Crash Pad Living

ImageOnce again, I am WAY overdue for a blog post. It has been several months! As you may know, I took a job as a flight attendant a little less than a year ago, and have been on the job now for about 6 months. I started flying internationally in December and you may have noticed my blog posts coming to a long hiatus. I do not bring my laptop with me on my layovers, which has hindered my abilities to post, and I have still been busy forming new friendships, finding a permanent apartment (which this post will cover), and exploring my new home of Miami. I am going to try to get back into the habit of updating this more often, though not daily like in the past. I have many new adventures to summarize, so there should be plenty of good material coming up soon!

For my first post back, I would like to talk about my life in what is called a “crash pad.” If you are not familiar with the flight attendant lifestyle (and yes, I say lifestyle, because it is more than just a career switch), you may have never heard of this term before. I hadn’t. Flight attendants are constantly on the go and do not get to spend much time at their residence, due to laying over in other cities. Many also commute to work (ex. a flight attendant may be based in NYC but live permanently in Boston) due to ease of air travel from flight benefits. For this reason, they may need a space to sleep in their base city, but do not want to commit to a full-time lease. Or they are a new flight attendant hoping to save some money during their first few months of the job and are still getting time to learn the area of their new base city or are hoping to quickly transfer to a new base if they did not receive their first choice. For this reason, cheap, temporary living is ideal. Hence, the concept of a “crash pad,” or a place just to crash between flights. When I received Miami (my first choice) as a base, I wanted to make a more permanent move down there. I wanted an apartment with my own room. There was a group of about 11 of us heading to Miami from my class, and another girl and I decided that we wanted a 2-bedroom apartment. However, never really exploring the city before and having limited time (and money) to find an apartment made our search difficult. Many of our classmates were hoping for a crash pad and there were a few crash pads that were commonly recommended to us. Well, we decided that would do that for about a month of two until we found a better place. Four of us joined a one-bedroom crash pad right next to the employee parking lot for the Miami International Airport. Yes, one bedroom. Due to the coming and going of flight attendants, a crash pad typically has many flight attendants or pilots crammed into a small space, since they are rarely all present at the same time. The point is just to “crash.” We had a large couch, a queen-size bed, and several air mattresses for when the four of us happened to be at the apartment at the same time. This was rare. The other three flight attendants commuted and caught flights home after their work shifts. Many times, I was the only one at the apartment. The other perk of a crash pad is saving money. We each paid $300 a month, which included all utilities, use of a pool, and a small fitness center. The one-bedroom by itself would have been $1200 (which is still somewhat high for Miami, but we paid the price of convenience of proximity to the airport). Before I knew it, I had been in the place until the end of January (after moving in at the end of September). Not my original plan. The other girl decided that she did not want to move down here permanently after learning how easy it was to commute and how much money could be saved. I still wanted to live in Miami, so I waited it out at the crash pad until a girl from my class who was based in NYC transferred down. In February, we moved to a 2-bedroom apartment about 25 minutes south of the airport. I have found that I am much less stressed now that I have my own room and can locate all of my belongings. At the crash pad, we had limited space and my things were mostly stowed away in my trunk or in piles in the closet at the apartment. Also, when there were more than 2 of us there at a time, sleeping arrangements became difficult and/or awkward. We tended to have preferences (I liked the bed, though one girl really preferred the couch and another would only sleep on her air mattress), so it worked for the most part, though it became stressful when one girl was trying to go to sleep (usually me…) and a couple of the others were preparing themselves for a night out. It definitely became a learning experience and I began to appreciate things in life that we take for granted, such as having our own room to retreat to when needed!

I am very happy at my new apartment, but did save a lot of money in a crash pad and gained a few valuable lessons. And as mentioned in a previous post, I do recommend having roommates to save money. This takes it to another level, but is an option for anyone (even those not in aviation), hoping to save money for a few months!

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3 thoughts on “Crash Pad Living

    • I have plenty of advice! Feel free to email me (on my “About” page) and I can answer any questions that you may have. As far as getting a desired base, ours was based on seniority (age) within our class. Each base only had so many flight attendants that they were accepting at a time, so a few people (the younger ones in the class) did not get their first choices. I would say to think very carefully about all options (proximity to family/friends, routes flown at the particular base, ability to obtain trips that you’d like, etc.) and be very flexible if you do not get your first choice. When I first took the job, I had a different first choice, but after learning about the flying in Miami and the odds of getting to fly internationally quickly (plus the added perks of warm weather and nearby beaches), I decided on it as my top choice and was lucky to receive it. I have been working for about 6 months now and everyone from my class has already been able to transfer to their first choice bases if they still wanted to do so. As long as you can make it work for a few months, you are able to transfer easily!

    • Also, I forgot to add that if you speak another language and are qualified as a “speaker” for the company, then you may be assigned to the base where you are needed most (even if it was your last choice). This happened to the Spanish speakers in my class and there are definitely pros and cons of having the language qualification.

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