Flight Attendant Life: Reserve Pairing

That Girl Named Carol
3 min readAug 12, 2022

Reserve AKA OnCall — something that flight attendants know all too well.

Welcome to my reserve pairing. Today is day 1/5.

When I got hired at my airline we had an equity bidding system and we held one block of reserve for 4 days each month. The most junior flight attendants got called out first and it was alright. I worked all the time. I often listed for them to call me first OR pre assign me a pairing so I could just get it over with. It was a grande time. I really liked that system.

Now my airline has gone to senority bidding and we hold more than one block of reserve each month. Now we can hold as many as crew planning sees fit which often means 2 blocks of 5 days of reserve back to back. In total it is 10 days of oncall shifts. Flight attedendants get called out from the most senior down.

Today is day 1/5 of morning reserve. My call out window started at 3am — it goes until 3pm. My anxiety doesn’t let me do that good of a job being able to be productive at activities outside the house. So it is low key like I am on house arrest. I just pace around my house doing things like writing this post, or cleaning or meal prepping — sometimes in the winter that means crocheting.

12:24 pm — I got a call from crew scheduling with an offer for a full 5 day pairing. An offer means…

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That Girl Named Carol

Retired Barista and globe trottin’ English Teacher turned Architectural Technologist turned Flight Attendant out in the world trying to live the dream.