Let me introduce you to KayLeigh Kennedy – flight attendant extraordinaire. If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like, or if you’ve dreamed of your own office being 30,000 feet in the air, this one’s for you! Any questions for KayLeigh? Ask her on her Instagram @misskaykennedy or in the comments below!
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Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
KayLeigh: I just turned 30 last year! I’ve been living in Chicago for the past 10 years and feel that I have just started living my best life. I’m 2 years into my new career of being a flight attendant after being in the bar/service industry for almost 15 years. I couldn’t be happier!
Q: What made you want to become a flight attendant? How long have you wanted to be a flight attendant?
KayLeigh: I have wanted to be a flight attendant since I was about 5. When I was little my mom and I lived in Southern California and my dad lived in Michigan, so every couple of months I would fly back and forth by myself. I remember the flight attendants being super nice, always happy, and made me feel really special. I knew that was what I wanted to be when I grew up!
Q: Which airline do you work for?
KayLeigh: Southwest Airlines.
Q: What would you say sets Southwest apart from other airlines?
KayLeigh: They are in the business of taking care of their employees first, in turn we feel valued and take care of our passengers. They give us the tools and freedom to use common sense and be ourselves to give our passengers a memorable experience to make them want to fly with us over and over.
Q: What are the basics of being a flight attendant?
KayLeigh: First and foremost, you kinda have to be crazy (in a good way, ha). You have to be flexible and always on your toes. A typical schedule for us is 3 days on and 4 days off. Most trips are 3 days in length and on average will fly 3 flights a day, but it could be up to 5. You generally spend 18 hours on an overnight at a hotel that is provided by the company. Anything beyond this explanation looks like:
Q: Would you say that being a flight attendant is your dream job?
KayLeight: Yes, absolutely.
Q: What’s your favorite city to visit while working?
A: Anywhere I can get Jameson! More seriously, my favorite overnight so far has probably been New York City. It’s been on my bucket list and I was finally able to explore a little bit.
Q: Have you explored a city and found a unique statue/bar/restaurant/etc that people should check out?
KayLeigh: This list could be endless, but off the top of my head…
In San Diego there is a restaurant called Mitch’s Seafood. Almost everything on the menu is caught locally and prepared that day. All I am going to say is: Halibut Tacos. It looks like one of the docks and is behind a tackle shop. It’s very unassuming and you most likely wouldn’t know it was there unless a local told you. For any Air Force enthusiasts, the Air Force Memorial is quite something in D.C. Also in the D.C./Dulles area – the Air and Space Museum. If you’re ever in San Francisco, the cable cars are really awesome to check out.
Q: What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?
KayLeigh: Traveling as much as possible. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a private pilot’s license.
Q: Are you currently taking any steps to direct your path that way? If so, what?
KayLeigh: Well traveling is the easy part, usually once I pick a place I want to go, I am fixated until I go there. As for a private license, I have been asking questions of our own pilots, a lot of whom started out flying privately or know others that are private pilots to get an idea of what steps I need to take to get started.
Q: What tips do you have for young girls or boys who want to be a flight attendant?
KayLeigh: Airlines are hard to get hired with, so don’t give up if you don’t get hired on the first try. Some flight attendants applied a few times before being accepted. If you’re a redditor, join some flight attendant subs. There are also Facebook groups you can join for those that have applied to airlines. Next time you’re taking a flight, talk to a flight attendant about a typical day, find out if it’s right for you. It can sometimes be a mentally and physically exhausting job, it’s not for everyone. If you are a home-body or only like sleeping in your bed, or eating near a bathroom this may not be the career for you.
Q: Since you’re on the go constantly, what’s your favorite gadget that you use every day?
KayLeigh: Power bank, ha! And a book, always.
Q: What does success look like for you right now?
A: Success for me has always been about being happy and a productive member of society. I feel that the world defines success in absolute terms of order, ie graduating college, getting hired in your field, making money, buying a house, marriage, kids etc. But I feel that if you are happy regardless of what you’re doing, you have achieved ultimate success.
Q: Who is your role model?
KayLeigh: This is not specific to one person. I admire anyone who has the courage to stand up for others, whether they have a voice or not. These are the people who are humble, and don’t take life for granted.
Q: What “girl power” or “empowering” moment have you had recently, where you’ve just felt really proud of yourself?
KayLeigh: So I mentioned that I just turned 30. Well, I wasn’t like most you hear about who dread the inevitable and you find them sometime during the party in a corner crying. I was talking to a fellow flight attendant and she asked how old I was so I told her. Her follow up questions were standard, as we get a new crew to work with every trip. She asked if I was married/significant other, I said I have a boyfriend living in Germany. She asked if we had kids, I said no. Her questions continued as such (you know what I mean with the guilt trip, bio clock and all). I used to get defensive about my life and come up with reasons why I wasn’t married or had kids, etc. and I finally decided that it doesn’t matter, I don’t need those things to be happy or successful (see previous question, haha). I create my own happiness, not that other flight attendant or anyone else. Do you know how freeing it felt to be able to say that to her and mean it? I wasn’t rude to her or dismissed her opinion but a simple, “that’s not where my life is right now and I am okay with that.” It empowered me to come to that conclusion and I felt proud of how I got there. I had to do a lot for myself growing up and it made me who I am. A strong and independent woman who is trying to follow her dreams. (*snap snap*)
Q: What is the most interesting thing you’ve seen on a flight?
KayLeigh: I had a woman once come on the plane and she basically had a custom made “seat cover”. She wiped everything down with sanitizer first, her tray table, seat and window. Then she pulled out a seat cover and placed it over the seat to sit on and she put a plastic cover on the tray table. She also laid a small mat on the floor for her feet. All while wearing gloves and she brought her own glass to drink out of.
Q: What are you watching on Netflix right now?
KayLeigh: I just finished Newsroom (highly recommend). I am restarting Grimm and I just got into Suits.
Q: The constant change in air and weather has to affect your skin. What skincare products do you use?
KayLeigh: Oh my gosh, that is an understatement. Drink water, water and more water. And a consistent skin care regimen. Wash, pat dry, moisturize, repeat. And a damn good face mask at least once a month. Also, did I mention to drink water? Here is list of the products I use to keep a fresh, rested look even when I don’t feel that way. It’s important to have an SPF in your daily moisturizer as well. The mask I use is ahhhhmazing and you can channel your inner Iron Man while wearing it!
And DRINK WATER!
Q: What is your favorite place you’ve ever visited? Even if it’s outside of work?
KayLeigh: Hands down, Ireland. Ireland was at the top of my bucket list ever since I could remember. I didn’t know a damn thing about it other than I needed to be there. It was everything that I imagined and more. The countryside is peacefully gorgeous (just like all the pictures you’ve ever seen). The cities are quaint, welcoming and rich with history. I cannot wait to go back.
Q: Where can people follow you on your travels?
KayLeigh: Instagram is where you can find me @misskaykennedy. I am newish to Intasgram so I am trying to post more of my travels, but I also incorporate a lot of my daily life too. Not only am I a flight attendant. I am a traveler, lover of whisky and a cat mom.
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