Q and A with a Flight Attendant

Derick Moore, Hostos ‘13, Flight attendant with JetBlue


This interview was conducted by Jason Libfeld, Student Leadership coordinator, and has been edited for length and clarity.


Q: How have you been involved in your communities response to the COVID-19 pandemic?


A: Well, I heard the word "essential worker" for many years, like going through high school and college and stuff, but you never think that you're an essential worker until you're actually kind of cleared. Being a flight attendant, it started off good, and it's still good now, but because of the COVID virus, I've been sitting a lot. I commute to New York every month, I was working, flying a lot, but now I'm just sitting in the crash pad a lot. And that's a good thing for me, but it kind of put a damper on how much I'll be flying. So I don't know if I'll ever fly again, I don't know if I'll have a job again, but they are kind of trying to help us out with hours and stuff like that. I'm basically just stuck right there, but I'm also a DoorDasher, which I found out is an essential worker too, so when the airlines are not working me, I'm always at a steady, fulltime job with the DoorDashing.


Q: What have you been asked to do differently, and how has your role changed as a result of the current crisis?


A: Because JetBlue is kind of the entrepreneurs for every other airline, a lot of the flight attendants were already saying people need to start wearing masks, people need to start wearing gloves, it should be mandatory whenever you go out to do certain things, or if you want to fly, it should be mandatory. So to see that actually happening now with a lot of other airlines and to know that the company that you're working for is listening to you, that's a good thing. That's our impact as flight attendants under the JetBlue. I can only speak for JetBlue, I can't speak for other airlines.


Q: How has your job and role during this crisis impacted you? I mean, personally, professionally, emotionally, physically?


A: Professionally it's still the same because of the good things that they're doing, but personally I'm a little worried because I'm used to flying, so I came to this new airlines for better opportunity, but COVID happened. It's just kind of put a damper, because I don't know if I'll ever fly again, or I don't know if I'll ever be able to be offered another flying job because of COVID. So I'm just hoping for the best. It's put a lot of stress because I go to New York and I sit, not knowing if they're going to need me, which they haven't needed me for two months. And then I just come back home, and I don't know I'll get a seat on the flights now for work, so commuting has become a little bit stressful now, to where I need to take at least a month off.


Q: What advice do you have for others entering your field during a time of crisis?


A: I don't think they'll get to enter the field at this time of crisis, but if they do, in this industry, it's a lot of hurry up and wait, so I've just gotten used to waiting a lot. You just have to stay positive; if you really want to do be a flight attendant or whatever career you want to be in, it's a lot of waiting around before you get to actually rush and get to do what you need to ... that you want to do. I'd rather be sitting [at home] than be at the airport around the virus and stuff. It's kind of working out for me, but at those times I feel like it's not working out, I just have to remain positive and just be happy that I still have a job.


Q: If there was another crisis, what would you recommend people do?


A: If there was another crisis, since we already know how difficult this one is, people need to be more attentive. Airlines, safety is their number-one priority, and I felt like if people were more safe and more clean, then a lot of things wouldn't develop. I feel like a lot of things develop over time because people, they get too comfortable about what might not happen. I think this is showing us that certain things can happen, but being safe for just yourself and other people can prevent things like this in the future.


Q: What have you observed of COVID-19’s impact on your field, community, city, or nationally from the perspective of your profession?


A: I didn't really think that it would impact me, but over time, it impacts everyone, everything just slowed down. People didn't take it seriously, and then when companies started closing, there's a lot of major companies that are really closing, so it's a little frightening to not know, well, is my company going to close too? It's just mind-boggling, I try to just not focus on it a lot, but I know lot of people out there that don't have jobs and are struggling when a lot of industries are really, actually hiring, but a lot of people are not going to want to take those type of jobs. It's understandable, because they're so used to doing one certain thing.


Q: Please share your message to the Hostos community during these difficult times.


A: When I graduated from Hostos, I wanted to do music, that was my main goal when I graduated, to do music. I moved to New York to do music, and there were times I got discouraged, that's why I went to college and got my degree and stuff, for better hope, hoping that discouraged-ness would actually lead me to being positive about music and maybe getting a career in music. It's taken a little longer, maybe I'm not pushing myself more, and for some reason I ended up in the travel industry. I use that opportunity to stay positive, saying, okay, well, if I'm a flight attendant, I can get free flights to go back and forth to New York to do my music. I was working on that as we speak, but COVID happened and through all the times of struggle with the music and then, just now with COVID and my job, I still have to remain positive. I can't get unfocused, I have to stay focused on what the main goal is, and I think everyone needs to stay positive and focused on what the goal is. We have crises like this all the time, it's just this one just got worse. We'll prevail from it, you just have to stay focused for the next time and be prepared.

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