A fly guy Cabin Crew lounge

A Fly Guy’s Cabin Crew Lounge – Welcome to the home of Airline Realness and #UnitedByWings

Meet Jay, the man behind the popular  A Fly Guy’s Cabin Crew Lounge, a facebook page with over 1.3 M followers

What’s your history in the Airline Industry and what do you do now?

I was raised in this industry. When I was six, my mother started working with American Airlines at their reservation center in North Carolina in the early 90s, sparking my fascination with everything related to airlines. I was obsessed with tickets and the process of tearing the old handwritten ones. She used to bring home old ticket stock, and I would play airport with my cousin. My ticket counter was my aunt’s ironing board, and one of those old, massive calculators served as our pretend computer. Of course, dolls and teddy bears were our loyal passengers.

Mom went on to become a flight attendant, and my dreams of flying soared with her. I was so proud of her; I used to tell everyone who would listen that my mom was a flight attendant. She was a superhero in my eyes. With her new career came new things to learn, and I would study her manuals. I could have safely evacuated a McDonnell Douglas MD-80 at age 8, and I knew her announcements better than she did. To this day, I can recite the safety announcements from AA in the 90s from memory.

When she could, she took me to work with her. I was homeschooled, so we had that freedom from normal school, and she made our trips part of our history lessons. Instead of reading about famous American landmarks in a book, I was visiting them. She took me on a trip to Mexico City, and on the return flight to Dallas, the number one flight attendant asked me to help in first class. I did the drink service with him, and I consider that day the start of my Fly Guy career at age 9.

I was surrounded by aviation in the family as well. I have one uncle who I’m very proud of, a VP for a major international airline, and another uncle who is a fleet maintenance supervisor for American Airlines. All this talk of airlines fueled my desire to fly. However, I would tell a white lie and say I wanted to be a pilot when I grew up because being a flight attendant wasn’t considered a respectable job for a male in the 90s. I was raised as an airline ‘nepo child’ and didn’t find the idea of paying for travel amusing. So when my mother’s flight benefits ended, I moved out west to Arizona and put all my ironing board ticket counter skills to work when I started a job as ground staff with a wonderful airline, America West Airlines.

AWA soon took over US Airways, and the management later took over American Airlines, which brought my US airline history full circle. I thrived in the airport life, but every time the British Airways Boeing 747, or the Queen of Sky Harbor as we called her, landed at PHX and I saw the BA crew in their iconic Julien MacDonald uniforms, I dreamed of being “Paris, First Class, International!” This dream came true when I became cabin crew for Emirates in 2008. I worked my way up to become a Cabin Supervisor before the pandemic caused a mass slaughter of jobs at the airline, and I was made redundant in 2020.

Like a bird released from a golden cage, I’ve been soaring to new heights, enjoying being back in full control of my life. Working for Emirates was wonderful but comparable to being in the military, with no real say in your schedule or living conditions. I took a break from flying and lived in Scotland, Yucatan Mexico, and I have now settled on my great-grandparents’ beautiful island of Sicily, where I have been freelance writing for various news media outlets around the globe and focusing on my Fly Guy Network.

I’m happy to announce that I have been hired by a European airline as a purser and will regain my wings this summer. Having achieved my goal of working for one of the “World’s Best” airlines, I’m excited to choose a career with an airline that offers freedom and stability, with fewer long-haul night flights, something that was missing from my Emirates career.

When did you start A Fly Guy facebook group and how many Airline albums do you have?

I started the Facebook group in 2013 while working as a first-class cabin crew for Emirates. I was really annoyed that airlines around the world had no real central meeting place to compare and discuss our similarities and differences, which is why I created the “United By Wings” motto that has grown to include an aviation gallery collection now featuring 670 airlines. Most people who follow my network don’t even know these galleries are there on the page. It’s literally an airline encyclopedia.

What is the most fun part managing your facebook page?

The most enjoyable aspect is observing all the uniforms and exploring airlines from around the world. I especially enjoy when lounge members send me previews of uniforms, allowing me to see what’s coming before the public. I’m grateful that lounge members trust me and are willing to share with me.

What are your best tip for someone looking for a Cabin Crew job?

My advice is to just start somewhere! I didn’t begin at the world’s best airline. When I joined Emirates, I was personally delivering award-winning customer service at a complaint-stricken airline. I had a lot of practice working with very little and learning how to offer creative alternatives. During my recent purser interview, I was asked how I would offer great service coming from an airline that had so much to offer customers who were unhappy. I didn’t rely solely on my Emirates experience, but drew from my experience as ground staff to formulate my answer. So basically, any passenger-facing role is a great place to get your foot in the door if you’re having a hard time landing a flying job, and it’s a great base to build an aviation career from.

Do you think the problem with unruly passengers has increased after the pandemic?

I know for a fact that it has, and the statistics also support this claim. As someone who runs one of the largest sources of airline news on social media, I come across numerous stories. It has become so common that I’ve stopped reporting most of them.

Your favorit Airline and why?

This is like asking a mother to choose her favorite child! I genuinely appreciate all the airlines for different reasons. However, there are airlines that I hold in high regard due to their dedication to maintaining a certain level of elegance above the clouds. Despite being made redundant from Emirates, I still believe they offer an excellent product across all cabins. Turkish Airlines holds a special place in my heart because of their exceptional meal service, commitment to elevating the standard of in-flight catering, and their extensive route network at reasonable prices. When I’m traveling within the US, I frequently choose Southwest Airlines for their enjoyable and hassle-free experience plus bags fly free and I can’t stand full service legacy airlines charging for this basic travel experience especially with air travel costing so much in the US. Over the past year, I’ve been flying without flight benefits, so Ryanair has become my go-to choice for its affordability. Surprisingly, I genuinely enjoy flying with them on short sectors; I find their crew to be professional and safety-oriented, and their fares often cost less than a taxi ride to the airport. Overall, I’m grateful to have them as my primary option at my local airport.

You favorit Airline uniform and why?

I really like any uniform by Italian designer Ettore Bilotta. He’s the creative mind behind airlines like Etihad, Turkish Airlines, Kuwait Airlines and the previous Altalia uniform. While I think his designs could do with less partners and more solid fabrics, he does a fantastic job of bringing back that golden era of airline uniforms and always keeps the uniforms topped with a perfect hat. I always do my airline uniform’s top picks by region. So here we go:

North America: Delta
South America: Azul
Europe: Virgin Atlantic
Middle East: Etihad
Asia: Air India
Oceania: Air New Zealand
Africa: Crown Airlines

Do you normally book hotels that offer Travel Industry rates or how do you find the best hotel rates?

Yes, I do. I often scan Airline Staff Rates to see who’s running a special, or I find a hotel I like on Booking.com and send a message asking if they offer a travel industry discount. Often, if it’s off-peak, you can find some great deals this way.

Name a favorite destination and why?

Well, I have to say, my new home here in Sicily is quickly becoming my favorite. It’s a magical place that resembles many of my favorite destinations, such as New Zealand and Greece. We have incredible history, culture, cuisine, and stunning beaches.

My all-time favorites are Türkiye, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, and of course, Italy!

Are you able to earn money on your facebook page with 1.3 M followers?

Being able and doing are two different things. While I think the network could be a great earner, I really dislike having advertisers on the page. This project is a passion project for me, and when money is involved, it feels more like a job. I’m very selective about who I allow to be an alliance partner. The product they offer has to add value to our lounge members, and I have to believe in the product they’re marketing. In terms of the time I spend versus the money the page earns, no, I don’t make much money from it. However, when I need to invest in the lounge, such as website costs or a new laptop, then I accept sponsors to help cover the expenses. This way, I can stop paying out of my pocket for upkeep. The Fly Guy Network is 100% a labor of love for the industry.