Episode 57: When The Seat Belt Sign Goes Off with Nicole L. Davis

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Today, I get to talk to Nicole L. Davis.

Nicole’s career was on its way to her becoming an international businesswoman when she decided to make a change and become a flight attendant for a major airline. 

In this episode, she will be getting into the details about her life as a flight attendant – it’s not the lifestyle that you’re imagining it is, but she does get to travel the world. She also talks about her book, When TheSeatbelt Sign Goes Off, and there are a few things that she wants travellers to know about flight etiquette.

Let’s go:

[02:33] Nicole’s travel history.

Nicole’s childhood travels consisted of driving down from Michigan to Alabama to visit family every summer.

Nicole’s grandfather worked in the airline industry, and her flying experience came from traveling with him to the West Coast.

[04:50] Becoming a flight attendant.

At the time of the financial crisis in 2008, Nicole needed a job after her business fell flat. She never considered being a flight attendant as a career.

One of her new job applications was to an airline that was hiring, and she has since made it her job and career – and she is thoroughly enjoying it.

[07:22] What does it mean to be a flight attendant?

Many people think the flight attendant life is glamorous.

This is a very dated stereotype.

There are flight attendants from all over the world, each with their own backgrounds, cultures, shapes, and sizes.

It’s a lot of work – even more so during the pandemic!

[08:21] Passengers.

Flying, especially for infrequent flyers, can be a stressful process – all the lines and checks, and the typically confined spaces onboard an aircraft.

Nowadays, it’s starting to seem like passengers’ social skills have deteriorated, and combined with the high stress environments around the world, this makes for a more unpleasant experience overall.

[10:16] When the seatbelt sign goes off.

This is Nicole’s book, where she gives the details about the past 8 years of her career as a flight attendant.

These stories include what happens on the plane, once she leaves the plane, the joys and struggles of always being on the go, what happens between trips, her life at home, unique experiences, and some passenger stories.

[13:18] The lifestyle.

Starting out as a flight attendant, you’ll typically be on-call 24/7, and you can’t choose your schedule.

As you progress with your career, you’ll be able to have your own schedule – as long as you get your hours in every month.

On layovers or long breaks in between trips, Nicole typically rests unless there’s someone in the city that she knows and wants to catch up with. On the extra long layovers, the crew may go out to do some of the activities on offer in the city.

[25:47] Exploring on her own.

At first, the prospect of exploring a city on her own was daunting. After some getting used to the idea, she starting building her adventure muscle and got into solo traveling and exploring.

Her solo traveling started with a trip to Mexico after her friends couldn’t make the trip.

If you’re thinking of traveling solo, remember that you’re not the first – and keep your wits about you. Be a traveller and not a tourist. You’ll be fine.

[31:56] Traveling while black.

Nicole hasn’t had any terrifying issues while traveling. She has, however, experienced the looks that people give her in different cities, as well as the undercurrent of racism in all sorts of different situations around the world.

Often, traveling as a person of colour, it can be isolating. Even when seeing other people of colour, they’re most often staff or vendors. These experiences add to the realisation of the magnitude of the racial inequities at play across the globe.

Experiencing negativity or racism abroad, Nicole suggests being strategic when addressing incidences – especially understanding the social nuances of the destination. It’s important to have conversations with locals about your responsibility as a foreigner.

[41:27] Has travel changed Nicole?

Nicole’s first international trip was a study abroad in South Africa. Her experience changed her understanding of the world, and she realized she had to travel and see the world.

Nicole recommends travelling in order to become a fully alive human being.

[45:52] Nicole’s best travel trip.

Be respectful, have some sense about you, and be aware that you’re a guest in someone else’s country.

Get off the resort and explore the destination.

[47:58] What should travellers stop doing on planes?

Just sit down, use your headphones, and watch your movie.

Stop walking around the cabin, stop walking around barefoot, be courteous to your neighbors, and have some manners.

When a flight attendant tells you to sit down during turbulence, it’s for your safety.

[52:37] Where to next?

While she’s taking time off for now, Nicole is getting ready to go to Hawaii next, and then wherever her life leads her.

Being a flight attendant, Nicole has such incredible stories, and we didn’t even get to all of it!

If you travel frequently, I’m sure you could relate to some of the stories she shared here today. If you travel less frequently, I hope this episode has shed some light on the lives of the people that work tirelessly to make your flight experience as comfortable as possible.

If you want to know more about Nicole, check out her socials below:

Website: https://www.seatbeltsign.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chimcflygirl

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