I’ve always wanted to be a flight attendant. When I was little, I would fly with my family. The flight attendants were always really friendly, and that sparked my interest. The job was so glamorous – flight attendants get to dress nicely, travel all over and meet lots of interesting people. I wanted to travel the world and get paid for it.
Fast forward a few years and I was working the front desk at one of the hotels that ExpressJet flight crews would stay at in Destin. I would see the crews come in and I’d hear all about their travels. I loved getting to meet these pilots and flight attendants. I decided it was the right time in my life and I applied to join them.
I interviewed and was selected to become an ExpressJet flight attendant. My training class began Feb. 4, 2013.
I went through weeks of training: the anxiety of test days, hours of studying potentially life-saving information, memorizing airport codes and making some great friends in the process. Every Friday night, we would relax together and study for the next week.
On the last Friday, we had finished all our classes and everyone had passed the final. We went out to celebrate together for the last time before graduation. After a nice dinner at a nearby restaurant, we were walking back to the training hotel when my life changed.
I was walking ahead of the group and was crossing the street at the crosswalk. I didn’t see the car coming. I don’t remember much of the accident, but luckily I was with a group of friends and their emergency training went into good use. One called the ambulance, one called my mom and the rest were collecting jackets to keep me warm and keep me from going into shock.
Luckily, we had just finished training for this type of situation. They were talking to me to keep me stable and awake; one friend was holding my head. Rose Branda and Erin Botti, now ExpressJet flight attendants and friends, rode in the ambulance with me and stayed at the hospital all night, keeping my spirits up and my mother updated (she was at home in Florida).
ExpressJet flew my mom out to stay with me. I was in the hospital for five days. I had some great doctors and they let me out the night before my class’s flight attendant graduation. My accident wasn’t going to stop me from attending graduation. I knew I would never forgive myself if I didn’t get to support my friends as much as they had supported me. I went to graduation in a wheelchair to congratulate them – they all deserved it!
The recovery process took about five months and ExpressJet asked if I was ready to come back to training. I talked with my doctor about my goal of returning to training in August and I worked really hard to achieve it. I was able to go back to training in August 2013 to finally become a flight attendant.
The second time through training, I wasn’t as nervous as the first time around. I helped the others in my class study, calmed them when they were anxious and promised them that they’d get through it. I graduated valedictorian and my classmates gave me the superlative award for “most supportive.”
On graduation day, I was proud to finally walk across the stage as an official flight attendant. ExpressJet’s vice president of People Resources attended personally and gave me a huge hug and congratulations. My instructor Enrique Oriol had the honor of pinning on my wings, and my other original instructors Valetta Wright and Ernesto Ros came to support me as well – everyone was very happy.
I’ve been on the job now for almost three months, based in Dulles, Va. It’s been a huge culture shock to move to such a big city, but I love it. I’ve met some great people and have worked with amazing crews. It’s fun to be in a different city every night and get to see things that not everyone gets to experience.
The airline industry is very different than how I thought when I was younger, and I’m different after my experience, but it’s still glamorous. I look forward to every day that I go to work.
-Chelsea Green, flight attendant – IAD
ExpressJet is hiring! Learn more about becoming a flight attendant and apply at www.expressjet.com/careers.