RareJaunt.com recently had the opportunity to talk to seasoned travel veteran Brooke Bond-Zeiter about her time as a tenured flight attendant for a major airline company. Traversing the globe became a necessity as life interrupted her previous career path. She rose through the ranks however and since then has set foot in some of the most fascinating places on earth.
RJ: Please tell us a bit about yourself and your travels thus far:
I’m going into year 14 of my Flight Attendant career. I’ll start by saying it’s been quite the ride. I graduated college with a degree in Hospitality and Business Management and straight out of college I got a great job in Corporate America. Long story short I was working crazy hours in New York City and during that time my dad got sick and was in California. I needed a job that got me home more so I applied to be a Flight Attendant. I went down to training in Florida and looking back was a bit arrogant thinking I just graduated Summa Cum Laude in college and have been holding my own in Corporate America, how hard can learning to serve peanuts be? Well let me tell you I was in for a rude awakening. Training was hard! A month later I passed and learned that reserve was just as hard. For new flight attendants you are on reserve which basically means you are on call all the time. I was married to work. But I was traveling a ton and getting home to see my dad and family so I couldn’t complain. I thought I would fly until my dad got better but 13 years later I’m still flying. It’s stuck in my blood and through this process I have learned to have patience, more patience and a little more patience… Whether that involves patience with customers and/or delays. The list goes on regarding patience. Our schedules are based on seniority so you need patience with that as well. The more senior a Flight Attendant the better trips and destinations they will be awarded each month.
RJ: Do you have any advice for someone wanting to get into the travel industry?
For individuals trying to get into the travel industry I would advise them to first like people and secondly make sure you are flexible. Flexible with sleep and eating and schedules. I can’t remember what an 8-5 life looks or feels like anymore. The fact that I can sleep any where at anytime has helped as well. My college major of Hospitality helped open a few doors as well!
RJ: What is the most aesthetically impressive airport you have arrived at? Least impressive?
The most aesthetically impressive airport I’ve been to in the USA is Long Beach. I am based there so I’m partial to it. But LGB is quaint, primarily outside and all the restaurants are local no chains so I do have to say I love it! Outside of the USA I fell in love with Oslo, Norway airport. I felt like I was in an amazingly clean well operating IKEA, however the food was expensive. My least favorite airport is Fort Lauderdale. I have nothing nice to say about FLL so I’ll leave it at that.
RJ: What is your favourite route to fly in terms of passengers?
My favorite route to fly in the USA is LGB-PDX (Long Beach, CA to Portland, OR) or anything out of Boston. The customers are lovely, polite and friendly. 9 times out of 10 these routes are joyful.
RJ: Who is your ideal travel companion?
My ideal travel companion is myself and I know that sounds narcissistic but as a flight Attendant we fly with different crews every trip so I can’t always rely on crews that want to embrace the unknown so I’ve just gotten really used to exploring alone. My husband Kris and our two girls Lucy and Sophie are awesome travelers too tho and if I could sneak them in my work bag then life would be perfect.
RJ: Where is next on your list of places to go for personal enjoyment, and why?
I would love to explore Italy. My husband and I always said when we do Italy we are going to do it right and take an adequate amount of time to explore, eat and drink and not feel rushed. Bottom line I love Italian food, wine and every picture I’ve ever seen in magazines of Italy looks absolutely fabulous!
RJ: Describe your ideal day of traveling:
My ideal day of traveling is wake up relax and drink coffee. Take a shower and get ready to explore all day. I like to plan a few major things to see in a travel day but leave the rest up to the unknown and ending with a lovely dinner and glass of vino.
RJ: What piece of advice would you give to anyone wanting to travel?
Some advice I would give to anyone wanting to travel is to do some research before you go… Important places to see? Place to eat? Look at online reviews whether it be reviews of hotels or food joints. Pack what you need, KEEP IT SIMPLE. Don’t let your expectations get to high. Enjoy the moment and for the love put the selfie stick down. Disconnect from social media and enjoy the travel moment. Post whatever you want when you get back.
RJ: What do you never travel without?
I never travel without the obvious a passport, a wallet and a tooth brush. No one wants a travel companion with bad breath and lastly I NEVER travel without Benadryl. That may sounds weird but over the years I’ve learned that Benadryl can come in handy more then you would ever think. It helps with the obvious allergic reaction issues but it can also help calm an upset stomach and put you to sleep if you end up in a noisy city.
RJ: Where has proven to be the most memorable for you, good or bad?
Tallinn, Estonia blew me away as far a cities go. I didn’t know what to expect and I fell in love with this quaint, cultural city tucked away in the Baltic Sea. On a side note my husband and I love hiking trips I feel most like myself when I am removed from people and cities and I’m out in the open with nature, off the grid with no access to cell service.
RJ: What is your first travel experience?
My first travel experience was at a very young age I was a few months old. My parents were surfers and I grew up tent camping throughout California with them. My first campsite was Cardiff by the Sea. It wasn’t until about the age of 12 that I ever stayed in a hotel because we camped everywhere.
RJ: If money and time were no object, where would you like to travel to?
If money and time were no object I would take a year off with my family get a Winnebago and explore Australia and New Zealand. That’s a number on my bucket list!
RJ: What valuable lessons have you learned “on the road”?
This is a quote I made up and it pretty much sums up my life as a flight Attendant and in general. “Life is similar to an airline… The arrival is often delayed and the departure is uncertain so you might as well strap in and enjoy the ride.” By nature I am a type A personality type, very structured and organized. Traveling has allowed me to let loose and realize some of the best moments and things in life are not planned. Sometimes the extra long unwanted layover can open a door to a new friend or new opportunity.
Interested in being a RareJaunt Featured Traveler? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or head over to rarejaunt.com/featuredtraveler. We look forward to reading all about your travel adventures!