it was monday, may 12, around 7:15am. everyone came down to the lobby with their roommates, not knowing what to expect, but excited about the prospects. some of us were not used to such an early morning wake-up call, but our adrenaline was fueling our energy and we made it through the day of paper-pushing and filling out forms. we tried on our uniforms and the girls were unhappy to find out that the pieces run small, but we all got that glimpse of what we would hopefully look like at the end of the four and a half weeks – blue polyester baby!
the first week was full of admin tasks and aircraft basics. i kept thinking to myself, “didn’t i already graduate college? what is all this reading? i thought the days of homework and pop quizzes were long gone!” boy howdy, was i wrong! those before me gave fair warning, but i never imagined that this training would prove to be more intense than a semester of college with two jobs, 16 hours, and multiple campus organizations.
continental training week two consisted of emergency equipment, basic first aid, and service. i learned how to administer cpr, use an aed, and deliver a baby. we even got to “fight fires.” the thing i couldn’t get down was “would you care for a ham or turkey sandwich?” we are to use complete sentences when speaking with the customers – like that is how it goes in the real world!! one day we actually got out of the classroom to work a real flight. mine went to washington, d.c., but i didn’t see dubbya. at the end of that day i was having second thoughts about the whole gig. i had a difficult time with motion sickness and was completely overwhelmed by the galleys. so much to do and not enough time!! luckily i had already made great friends in class and they were the main reason i stuck around.
emergency evacuations and the boeing 737 consumed our thoughts in week three, but we made it through. the phrases “come this way, jump and slide, get away from the plane” continuously ran through our thoughts – or as my friend allison would say, “come this way, follow me!” now you can all have faith that if we make an emergency landing i’ll get you off that plane, and supposedly in 90 seconds!
our last full week focused on the other three aircrafts, 757, 767, and the glorious triple seven. this week dragged quite a bit, but after constantly watching planes out our hotel windows and nights on the roof of the parking garage, we were actually able to identify most of the planes! one day of the fourth week was completely focused on business first service, which is reserved for international flights. we were rolling out of the training center after warm nuts, soup and salad, appetizers, fruit and cheese, and the delicious sundaes – it’s a good thing they held off on serving us a main course! (believe me, this was a great change from the daily ham or turkey sandwiches and steak and cheese pizzas!) friday of that week we got our uniforms back and most of us were pleased to find that we were still the same size as we were at the initial fitting.
the last few days of training flew by! we had a test, finals, our initial operating flights, and then graduation. as ready as we were to be done, it snuck up on us and there were plenty of tears shed as everyone went their own way for a few days off.
continental has three bases, houston, newark, and cleveland. we are the first class of the year to have people going to all three! everyone got the cities that they wanted, but i am sad to be separated from the ones that i became really close with. as for me, i am headed to newark right now and am positive that it hasn’t hit me yet! i’ll be living in an apartment with at least four other girls from my class, and two of the guys are going to try to join us. there may even be people that we don’t know in our apartment.
my first flight will most likely be on saturday since that’s our first day on-call. i’m not sure where scheduling will send me, but this will definitely be an adventure!