Since flights depart at every hour of the day with different durations, flight attendants work at various hours and have odd schedules. Far from the regular 9-5 schedule, the Federal Aviation Administration requires a certain amount of rest in between flights for flight attendants and limits the number of duty hours they can work. Although flight attendants have odd schedules, the flexible schedule and travel benefits make this a competitive and popular job. Depending on the airline, a reserve schedule is very different from a line holder schedule.
As a new hire, most flight attendants will be placed on a reserve schedule. A reserve flight attendant is on call and must be located close to the airport or at times will report waiting inside the airport. Most reserves can expect to be assigned 18 reserve days in which they must remain available to the operation.
While it depends on the base and airline, a flight attendant may be on reserve as little as 3 months or even 20 years!
Working as a reserve can be tough since at some airlines you must be available for 24 hours. On call flight attendants usually get the flights that line holders don’t want to work. Typically, these flights have long legs, low pay, and undesirable layovers. Reserves will usually work weekends, holidays, and be tossed into working during irregular operations. While it depends on the base and airline, a flight attendant may be on reserve as little as 3 months or even 20 years! Even though the reserve life is tough, these flight attendants will receive the same travel benefits and about 12 days off per month.
Line holder Life
At the start of each month, flight attendants are allowed to bid for their preferred schedule for the following months. Depending on your seniority, you are awarded trips that you may swap, drop, and trade. A line holder has much more flexibility than a reserve flight attendant. A line holder can work as little as a few days to at times 25 days per month. While some airlines cap the number of hours a flight attendant is allowed to work each month, each flight attendant has a different motive when selectin their schedule. It’s important to remember that some flight attendants commute into base, enjoy red-eye flying, or prefer longer trips.
One of the best things about being a flight attendant whether junior or senior, is that there is always some form of flexibility to your schedule and you can always work something different. Flight attendants may get the cookie crumbs as a reserve, but soon enough they will be line holders and have the ability to work as many days or as little days as they like each month.