Kara Mulder

A few questions to Kara Mulder
Creator | Brand Ambassador | Adventurer and Flight Attendant |

www.theflightattendantlife.com | instagram.com/thefalife

Describe a crazy standby experience you had.

Stupid, crazy, or both?
I’m describing those that choose to fly standby.  Yup.  Legitimately nuts.  I’m describing myself.  Traveling standby is how I travel so frequently, which is awesome.  But, beneath the glamour, there has been scenes of me– crying, stressed, alone. Because all of the flights are full and I can’t get home.  If you are unfamiliar with the term standby, basically it means flying on a flight without a prior reservation for that flight.  There are a couple of situations when regular paying customers travel this way, but this post focuses on The Flight Attendant Life and standby travel.

Many don’t understand or realize the inside rules and world of airline employees.  Part of that world includes free or discounted travel.  How it generally works is that an airline employee; pilot, flight attendant, or ground agent can fly on their airline or other airlines when not working for free or at a discount.  This is if there are seats available that have not been purchased by other paying customers.  Depending on which airline the flight attendant, pilot, or agent works for determines which carriers the individual may travel on and the cost associated (if there is one).  Wikipedia shares a definition to explain stand-by travel which can also be referred to as non-revving, non-rev travel, or space available.

If you are looking for adventure, spontaneity, and want to experience travel like a flight attendant then travel standby.  It’s the way that I travel most of the time.  Well, sometimes travel, but more realistically stress, often waiting at airports, watching plane after plane take-off without me.  In January, I was at Boston Logan International Airport and I overheard a group of gentleman one of which said, quite loudly, “I need to marry a flight attendant so I can travel for free.”  Uniform and all, I sighed and quietly laughed to myself.  I’ll continue to let him live in his fantasy, because I had clearly woken up from mine.  The reality is that I have spent sleepless nights in so many airports or had to drop lots of dollars to cover transportation to and from an airport, book last-minute hotels, and purchase exorbitantly priced flights to make my report time for work and not get fired.  Being a flight attendant doesn’t always get me anywhere very quickly.

Behind the glamour of being able to fly anywhere that I want to, whenever I want to, lies that ugly truth that it’s not often that way.  Standby is a double edge sword of heaven and hell.  I mean yes, I have gotten to see the world, and I have some great travel stories because of this spontaneous type of travel.  Like the few times I’ve been lucky to fly first class for free or when I decided, the day before, to fly to Iceland or changed my mind about flying to Dublin, which led me to meeting Sweden in Copenhagen.  There are definitely upsides to being a flight attendant.

Name one of your favourite destinations and give us some tips on what to do there.


Cafe Parterre— “Avocado Toast so good, it may just change your life.”
For a coffee and a workspace that will kickstart even your worst of Mondays, Cafe Parterre brightens up the day. Not a recent addition to the city, but a fairly recent discovery of mine, this coffee and food establishment is located a short walk from the metro stop. Three little steps lead down to a semi-basement style room, with ground level windows that look out onto the street. The staff is friendly and the baristas adept, my Lactosfri Cappuccino always topped with beautiful art. The space is not dark—but inviting—for both locals and foreigners. Stop in to chat with a friend, enjoy a cozy breakfast, or to write that epic novel.  The seating area is fairly small, so if you are going to work, be polite and wrap things up if Parterre becomes busy. If not, you will be able to slave away for hours thanks to the numerous outlets that can be found under the bar-seating lining the windows. The wifi code is on the counter.

Democratic Coffee Bar— “Almond croissants and perfect lattes.”
For those freelancers watching their Danish Krones and cents, Democratic Coffee is the place that I would first recommend as where to find the best tasting coffee and pastry in exchange for your money. This small coffee bar, with a separate entrance, but located “within” the Copenhagen Main Library has well working free wifi, freshly baked croissants, and delicious cappuccinos. I’ll spend hours here,finishing up blogs or editing YouTube videos. I love being in the morning bustle of the smartly dressed Danes going to work and listening to the chatter of Danish students discussing what I can only imagine being study group questions. Democratic Coffee Bar is popular, but unlike some spots, the busy does not become distracting. It’s not really a place to plug-in, so come with devices charged, and only one time (out of probably 10-15), did the baristas have a non-dairy milk alternative. Never hurts to ask though.

Cafe Paludan— “Hide yourself away amongst books, student chatter, and ample seating.”
Paludan Bogcafe my first favorite Copenhagen cafe ever. The coffee shop and book cafe is large, but not in an overwhelming way. It’s very popular with students, especially international ones. The space will be inspiring for the writer in you with the endless array of books lining the walls. Also inspiring are the strong cappuccinos and large menu. Prices are reasonable. Don’t expect to discover outlets easily, but they do exist. Wifi code is located on the back wall and notes throughout caution against leaving items unattended. Cafe Paludan is a great spot for working in the winter as it’s so cozy. Please visit the website for hours and additional information.

Øieblikket Espresso Bar at The Royal Danish Library— “Discover new inspiration with the views and history surrounding this place.”
I go to The Royal Danish Library and Øieblikket when I feel a need to be inspired— desiring to stare out of a window and become lost in thought. Bar seating, along what seems to be, floor to ceiling windows allows one to gaze out over the water while enjoying a varme drikke or kolde drikke. When creativity and work-flow slows, take a break and visit the collection of rare books and Medieval manuscripts (it’s quite amazing, and it’s free). The library also offers rotating exhibits and events, the schedule of which can be viewed hereØieblikket is the best choice for those who want to combine work and tourism; allowing for one to experience the history of Denmark, architectural excellence, and the wonderful student and cafe culture of Copenhagen.

FAR’s Dreng— “Design focused space to un-clutter your mind and free your creativity, along with coffee and wine to fuel your success.”
The recent gem of Far’s Dreng opened in May 2015 and has already made a splash as a place to eat delicious food, drink wine, and enjoy a caffeinated beverage. Conveniently located near Nyhavn and Kongens Nytrov, it is a quick place to go for those tourists who are staying near the center of the city, but are not interested in the chain establishments of Joe & The Juice or Baresso Coffee. I was immediately impressed with the perfectly decorated space. Entering felt like I walked into someone’s home, so lovingly and thoughtfully designed is Far’s Dreng. To me, this cafe completely embodies the untranslatable Danish word Hygge, which maybe now I will start translating as, “like a hug.” Because that is what this place is. Ask for the wifi code.

Joe And The Juice— This hotly branded chain has delicious sandwiches, healthy fresh juices, and tasty coffee. Pairs nicely with code-less free wifi and their delicious looking Joe Boys.”
Joe & The Juice is a chain, but it’s good. I love how the company has branded their cafes, each carrying their signature black and white with hot pink, the icing being the always attractive and usually tattooed Joe Boys. Leave your number instead of a tip, or if you are feeling generous, leave a tip so the cuties can afford their Tinder dates. If the attraction distraction doesn’t get to you, you will be able to finish projects and get work done with the free wifi powered by The Cloud. Outlets are available at most locations. For those veggie lovers, you can’t go wrong with the Avocado Sandwich and Ginger Shot.

What is one of the first thing you do when you come to a new place and what is your favourite source for destination tips.

Coffee. Workout. Ask locals.

Mention a few disturbing things passenger do onboard.

Standing too close to the service cart when the flight attendant is doing service
Have you ever heard of personal space

Opening overhead bins during flight and leaving them open.
You would be surprised at how much this annoys flight attendants

Getting up to use the lavatory when the seatbelt sign is on.

Barefoot in the bathroom.
I made a few inflight friends the other day on a Boise trip.  I chatted with the three couples that were returning from a Maui escape.  The group was collectively celebrating 30th birthdays and a 5 year wedding anniversary.  I mentioned my blog, and Joe said he really wanted to be written about.  I shrugged.  Although all very fun people, I can’t really write a post, “I met three awesome passengers, and now we are friends.  The end.”  Meh.  A little lame.  But, Joe followed up the conversation, by doing something that flight attendants hate to see.  He insisted on using the lavatory, sans shoes.  Beach barefoot.  The first time, I gave him a fair warning.  The second offensive, I begged him to find his footwear, and by the third occurrence, three flight attendants, in total, cringed over his choices.  Yuck.  Joe, you’re cool, but yuck.  I most often see parents letting their children walk into the aircraft bathroom shoeless.  Joe said he could handle gross cause he’s a parent.  So moral of the story is that I have a lot to look forward if I have children??? Or take this gem away with you…wear shoes on an airplane.  Just do it. (But really, Joe, Kim, & Alicia, thank you for making my workday much more fun.  There’s the shout-out.  Hope to see you again soon).

Passenger opens up suitcase, right after stepping onto the aircraft, taking up the main space of boarding.  Other passengers try to squeeze awkwardly between the row of seats and him.   His massively large backpack, is strapped to his person, making the space even smaller for boarding.

Apparently, it was really important for him to unpack his suitcase immediately after stepping  onto the aircraft.  And you know what he was looking for?  Two packages of Goldfish crackers.  I’m sure he had no time when he was waiting at the gate to look through his bag.  Oh passengers, have phenomenal timing don’t they?

Passenger fills up water bottle in lavatory bathroom.

Feet on tray table.

Face on tray table

Food directly on tray table.

Changing baby diaper on tray table

Using the flight attendant jumpseat as a foot rest.
This is one of my biggest pet peeves as a flight attendant

Passenger opens overhead bin that is placarded for lavatory supplies, and helps herself with flight attendants observing the entire scene.
This really annoyed me, as I was two steps away from the passenger when she did this.  She dropped the airsick bags, and paper towels in the aisle, and on another passenger’s head.  I pointedly said, as if I was talking to a small child (because that’s how adult passengers act sometimes, “Excuse me?! Don’t open the flight attendant supplies and help yourself.  I’m right here.  You need to ask for assistance!”  I also have a terrible poker face.

What is your best tip to avoid jet lag?