A woman with bright smile wearing red sleeveless gown and black hair; Tales From a Former Flight Attendant Tammy Robertson Ep 99

Tales From a Former Flight Attendant | Tammy Robertson | Ep 99

Introducing Tammy

In today’s episode, we’ll be talking to Tammy Robertson. Tammy Robertson is a registered nurse who serves as a Food For Life Instructor for the greater Sarasota area in Florida. Her company is called Planted Into Wellness and she uses her medical experience to help guide people to improve their health through coaching. Tammy (alongside her husband Dave) was also a traveler on our inaugural Northern Italy trip in 2022 and she was great fun to travel with through the Italian lakes, dolomites, alps, and the Italian cities of Verona and Venice!

Probably the reason she is so much fun to travel with is the fact that Tammy is a former flight attendant, a job which I think you will agree is only suited to some people especially those with a sense of humor and Tammy has that in spades.

Today’s episode is a little bit different as Tammy will share with us her experience of working for an airline as a flight attendant Consider it more of a storytime episode.

In this episode we discuss the following:

  • How Tammy came to work as a flight attendant?
  • What the recruitment process was like?
  • What the schedule was like for Flight attendants?
  • Perks that flight attendants get when traveling
  • The challenges She’ll share some of her flight attendant secrets and hacks.

Learn more about what we talk about

  • Her experiences while traveling as a flight attendant
  • Things to keep in mind while traveling
  • Amazing tips as a former flight attendant

Other World Vegan Travel content connected with this episode

Connect with Tammy


Brighde: Hi, Tammy. Thank you so much for joining me on The World Vegan Travel Podcast.

Tammy: Thank you so much for having me, Brighde. I’m very excited.

Brighde: I’m really happy to have Tammy on the podcast because I met Tammy for the first time when she was one of our travelers on our Northern Italy trip, and I just really enjoyed talking to you about this topic, which is, about your past career and which was a flight attendant, and I’d loved listening to your stories, and I just thought it would be fun to talk about that and maybe you can share some tips and tricks about travel from a former flight attendant. But before we get into all of that, Tammy, would you mind telling our listeners a little bit about who you are, where you are, and what it is that you do in the vegan space?

Tammy: Yes. Thank you very much again for having me. I’m just so excited to be here with you. I am many things within the vegan space. I began my vegan journey almost 10 years ago. I am a registered nurse. I started off in Arizona in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, and I worked at a level one trauma hospital where I would say half of my patients were trauma-related car accidents, motorcycle accidents, getting kicked by horses, thrown off of horses, ATV accidents, and things like that. Slipping, falling with elders and seniors. The other half I would say patients were coming in for chronic disease, exacerbations of chronic disease like they had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, the whole cardiovascular disease, that whole umbrella of diseases. Lots of inflammatory diseases as well. So these are what we call med-surg patients. So I was doing about half and half. In my career I learned a lot, being a level one trauma hospital, treated lots of patients, but I really felt like I didn’t have the time to address the root cause of the disease. I was flying around, with my hair on fire for 12 and a half hours, just rushing, rushing, rushing patients, getting discharged, new patients coming in, barely at a time to use a bathroom, barely good time to drink any water or eat any food.

 I started to realize a pattern Within the healthcare setting, we are so good at really putting people back together. We’re so good at technology. You go outside, and get hit by a bus, you know we have the technology, we can put you back together. Where the issue is, when it comes to chronic disease, and we’re talking about those diseases and conditions that I mentioned, they say, depending upon the statistic, up to 80% of these conditions are related to food or lifestyle. I’m trying to get to the bottom of it. Within that setting, I really couldn’t do it because I just didn’t have the time to spend with my patients, to educate them.

 I left the acute care setting or the hospital setting, and from there I went into an integrative oncology practice. That is when I made that connection. You know that aha moment when you’re like, wow. I just had no clue about this. So when in the integrative oncology practice where I was, the patients were raw vegan, and of course, I was coming in thinking, what does diet have to do with cancer? I had no idea. Wanting to become a better nurse for them. I started to dive into the link between food and chronic disease, specifically food and cancer. I was just elated and at the same time, I was really disappointed because I didn’t get any of this information in nursing school. Doctors don’t get it. Nurses don’t get it. Nurse practitioners, no one in the healthcare field gets this information about the link between truly healthful nutrition and chronic disease burden. We’re very good at pills and procedures, but when it comes to prevention, there’s a lot of work to be done.

 Fast forward, I spent an entire weekend with my husband. It was Labor Day weekend, and we watched all sorts of documentaries on health, the environment, and the animals, and we were like, that’s it. We are done and literally, we’re one of those anomalies overnight, went through the fridge, the freezer the cupboard, the pantry, took everything out that was animal-based and was like, we just chucked it in the bin and we’re like, that’s it. We are completely done. We told our friends, if you want it, come and get it. But we’re not doing it anymore and we haven’t looked back since. So it was this kind of desire that after getting this aha moment I really wanted to spread the information that I knew because I’m a big believer in knowing better you can do better. Right? I wanted to bring this information to the masses. I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and make sure that everybody knew that this is really important information and potentially lifesaving. So I became a business owner and I had two separate businesses. One was, Robertson Health and Wellness, and then I had my Cooking On The Veg, Health, and Wellness. One was more geared toward health coaching and lifestyle medicine. And the other one was more culinary medicine, teaching plant-based classes. I am now going to merge them together. At the beginning of the year, we will have our new website up and our new name and the merging of these two sister businesses that I have under one umbrella called, Planted into Wellness, and I’m so excited.

Brighde: Congratulations. Congratulations, Tammy. I know personally that creating a new website is no small feat. So well done on all of that. Can you just tell us what kind of services or information will you be providing to people and how will you deliver that?

Tammy: I’ll be providing health coaching, nutrition information, plant-based cooking classes, and a community, because that’s really important when people make this transition, not to feel that they’re alone. So to provide a community virtually. Lifestyle medicine takes into account those six pillars of lifestyle, medicine, and, culinary medicine and brings it all together. So we’ve got a little bit of everything. If you want me to go into the grocery store with you and help you with your transition and where do you shop for helpful foods and what areas to stay away from? Do you want me to come to your home? I can go into your pantry and say, okay, let’s go through this and we can clean this up.

 This is, again, all to provide education. That’s really what I’m passionate about, getting this education out, both to other healthcare professionals, as well as to lay people so that they can make a choice every time they pick up their fork, spoon, or knife to cut or to poke something or to get it into your mouth that it’s, you could either be contributing to disease or you could be fighting against that disease and reduce your risk.

Brighde: Wow. That’s great work, Tammy, that you’re doing, and thank you so much for doing that. I know you live in Florida, so I’m sure there’s a lot of demand for these kinds of services and I wish you all of the best of luck with this new direction that you are heading in.

Tammy: Thank you.

Brighde: You alluded to this before, that you have done quite a few things throughout your professional life already, and one of them is, as a flight attendant. I thought this would be a really interesting thing to talk about because I always have lots of questions for flight attendants and I know I asked you lots when we were traveling around Northern Italy together, and you’re such a good storyteller as well, so I thought maybe you might like to answer a few questions that perhaps, people would be interested in knowing a little bit about behind the scenes, but How did you come to work as a flight attendant? What kind of worlds collided that made that happen?

Tammy: Yes. I became a flight attendant, by accident. I was living in Chicago and I had lived overseas in Spain for a few years unfortunately, my visa ran out and I couldn’t get another job I really didn’t wanna leave Europe, but I was forced to do it. Either it was, getting married to one of my best guy friends over there and my parents were not having that. Or it was, you gotta leave and maybe try to make your way back. So I was actually, on my way back to university, for graduate school, for international business. When my oldest sister, who was already working for American Airlines at the time, said, you know what? Why don’t you take a year off, defer your enrollment for a year and become a flight attendant? Just do it for a year. I know you wanna get back to Europe. I was like, yeah, that’s probably, that’s a really good idea. Like why not? Why shouldn’t I do that? So I thought about it for a hot minute and I was like, okay, yes, I’m gonna do this. So I joined one of the major airlines, just with her encouragement and I became a flight attendant and that was in 1998. I had planned on being a flight attendant just for a year, and that turned into almost nine years. I was a flight attendant and had so many wonderful stories and places visited and people. It was fantastic, one of the highlights, and probably one of the best times of my life really.

Brighde: Yeah, when you were talking about all of those things, it reminded me about my tour-leading days as well. It was hard, it was challenging. There were a lot of crazy things about it, but yeah I looked back on that as one of the most exciting times in my life. So what was the recruitment process like to do this? Because I have heard a lot of different stories about, quite an intense recruitment process, particularly if you want to work internationally for longer whole flights, that kind of thing. So can you spill the tea a little bit on that?

Tammy: Yeah, so at the time it was an eight-week program, in Chicago, and we stayed in the dorm, like accommodations. I believe it was something like six days a week where we would have classes and courses to get ready to become flight attendants. They had all the mockups of all the different types of airplanes. Everything from DC-10, which I don’t even think they fly anymore cuz they were old in 1998, but they retired them out to the desert, I think in Arizona, a few years later because they were just dinosaurs. They had all the aircraft there and I had three other roommates, then we had one room. There were four suite mates and then we had one bathroom. It was just like dorm living. We got food and everything was taken care of. We just stayed in this one building for all of our training and it was intense. We did lose quite a few people because people think, oh, this is super easy. I’ll just kinda skate through this. There were certain things that you had to pass for safety. That’s the most important thing, the safety thing. You have to know how to ditch an airplane in water. You have to know how to prepare for the crash landing.

You have to know how to prepare for an aborted takeoff or an aborted landing. All these things that you don’t necessarily think about, but that you do need to have some training in. You need to know how to handle situations. So we did lose quite a few people, but with the people that made it through, we were a very tight group of people.

Brighde: Sounds really intense for sure. So after you got through the training, did you go directly onto international travel?

Tammy: I really wanted, that was my goal is to get back out of the country because at the time I just didn’t wanna live in the country anymore. I started traveling internationally when I was 12 through my school on a gifted foreign exchange kind of thing that we did. My first trip out of the country was to Peru at age 12. I really enjoyed it. So my whole goal was to get out and I was disappointed that the bases that we had internationally did not have any open positions. So I started off in Chicago, flying and that was all domestic flying. The bases at that time were, you have international bases and domestic bases, and they did not cross over. So either you were an international and only flew international, or you were domestic and flew only domestic. The first opportunity, I got to get out of the country again was, when Heathrow- London opened up. It only took a few years but I did wind up over there for quite a number of years, almost seven years. I really enjoyed it. That was the best flying for me. I am not a domestic goddess. I know many people are, but for me, it was all about international. I didn’t like the hopping around. You get on a plane and on the west coast, then you wind up on the east coast, but then you gotta go up, down, up, down. By the time you’re back on the east coast, you’re completely shattered. But I like the one up and down. That was it.

Brighde: Got it. So once you started flying internationally, what was like a typical month for you in terms of like how many of those days were you actually flying and where might you go during that time?

Tammy: When you’re first starting out, at least you don’t have a typical month because what happens is there are two different types of flying. There are people on reserve who tend to be very junior. New hires up to a certain point. When you get to that point where you have enough people underneath you to bump you up to a more senior position, and that’s when you’re called like a line holder, you can hold the line, which means you have a set schedule, you know ahead of time exactly where you’re going. how long your layovers are, you know who your crew is, and who you’re flying as a junior person being on reserve. It could be anything from, we got a four-hour call out and you know you’re off to the airport to go somewhere, or you’re sitting around on standby at the airport waiting for cancellations or weather or mechanical, something going on. Fortunately from London. We did West Coast, we did LA we did San Francisco, Chicago, JFK, New York, and Boston. Those were the places that we flew and then we actually wound up getting a route to New Delhi from London. That was absolutely amazing. When that route came out, it went relatively junior. So instead of just being at the crew desk would call up and say, Hey, you’re going this place. For some reason, with my schedule and my availability, I wound up in India for four months.

Brighde: Wow.

Tammy: Consistently, no US trips out of London, only India trips, only to New Delhi. It was nice because, I loved going to India and the days that you do pick on reserve, at least with both reserve and being a line holder, you have your days of availability, you have your set days off, right? So they couldn’t call you in on a day off or whatever. Sometimes, rarely a trip might run into your days off by accident, just due to some underlying factor but it was really nice to be able to have those set days off and to be able to clump them together. So I would try to make my trip so that I would have seven days or 10 days of trips on, and then two weeks off.

Brighde: Nice.

Tammy: Which was super nice cuz then I’d get to go and travel and visit friends and family all over the world but yeah, it was really nice to be able to be even junior, but at the high end of junior versus the low end of Junior, just having these schedules that just didn’t work very much at all. I think those are the golden years of flying.

Brighde: You’ve alluded to me that you think things have changed a little bit, it’s, it’s still really interesting to hear about what life is like as a flight attendant, whether it’s in the past or now. It’s super, super interesting. Maybe this is something that has changed since you were a flight attendant, but are you able to speak a little bit about like the perks that you would get as a flight attendant apart from possibly living, and spending time in another country? Were there any particular perks that were pretty exciting?

Tammy: Yeah, so obviously the number one perk of becoming a flight attendant is the travel perks, right? At that time, we could go, as long as there was space available based upon seniority as well, you could go anywhere you wanted to, in the world. It may have been initially free, but then, I believe during the course when I was a flight attendant, they began to charge more and more surcharges and things like that. So definitely the flying is the benefit because I could literally leave Chicago or decide one day, Hey, I wanna go shopping in Paris, and just on a whim, there’s my passport, and there I’m getting on a plane and I arrive the next day and that was the perk of it. You could bring your friends and things like that because planes were not as packed as they are today. There was more space, definitely. So I would say the travel benefits, number one. As you said, with the possibility of living abroad. I had the best time with my London crew and all my London peeps and give them a shout-out cuz lots of them are still there. Miss you guys. Discounts even on hotels. Discounts on other airlines that were associated with the airline that I worked with. Discounts on shipping. I literally shipped my entire flat from London when my flatmate and I relocated from London to Barcelona. I shipped my entire flat contents via FedEx overnight, and it was like $500 like my stuff got to our new place in Barcelona before Fiona and I did.

Brighde: That is really a perk. As somebody who has traveled and moved their belongings from one country to another by shipping. It’s expensive and air shipping. Wow. Amazing. What was the hardest part of the job? Because I know when I was working full-time tour leading for a travel company, for me, I would say the hardest part was developing quite close relationships with our travelers, over the period of two weeks that I was with them, let’s say. Then, we would share our souls for want for a better world and then they would leave and then you would be meeting all of these new people again. I love doing that now. I love meeting people now cuz we are not running 20, or 25 trips a year but this was quite challenging for me. I didn’t have a home base, so I’m wondering what were some of the hardest parts about being a flight attendant?

Tammy: I think for me, like on a more personable level, it was really hard to form relationships. It opened you up to meeting lots of people on airplanes. So in that way, you got to meet a lot of people but to maintain or to start a brand new relationship with someone. I’m married now, but the guys at the time that I was dating found it really hard for me to be gone for so long and then not realize that I needed a day of rest afterward. Cuz you get home and then you’re totally shattered and then you know you’ve gotta rest up and then these back-to-back trips and not having the time. I think that took a toll, also something that was, challenging. It’s just living out of a suitcase. I get to the point like you said where you just feel like a nomad like you don’t have a home because you’re constantly in the air.

 I remember several times when I would wake up, in a country and not know where I was. I literally would wake up in my hotel room and be like, okay, now turning on the TV to find out, Hey, am I in Japan? Oh yes, I’m in Japan or yes, I’m in Spain, or yes, I am in India, or wherever it was that sometimes it just gets to be so dizzying. Another challenge I think for me was the monotony. For me that got to me, doing the same thing, with different people, but you basically have the same job as first and foremost safety, safety, safety. After that, it’s making them comfortable and providing a service and the food and making sure everything’s working with their entertainment and things like that. That kind of did get to me after many years of doing the same thing. I think those were probably the biggest challenges.

 Then too, as you said, you make friends all over the world I’ve traveled to six continents, and my girlfriends, trying to get me to go to Antarctica. I’m in Florida, right? And I’ve got the thinnest blood, ever since I moved to Arizona, now I’m in Florida and I just don’t see it happening. But who knows, maybe we’ll get on one of those icebreakers or something and go down there and get to see. It’s a whole other world down there, isn’t it? Antarctica

Brighde: I would love to go too. Yeah. When you were talking about the relationships thing, definitely, that was something I struggled with as well. I remember when Seb and I first got together, we were in Morocco and there were only three tour leaders in Morocco, so it was very rare that we were in the same place at the same time. So we would go to quite extraordinary lengths to try to see each other. So we would look at our schedules, and there were some days during our Morocco tour when there would be fewer activities than others. So basically I would find myself traveling right up to the north of Morocco, to see Seb for half a day and that was it. We did that for a few months and then we were like, no, we actually want to be together. But otherwise, it was really difficult. It must be very hard for people to maintain these relationships. I certainly found it very difficult but then when I was living in Thailand and I was based out of Bangkok tour leading as well. They had 20 or 25 tour leaders and they were like family. I will say most of them were like family. You always had a good friend there. But if there was one particular person that you wanted to see, then you were probably gonna have to go quite far out of your way in order to see them. Yeah. It’s interesting how flight attendants and tour leading have some crossover here. Really interesting.

Tammy: Yeah. 

Brighde: Did you work mainly with economy or business or first class when you were working? Are you able to share some of the pros and cons of each class? From a flight attendant’s perspective?

Tammy: Yes. When you’re junior, you tend to be in the quote-unquote “the back of the bus”. So it was the economy section most of the time. And sometimes I would go to business first, but the people who really can make or break a flight and in-flight service are the people in the galleys. You have the people who are in the economy galley, the business class galley, and the first class galley. They’re the ones that are plating stuff up, they’re putting things in the oven, they’re taking things out, they’re making sure everything is running smoothly. And my hat’s off to them cuz there are some people who absolutely loved galley duty. For me, I was comfortable in the economy galley, not so much in business, and definitely not in first class because they had a lot of extra things that you had to know. And it’s all about that timing, right? It’s all about the culinary world, they call it the “mise en place” everything, exactly where you need it and set up. So all you have to do is pull stuff out, bing, bang, boom, and done. So there are advantages, to each class, obviously. First class, I loved flying first class. I got to the point where I just didn’t wanna fly economy anymore. So if I could get business or first class, I would do it. If not, I just wouldn’t take the flight. Cuz you get so used to you sitting back and relaxing. Of course from the flight attendant’s perspective, there’s a lot to do. It’s all about service with a smile and getting to know your passengers and being, personable with them.

The advantage of being in first class, of course, is the space, your personal space. Now you get to lie flat and you get your own private screen and lots of things, you just get your own little pod or your own little space and that I think is one of the best things. Just having the space. The noise is because in first class you have to be of a certain age. There’re no infants allowed in first class, so that’s nice too. Just the food as well. The food is top-notch in first class and the champagne versus sparkling white and all that stuff. That’s really nice. Being in first class too, you have fewer people to serve, although you have more involved service. With business class I think you also have to be of a certain age, cuz I don’t think there are any infants in business class either. Cuz obviously people are going to that class because they’re on business, they wanna be able to work and some people just like having the extra space. So it’s still nice to work in business class, which I enjoyed because the people were quite amazing. There are lots of interesting people that you’ll find in first and business class. Lots of Hollywood and famous people, politicians. I met some very interesting people. I’ve met, Bill Clinton. I’ve met quite a few actors.

Michael Bublé, who’s not an actor, but he’s a musician. Bruce Willis, I had on a flight. Some of them keep to themselves and others, they wanna come up and they wanna talk to you and you’re just like, oh my goodness, Keanu Reeves, amazing. He’s my celebrity crush. An amazing person, an amazing individual, super nice, and some of the nicest people. I’ve not had a famous politician or an actor or a musician on, that was not nice. All of my experiences have been very good.

Brighde: Oh, I’m really happy to hear that. That’s really nice. Here’s another question. Perhaps, what is it that travelers can do to make flight attendant’s life a little bit nicer, stress-free, and easy? Cuz I’m sure there are things that we do, whether deliberately or by mistake, what are some things that we can be aware of within ourselves to make flight attendants’ life easier?

Tammy: Thank you for that question because this is so important. There are a few things, but number one, the most important thing that you must, please remember, it’s not only for flight attendants but in any service industry. Be kind, to your flight attendants, because if you are kind, if you’re nice, if you’re engaging, if you’re talking to them versus coming on and dropping your bags right in the middle and just be like, put this up in the overhead bins for me. Be kind to your people, the people who serve you, no matter what industry it is, coming from my perspective, being a flight attendant. We will go out of our way to do something nice for you. If it’s your anniversary and you’re engaging with us and you’re telling us, Hey, it’s our anniversary, we might make an announcement over the PA. We might get a bottle of champagne. There are definitely perks to being kind. Please and thank you go a very long way as well. So I would say that probably is first and foremost as far as secrets to help your journey be a more pleasant one.

Another tip that I would say is to, when you pack your carry-on luggage, be sure you can lift it over your head. Please don’t ask the flight attendants to do that because can you imagine, every passenger that comes by with a heavy bag, can you put this up in the overhead bag? And they always used to get me, Brighde. Do you know why? 

Brighde: You’re very tall.

Tammy: And I used to wear heels, so I was like over six feet tall. I’m normally 5′ 10″ flat. I would wear those heels down the concourse and right up into the plane and during the service I was over six feet. I was like 6′ 1″, 6′ 2″. People were like, oh, let’s ask that tall woman back there and they’re like, excuse me. Can you help me with my bag? And I would always do. It is true, we are not supposed to help with bags because it damages our backs. Then, we’re out for longer periods of time. So please, whatever you’re bringing on board, please make sure that you can put it up in the overhead bins and that it’s not a ton of bricks that you have in there. 

Also another tip, and I have seen this Brighde, unfortunately, please do not put your pets in overhead compartments. Please don’t do that. Put your pet, in the pet carrier underneath the seat. Your pet should not be just sitting on your lap just because like anything else that’s sitting on your lap. If that airplane has to go through turbulence or comes to an abrupt halt during takeoff or taxi or landing, your little pet is not going to be in a good way. If it goes wrong, it can go really badly. Yes, bring your pets on but please make sure that they’re in a secure carrier or underneath the seat, or not underneath the seat, but secured in your seat area.

Another kind of funny thing that I laugh about now is I have this thing about blankets. Back when I was flying in economy, in domestic travel, used to see blankets, maybe like one every row, and those blankets Brighde, let me tell you, were not hygienic at all. 

Brighde: Oh, really? They’re not cleaned.

Tammy: No, if they’re not in plastic, if they’re not wrapped up in plastic, of course on international flights, you get them in all three classes. That’s wrapped up in plastic. But on domestic flights, after a flight, we used to fully go through the cabin, pick up trash from out of the seat pockets and things that were left like on the ground and things like that. So we were responsible for tidying up, which included also folding blankets, but they were not washed, and we did not get new loads of blankets on for every single flight. So literally that blanket was the same blanket that someone had on a 5:30 AM flight, all the way down to that midnight flight. So you can imagine, especially nowadays with germs and things going on with pandemics and other things, really important. I haven’t seen them on domestic travel. I think they’re only for internationals. But if you do get a blanket, make sure that it’s A, wrapped in plastic, and B, that you actually look at the blanket.

Because sometimes they have stains on them that were not removed during the laundering process, and this is why it just gives me the heebie-jeebies. I’m like, Ooh, the blankets. So my advice to all your listeners out there, B Y O B-bring your own blanket and bring your own pillow too, because those pillows were exactly the same thing. You get someone snuggling up to it at a window seat, then they leave it on the seat. Then the next person comes in on the next play. Then they’re snuggling up to it. 

Brighde: Oh, that’s a horrible thought.

Tammy: Sneezing, coughing, blowing their nose in blankets. It just doesn’t do it. Just bring your own. They’ve got wonderful blankets and pillows now that are really super compact that you can fit in your luggage. Yeah, bring your own pillows, B Y O P. Please do not use those airlines’.

Brighde: Yeah. Oh my goodness. You’ve successfully educated me in this area. Oh my goodness. Okay, Tammy. Do you have any really interesting sort of out their stories of something that happened on your flights at all?

Tammy: Yes, I have some, during my almost nine years, I experienced a lot of things, met a lot of people, had some, scary things happen and some wonderful things happen. I remember, when I was flying domestically, it was in Chicago, we were taking off from O’Hare International Airport, and I think a day or two maybe after, a blizzard. So the runways, seemed like they were just icy. Everything was white. We had to de-ice the aircraft and we were boarding a flight. I forgot where it was too, but it was a 767 aircraft, so it was larger, it was a wide body, dual aisle configuration with 2 at each window and then three or four in the middle, and I was working in the back. I was working in the economy. I was sitting over the wings. So we had three flight attendants that were over the wings. I was in the middle seat. I had a flight attendant who was brand new to my right and another flight attendant who was more experienced than I was, to my left. We were in the teeny tiny little galley space area there, and we were in charge of the window exits, so if anything goes wrong, the window exits. That’s what we were in charge of. So we had in the back of this 767, I bet, we were probably like maybe 15-20% full. So lots of open, empty seats, so people like to lie down across like the middle section and that was fine. I think the load was relatively light wherever it was that we were going. On takeoff, we hit wind shear. So that means that instead of going up and in a straight line, we were doing one of these things. 

So the aircraft was rolling, it was going from one side to the other side. And I’ll never forget like I think it’s an instinct. Whenever you are in, whether it’s a car or an airplane, whenever, there’s some danger immediately, what’s the first thing people wanna do? Instinctually they wanna get up and out of their seats. Right. But when we started going like on from side to side and climbing from side to side like that, I was thinking, oh my gosh, we’re gonna flip over. People got out of their seats and that was the worst thing to do because of course they hit one cabin wall into the next cabin wall and hit the seats and things like that. No one was seriously hurt. Thank goodness, but people were banged up with broken arms and legs. It was one of those things where we had to emergency land again. I was prepared mentally to ditch that aircraft in Lake Michigan, which would’ve been absolutely freezing in January after a blizzard.

My colleagues were wonderful and we had to land again, and we got the ambulances there and we got everybody taken care of. As I said, no one was seriously injured, but that was probably one of the most frightening experiences I’ve had. I’ve been on a flight where we hit sudden turbulence. This is why I always tell people, when the captain comes on and he or she says, keep your seatbelts fastened at all times, because you never know this is one of those odd times that, we hit such bad turbulence. That was totally and completely unexpected that the carts that we were serving meals on, went up and then came back down.

Brighde: They’re heavy, those things as well.

Tammy: If it comes down on your toes as it did with one of my colleagues, it was very serious. That’s why I say when you’re at your seats, always keep your seatbelt on, it doesn’t have to be super tight, but keep it on. Cause you just never know.

Brighde: Just basically do what the captain and what the crew say. Just do that.

Tammy: Mm-hmm. 

Brighde: There is a reason behind it.

Tammy: Exactly. Another tip Brighde, before you get on the aircraft, you can please use the lavatory and get all of your business done before you get on the aircraft. It’s not that big of a deal, but it can cause problems when you’re at the back and you’re trying to make your way to the lavatory, which is in the middle of the aircraft, and it can cause disruption and flow.

So as we’re doing this many seats. All the windows go first and the middle seats go next, and the aisles go next. That’s not random. There is a reason why they’re making those announcements, so don’t try to sneak in. Don’t be one of those sneakers and try to sneak in when your number and when seat assignment is not called. So always try to use a lavatory of the bathroom before you get on, and then when you’re on in there and you’re experiencing turbulence if you can try to hold it. Don’t get up in the middle of turbulence because you then become the projectile that is in the aisle that is bouncing all over and injuring yourself and other people as well.

So when the captain’s got that Fasten your seatbelt, sign on, stay in your seats just like the flight attendants, and remain seated. That is one big thing. I know that flight attendants everywhere are probably shaking their heads. Yes, please stay in your seat.

Brighde: I love it. Amazing. Awesome. Okay. Tammy, this has just been so much fun. It’s lovely to talk to you again and talk about this kind of mystery that is, a flight attendant’s world and I hope our listeners have got some useful tips about traveling on a plane from you. So thank you so much for sharing them. Tammy, before you go, tell us again how people might get in touch with you.

Tammy: Yes. Right now, I am actually on Instagram under, aztamtam. I can be followed there with my little adventures and travels. Actually, I got pictures that I posted from our trip to Brighde, from Venice, from the canals that I have with my husband there. Also once the business gets up and rolling, and the website is built, you can go to planted into wellness.com.

That’s spelled just how it’s. Planted into wellness altogether. I can also be reached at, [email protected] as well.

Brighde: Thank you, Tammy. Thank you so much. And one last quick question before you go. Have you got any travel plans? Where are you going next?

Tammy: Oh yes, I do. We do have some travel plans and we are planning another trip with you, with World Vegan Travel. 

Brighde: Are you now?

Tammy: Your listeners need to know you guys were fantastic. That trip, David and I have traveled, not a lot, but we’ve done our fair share of travel, and the trip to Italy, just really blew our socks off. Thank you, guys, so much for such a wonderful travel experience. Because it was such an awesome travel experience with you, David, Colleen, and Seb. We are going to book another World Vegan travel trip. I know you don’t have the schedule that far out, but hopefully, Rwanda, is our dream trip in 2024 because hopefully our home will be done in 2023. When you’re building, everything goes into building a home, right? 

Brighde: Well, that would be lovely. We’d love to travel with you both again because you two are just awesome. That was such a great trip and all of the travelers on that trip were just so lovely. Yes, we are actually heading to Rwanda to run our 2022 trip next week. It probably has happened by the time this podcast goes live, but something that we are doing is actually, gonna be looking at some cheaper hotels, so hopefully, bring the price down a little bit cuz it is quite expensive with the hotels that we use right now. So it might look a little bit different in a couple of years, let’s just say that. But yes, we would love to have you traveling with us again. Tammy, you are just so much fun to travel with and so glamorous. Listeners, Tammy just dresses so beautifully and is always so glamorous. Every day she would come down very gracefully with these beautiful outfits and I was like, oh my goodness, Tammy, that dress is gorgeous.

Tammy: Well, that’s why I had the two-ton suitcase and you need to only tell Dave to be sure to listen because he tells me all the time about my shopping habits, but I did not buy anything on that Italy trip. So I was very proud of myself because I was trying to scale down for this move from Arizona to Florida. So yes, I was very proud of myself. I say if you’re gonna travel, travel in style. 

Brighde: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today. I really appreciate it, Tammy.

Tammy: Thank you for having me.

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