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SIGNATURE PAULA MAREE



THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT LIFE DURING LOCKDOWN


It’s now been six weeks since I returned to the sky and it sure has been an adventure so far! I feel blessed to be back doing what I love. But with half of Australia recently going back into lockdown, the outlook for the Australian aviation industry remains very uncertain. In this post, I’ll share some insight into the what the Flight Attendant Life during lockdown is really like!


From the moment I stepped back on the plane I felt at home.

It may have been more than a year since I last operated, but it many ways it felt like I never left.

The crew at Virgin Australia have all been so welcoming and although each airline has its own culture, I immediately felt like part of the family.


Last week, Airline Ratings announced their annual awards and once again Virgin Australia took out the coveted ‘BEST CABIN CREW’ category.

This is an incredible achievement for an airline that was in voluntary administration for more than six months of 2020 and is a testament to the resilience of the crew. It’s an incredible feeling to be a part of the best in the business and I am so proud of the people who have worked tirelessly on the front line, flying throughout the peak of the pandemic.


The past year and a half has been a testing time for everyone. But somehow, as Flight Attendants we still show up to work with a smile on our face!

We understand it’s a stressful time for our guests as well and are striving to make people feel at ease. And we also know that everyone is keen to getaway. Sadly though, the coronavirus pandemic continues to plague our industry.


Melbourne was in lockdown when I first came out on line and the delta variant was also starting to spread in Sydney.

My first layover was in Sydney just prior to lockdown, but I was exhausted after an eleven-hour day and fell into bed. I didn’t leave my hotel room as it was a short overnight stay and at the time I also had a sneaking suspicion that this was the start of a very serious outbreak. One week later, I myself became a close contact of a confirmed case from the Sydney cluster and I spent two weeks at home in quarantine. Fortunately, I am fully vaccinated and I felt fine. Yet, it served as a very real reminder that this virus is still circulating and we all need to continue to keep doing our part to keep each other safe.


Personally, I actually enjoyed the downtime, as it has been an exhausting couple of months. Any flight attendant will tell you that ground school is absolutely gruelling!

Over the past few months I have spent every spare minute studying safety and emergency procedures and learning the airline’s service standards. So it was nice to give myself a break and let it all sink in. I used my time in quarantine to complete an online course to further my professional development and I also did some spring-cleaning in my home. Of course, I missed flying and I was disappointed to spend my birthday alone again this year. But I also practiced a lot of self-care, so that when I did return to work I felt completely refreshed. I am now ready to show up as the best version of my self, as I start this new chapter in my career!


It’s great to finally be back in the air and I’m enjoying learning to serve business class.

Although our flights have been quiet in recent weeks due to the widespread interstate border closures, people are still flying for all sorts of essential reasons. Everyone has a story to share and its been a time to be compassionate, but also to connect with those who from regions who are still able to travel freely.


As cabin crew we are used to be flexible, but never has that been more true than now that we are in the middle of a pandemic.

Each night I go to bed, not really knowing where I’ll be the next day. Our rosters are updated on a daily basis as restrictions constantly changing. Behind the scenes, the airline’s operations team are working incredibly hard to keep planes in the air. And for now I feel fortunate just to have a reason to leave the house!


The Flight Attendant Life during lockdown is slightly more glamorous than it is for everyone stuck at home.

Spending a night away breaks up the monotony of lockdown life. However if I’m honest, I’m still spending most of my time away lounging around in my trackies and socks, watching trash TV in bed! Over the weekend I had a layover in Canberra, but at the moment we are still restricted to hotel quarantine when flying into red zones. This meant that I couldn’t leave my room, but it was 6 degrees and raining outside, so in reality I doubt I would have anyway. Instead I spent the afternoon in my super comfy hotel bed, re-watching episodes of the new season of ‘The Bachelor’. (Its rather hilarious watching all of the corny aviation references. Of course the new Bachelor is a pilot and I can’t help but agree with Steph here, but hey, I still love it!)


I’m now home in a Melbourne and was excited to have four days off. Sadly, our lockdown was extended though, so I’m still confined to my apartment for majority of the day.

After enduring our 5th lockdown, I think we are very all relieved that the Victorian government has just announced that restrictions will ease from midnight tonight. Tomorrow I’m taking myself to a day spa, but my heart goes out to the people of Sydney. Cases there are still on the rise there and it seems that it could at least another month until they see restrictions ease. Extended lockdowns are something that Victorians can empathise with and the only way to truly know how it feels is to have endured it for your self.


That being said, the key is self-care and allowing yourself to have up and down days.

We’ve all felt incredibly anxious throughout this pandemic. But I do still believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is not forever. One day we will learn to live with this virus. And we will board planes and travel again. If coronavirus has taught us anything, it is that everything is temporary.


One year ago, I didn’t have any certainty surrounding my job and I spent my days dreaming of the time that the future would become a little clearer.

I’m now incredibly blessed to be back doing what I love and for that I am truly grateful. Even if does mean complying with the rules of the Flight Attendant Life during lockdown and quarantining on the very few layovers that are my roster right now.


Have hope Australia! We will get through this and one day we will be free to travel the world again. But for now, let’s look forward to the end of lockdowns and exploring our own backyard when the domestic borders reopen. I hope to see you all back in the sky soon!




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