The flight attendant Goda Petraityte was one of the hundreds who lost their jobs in aviation due to the ongoing pandemic. But after a year full of uncertainty and attempts to keep her life in balance, she got among the lucky aviation professionals who have received a second chance for a take-off to the skies.
“When I lost my job in the airline, I didn’t even return my uniform to the company because I always believed and felt that I would come back and fly again. My intuition was constantly telling me that sooner or later I would walk down the aisle again. And it finally happened”, Goda says. She has recently rejoined the same airline to which she worked for prior to the pandemic.
Dream comes true after twenty years
Goda’s career in the aviation sector began a year before the pandemic outbreak. The 30-year-old aviation enthusiast says that she had dreamed about the cabin crew job since an early age.
When Goda was still a young child, a teacher at school once asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. “I wrote that I see myself as a flight attendant traveling around the world. I can say now that it took these twenty years for me to make my biggest dream come true.
“Finally, I found myself here in aviation and I will never quit doing it,” Goda smiles.
From flight attendant to temporarily warehouse sorter
Goda was on cloud nine when she joined the Vilnius-based ACMI and chartering airline. During her first year in the company, she was given a chance to visit a great number of countries across Europe and Africa. She even met her best friend and now boyfriend while on a layover in France in the summer season of 2019. The cabin crew couple was curious to explore more foreign places together while working for the same airline, but the COVID-19 pandemic knocked down all Goda’s dreams relentlessly.
“From the very first moment when the news of a new contagious virus began to spread across the world, I immediately realized that it would be serious. While others had been skeptical about it all and sometimes joked around that it would not affect our country, I suspected that hard times were coming. The whole world does not take an abrupt pause baselessly.”
The stewardess recalls that after receiving a disappointing letter regarding staff cuts in the company, she felt downhearted but did not allow herself to sorrow. Instead, she rushed to find a solution to secure her a stable income without losing hopes of returning onboard an aircraft. Goda applied for a job in the local casino but when the government implemented stricter quarantine measures, the flight attendant joined a parcel shipment company as a warehouse sorter under a fixed-term contract. Sudden changes in the professional life were not the only challenges she faced. Just before Christmas, Goda got sick with coronavirus illness.
‘It was a difficult period, but I didn’t give up. I didn’t even return my uniform to the company because I always believed and felt that I would come back and fly again. […] When a huge number of employees were laid off, it was tough because one second you have a job and a stable income, and the next moment you lose it all. For a young person, this is a very sensitive matter because it was not only a beloved job but also the essential source of my livelihood.”
“I couldn’t afford to lie on the bed and wait for the money to fall from the sky. I realized that I needed to get a job somewhere until the situation improved. I was temporarily employed by a casino but due to the worsening situation in the country, I was given a downtime payment which was too little to live on. I then went for a warehouse sorter position in a parcel shipment company. But during the Christmas holidays, I got infected with the virus and got seriously ill,” the flight attendant remembers.
When Goda recovered from the infection, her temporary contract ended and she was out of the job again. However, the fortune smiled on her and after a few months, the flight attendant received a deeply anticipated call from the airline she had been working for. Goda now continues working onboard narrow-body jets and hopes for a gradual flight frequency recovery.
“That fateful day was February 24th, it was my name day and our family also celebrated my mom’s birthday. I remember screaming out of joy when I received an unexpected call from the airline offering me to re-join the company. It was such an emotional moment, I can’t even describe how happy I was! My family was the biggest supporter of this crisis, during which I felt like surviving a war and my weapon in this war was my relatives.”
“I will never forget that day when I got back the chance to fly again. At that moment, my mother was so pleased with the news that she even cried with joy. And I feel extremely grateful for my company that they gave me a second opportunity to engage in life with what I want the most ‒ flying,” Goda says.