Recently, we spoke to Ashley Rose Legrand, who is an Inflight Crewmember at JetBlue in the USA. She has spoken about her journey into aviation from a background in Public Health. She speaks about the benefits and also the challenges of working in the Flight Attendant industry.
Making the choice to fly
My background is in health care, fitness and nutrition. I am a former figure competitor and I have a Bachelor’s degree in Public Health, which I used while working at a major health care network in New York City upon graduating college. I enjoyed all these things to some extent, but I was looking for more and I knew there was more. I wanted more time freedom and flexibility and I wanted to travel. Seeing the world, experiencing different cultures and learning through these things was always a dream of mine. I knew this could provide the fuller, richer, more expanded life I had always envisioned. That’s when I turned to flying.
Being a flight attendant can be the most freeing and liberating career path. You are quite literally, “free to fly.” Your time is (mostly) your own and your ability to create your schedule is your own. Your lifestyle is up to you! There is a lot of agency in which to build your desired life.
As wonderful as flying can be there are a few things that become essential to this non-traditional lifestyle. Flying requires diligence, patience and a commitment to your own well-being. The job itself, although seemingly “simple” can be rigorous and demanding. Keeping yourself in ‘top shape,’ not just physically, but mentally as well, is imperative. It enables you to face whatever the day may bring and thrive in what can often be a high pressure situation. Getting adequate sleep, prioritizing healthy meals and engaging in regular movement on layovers are three of the most important tasks. And adding in a calming, grounding practice is icing on the cake. It’s so important with all of our daily stressors and the constant stimulation of airports, take-offs and landings and the perpetual hustle and bustle, to be mentally sharp and focused. Investing in health provides a next-level edge. It paves the way for success on and off the aircraft. This can be true for all people in all careers as I too have experienced even before flying, but now I’ve seen and learned that in this career field, it’s non-negotiable.
Although being a flight attendant is exciting, enriching and rewarding, this unorthodox career can also be quite challenging. Non-traditional schedules, crossing time zones, long days and constantly changing sleeping environments can present difficulty in staying healthy and well. Taking care of our bodies and minds is paramount to our success in our careers and in our lives in general. Prioritizing sleep and eating nutritious quality meals is an absolute must. Having food from home with you wherever you go allows you to be ready for the day no matter what should arise. Delays and disruptions are a very real possibility and being prepared allows us to mitigate problems that could come from not being able to access food while traveling.
This career offers me the ability to be in a constant state of gratitude. It’s a gift to have inspiration always at my fingertips, through an ever-changing landscape that I am lucky enough to call my ‘work’ environment. Although sometimes challenging, investing the effort to be at my best, for both myself and all those with whom I come into contact with is extremely rewarding and worth all of the effort. Like anything, it gives back what you put into it. I continue to give it my all and it continues to give me more than I could have ever expected.