AT COMMUTEAIR, WE HAVE GREAT PEOPLE WITH GREAT STORIES TO SHARE.
Happy Pride from CommuteAir! In honor of Pride Month – We’re taking this opportunity to share a story from one of the standout members of our diverse team: Houston Flight Attendant, Kayla Felix! A true people-person with a passion for taking care of others, Kayla’s drive and passion for aviation generates positive passenger comments wherever she flies and will soon see her instructing and certifying our future crew! Read on to learn some of Kayla’s story in aviation…
What was it that first interested you in aviation?
Before I got into Aviation I was working and living in Houston while dating my now-wife – She ended up getting a great opportunity to work for the department of Homeland Security that brought us out to New Jersey. We decided to move there together and ended up getting married! While we were living in New Jersey I was working at Top Golf. I had been promoted to Hospitality Manager, and though I was really loving certain aspects of my job, like getting to interact with customers and making sure we provided great service, I knew that I was ready for something more.
I work best in an environment where the people are very closely-knit like a family – and my wife said to me, “This is an opportunity to do something that you’ve always wanted to do.” I remember thinking, “Flying on planes would be great!” I didn’t have any family members or close friends at the time with a big legacy in aviation and I also didn’t see myself as a pilot…but the more I considered aviation as a career, I thought I would be a good fit as a Flight Attendant. I’m so grateful I found that sense of community I was looking for at CommutAir – It was definitely worth it!”
Describe your journey to becoming a Flight Attendant.
“I admit I was a little timid at first! Stepping into a new industry can be overwhelming, so I started by just going to a recruiting event – which ended up being an amazing experience for me! I immediately made friends at the event, and they made me feel really comfortable taking the next steps to join the team. The initial training to become a Flight Attendant like Ground School and your Initial Operating Experience are those things that tend to scare people away because they can be demanding and stressful. Though it made me uneasy at first too, everyone I met along the way was so nice and welcoming that it made me feel super comfortable and really got me hooked! I had great instructors!”
What are some of your dreams for the future?
In my career, I’ve found the most passion in taking care of people and training new members of the team…and at CommutAir I get to do both! I love to talk to my passengers and get a sense of who they are and what they need in order to take care of them – but it’s also to build trust. Some people think being a Flight Attendant is just being a waiter, “They just serve sodas!” It’s actually much more demanding than that. Safety is a huge part of our job and it’s important to actively build trust with passengers so that they’ll feel safe, trust you in the event of an emergency, and follow your instructions.
Right now, I’m working on my certification to become a Flight Attendant Air Transportation Supervisor – an ATS is a qualified Flight Attendant who will be paired with someone who has just completed their initial training during their first flights. Being a trainer has always been rewarding to me! There has to be a great introduction that will draw new people into what they’re about to experience and support for them to know you’re going to help them get through everything. I love setting people up to go out there and crush it.
What’s been your experience being LGBTQIA+ in aviation?
It can be a little intimidating stepping into an industry that’s dominated by straight, white males but I think that if I had ever had a negative experience at any point as I was considering and training to become a Flight Attendant then I would not have done it. I’ve always been very open, and not going to give a false narrative or pretend that I live a life that I don’t, and everyone has always been super welcoming! If someone who doesn’t know me asks something like, “How’s your husband doing” and I say, “Well I’m married to a woman” it might be a little awkward in the moment, but the response is usually along the lines of, “Oh…sorry about that…Cool!” It doesn’t change the way they speak to me or how they treat me.
How would you like to see the aviation industry, and those working in it, become stronger allies to the LGBTQIA+ community?
“I grew up in a time when it wasn’t acceptable to be gay or lesbian or whatever sexual preference you have. If you weren’t straight, then it was bad. It has been great to see things evolving and changing, but the most important thing for me is just being treated like a normal human being. I’m never rude or aggressive when I’m sharing that information with people, and I expect them to react the same way. You can’t just walk up to someone and know their sexual preference or know who they’re married to or how they identify, the only way to know is to talk to them and get to know them, right? Don’t be afraid to ask questions because it shows that you care! Treat me like me like the normal person that I am – no one wants to be singled out or made to feel bad – Everyone just wants to be accepted for who they are.”