Reserve Life


Q. What can all of you tell me about what it is like after you first become an FA? What about the Reserve, how long are you on it?

A. Most likely you will sit reserve when you begin your career as a flight attendant. A reserve flight attendant is a flight attendant that fills in for sick calls, vacation time, crews that go illegal and a myriad of other purposes that the original flight attendant is no longer on a trip. The reserve system varies from airline to airline and can be a straight reserve system or a rotating system. A straight reserve system is when a percentage of the flight attendants, starting at the bottom of the seniority list sit reserve until attrition, hiring and/or growth of the airline allow for them to hold a line, meaning a schedule. A rotating reserve system is a shared reserve system which can mean many things. Some airlines have a set time period of say five years for sitting reserve and if you still don’t hold a line then a rotation of sitting reserve every other month begins. Or it could be that all but the top ten or twenty percent of flight attendants sit a few days of reserve every month.

Q. Do you get paid for being on reserve?

A. Yes. You are paid for your time on reserve. Again, it varies from airline to airline, but generally you are guaranteed a certain amount of flight hour pay whether you actually fly those hours or not. Some months you may only fly half of your guarantee while during busy times such as the holidays or spring break you may break your gaurantee and get paid above and beyond that.

Q. What’s reserve life like?

A. I believe reserve is what you make of it. It is true that you don’t have a lot of control of your everyday life when you are on reserve, but you also never know when you’re going to get a call to fly to Paris or Honolulu! You may not have holidays or birthdays off for a while, though if you ask me everyday is a holiday with a career as a flight attendant.

Hope that answers some of your questions about reserve. Have any others? Let us know in comments and we’ll be happy to answer them for you!

Photo courtesy of Jetlagged Comic. Be sure to check out the Jetlagged Comic Store for bags, travel mugs, t-shirts and more adorned with their awesome flight attendant cartoons!

Happy Flying!



Posted in Lifestyle   |   2 Comments

2 Responses so far.

  1. Jamie says:

    So I am a type 1 diabetic on an insulin pump. Do any of you know any Type 1’s? Im trying to see how they deal with jet lag. That is my only concern. I may do corporate flying. My health is not ready for me to fly over seas just yet.