regulations, we also see an increase in long-haul flights. But things can change any time, when countries close their borders again due to high Covid19 infection rate.
What we know for sure is that we are not flying on full capacity. We can’t request flights since there is no stability, so we only have standby or reserve lines in our published rosters. Or sometimes, nothing. It’s easier for crew scheduling to distribute the flights day by day when they know for sure that the flight is operating. So all of us flight attendants have rosters with only one or two flights per month, if ever. My rosters of the past two months have been empty. Plus, we are on short-time work(Kurzarbeit). All in all, there will be a financial loss in salary over the next months if not years, with all the new arrangements that comes with the rescue package. But it’s still better than being suspended, so I’m really grateful for still having my job that I love so much.
2020 has been a challenging year so far. I’m very happy that I was able to get the license for the B747 in December last year. It gave me the opportunity to fly to destinations I missed so much, such as Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, Mexico, Seoul and the repatriation flight to Chile. Unfortunately, Lufthansa has transferred all A380 to Munich and the big birdie is about to retire soon. I had a great time flying this aircraft, but decided last year it was time to get back to my first love B747 and it was the perfect timing, since there are no more A380 flights operating from Frankfurt. Slowly but surely, flights on the B747 are back in the flight schedule and I can’t wait to fly with the Queen again.

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough. I will end this blog post with this quote by Oprah. I know it’s easy to complain in these uncertain times, but we are all in this together. Please don’t lose hope. I’m here to push you to be the best version of yourself. Every single day is a new chance for a better life. Don’t waste your time complaining and being unhappy, when you can live life to the fullest. And don’t forget. You are wonderful and perfect as you are!
Sending you all the love from my place to yours.
xx
Ji

2 comments

  1. Love your uplifting words at the end! This really apply to everyone.
    I hope that we all recover well from the pandemic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*