canada airline

This is what it's like working for an airline in Canada right now

We are just like you. With families and friends, young kids and dependant elderly parents at home, we’re also living with the fear of contracting & spreading COVID-19 — not to mention the threat of layoffs looming over our heads.

Worldwide, people are being urged to stop international travel, but in the next few days, even as everything begins to close, my colleagues and I will continue to go abroad to bring your parents, friends, and loved ones home to Canada.

Myself and another colleague share a glance at one another as each passenger does the same. Families, eager to return, arm themselves with medical masks and oversized containers of Lysol wipes as they board the plane.

Every single one of them vigilantly wipes down their entire seat section, scrubbing the seat cushions, headrests, armrests, entertainment system, and the window, before they take their assigned seat.

It’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.

The flight out is eerily empty with under 30 passengers on a plane that fits over 300. And that’s considered a lot nowadays - I hear from colleagues that their flights are emptier still.

This is what it’s like to live through a historic pandemic.

I hear stories of colleagues being denied medical services, appointments, and being turned away by family and friends because our job, by definition, is to travel.

Their worries are well intentioned however, so I genuinely can’t blame them for wanting to isolate themselves away from us.

And yet, during this rapidly evolving public health crisis, airline cabin crew continue to tirelessly put on their uniform every day to bring people home.

How do I keep myself going through this difficult time? All we can do is take it day by day and continue to support one another though all of the unknowns. I think of the kind passengers passing Lysol over the aisle to a family without so that they could also protect themselves.

Kindness, after all, is more valuable than fear. I hold on to that.

This article has been submitted to Freshdaily by someone who currently works as a flight attendant. Sarah Nelson is a pseudonym.

Lead photo by

Daifuku Sensei


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