Chloe Kiser is a flight attendant on the weekends and a student on the weekdays. Her passion takes her around the world, visiting a new city each time, but her roots are grounded in the heart of San Francisco.
Why did you decide to become a flight attendant?
Before I started flying, I had this ridiculously glamorous image in my mind of what the life of a stewardess must be like. I think the idea of white gloves and pillbox hats were probably accurate… about 60 years ago! While the reality of the job is much less highfalutin than what I had in mind, once I got over the shock and learned the ‘system’ of being a flight attendant, I realized that it was even better than I thought. I could walk up to almost any gate in any airport and tell them that I would like to be listed for a seat on that flight (for free!) – that will never get old. It makes me feel like a celebrity every time and lives up to the glamorous image I had painted.
What does a typical month look like for you? How many flights do you take? How many cities and countries do you visit?
My schedule varies by the time of year. It’s dependent on the airlines, but at my company, staffing has been really good lately and I am able to choose my own schedule so I tailor it to fit around my school classes. This semester I have class Monday through Friday so I fly only on the weekends. When it comes to the weekends, holidays and summer break, I get to fly as much as I can – to the point where I visit two to three countries in a week.
Describe your daily uniform when you’re at work, and when you are off work.
Despite not having the hat and gloves, I really do love my flight attendant uniform. I wear a high neck blue shift-cut dress and a perpendicular black stripe that crosses the front. At work it’s known fondly as “the Star Trek dress”. It reminds me of the Mad Men era. In addition to the dress we are required to wear nylon pantyhose, which is a constant nightmare because they’re always tearing, as well as high heels!
I am not a dedicated clothes folder- usually they end up scrunched up tightly in my suitcase so it’s important that the pieces I pack for layovers aren’t too bulky and are not prone to wrinkles. I like jumpsuits because, like dresses, you don’t have to plan a top and a bottom, it’s so versatile in nature and you can change your look so easily just with different accessories. I also love planning my outfits to match where my layovers are at. In Paris, I love boots, bateau stripes, and a trench coat. In Tokyo, you better bet I have my craziest Harajuku sneakers on!
What is the one thing you cannot live without when you are on the road?
A scarf! Almost everything else can be picked up en route: forgotten toothpaste, a new book to read… But a good, versatile scarf is irreplaceable. Airplanes are often really chilly, so it functions as a blanket, or an eyemask to catch some sleep. You can fold it up and put it on your tray table and suddenly it’s a pillow. When I’m traveling, they become resourceful beach or hostel towels. They can block the sun, or warm you up. I use them as picnic blankets in a pinch, and have even tied together the handles of all my bags when I’ve done too much souvenir shopping!
What are your secrets to having an enjoyable flight?
Again definitely a scarf to cozy up with! When I’m flying and not working, I always change into big socks right away, but I keep my shoes handy. I see far, far too many people walk into the airplane lavatories without shoes, and I always kind of gag – you can be certain that the sticky stuff on the floor in there is definitely not water!
I also like to fly with my own water bottle and snacks, if at all possible I will avoid airplane food. I love to bring instant miso soup because the flight attendants can always give you hot water for it. Another necessity is a book because so many planes have unreliable entertainment. Oh! Never wear skinny jeans! There’s been too many times where I’ve unfolded my legs after a flight to find deep gouges across the back of my knees where all the denim has clumped up and cut off my circulation. Instead I’d opt for something more relaxed like MATTER’s Lounge Lunghi so that you can easily fold up your legs in a cramped airplane seat. The last secret in my arsenal is Melatonin. Sometimes flights feel way too long and boring, by taking a Melatonin I can sleep for the whole journey and wake up when we arrive.
Who are the most interesting people you’ve met through work, or an unexpected frined that you’ve made?
I met my roommate at work! It’s comforting to have a friend who is in the same industry, and understands all the same inside lingo and the somewhat strange lifestyle. We get to choose our trips together and spend time with each other during our layovers. One of my favourite things we did this Summer was when we ran down to Chicago’s “Bean” after a redeye flight to catch the sunrise while everyone else in the city was still sleeping.
Where’s your favourite layover?
I love Tokyo! People watching there is the best. It almost seems to me like the craft of origami really influences the fashion there. So many of the clothes are pleated and layered in the most interesting ways. Japan also has a wonderful ceramics tradition and I love geeking out in their museums and galleries.
What sorts of souvenirs do you collect when you travel?
I’m a big collector of folk art and textiles, but I’d have to say if I could only choose one thing, it might be perfume. For me, scent is so closely entwined with my memories. I have bottles of perfume that I can pick up and suddenly I’m filled with nostalgia for the spring break where I turned 21 and was exploring Portland with friends, or the time I lived in a bookstore in Greece.
5 best packing tips, go!
- Make yourself a carry on kit. Mine includes a scarf, socks, a book, water bottle and snacks. Keep it separate from the rest of your belongings so that if you have to check your bag, you can keep it with you on the plane.
- Many things are easy to replace on the road, but I never travel without sunscreen, or night lotions. It’s important to maintain the crucial aspects of your personal routine.
- I pack a folding duffel inside my hardshell suitcase. What can I say… I almost always fill it up with souvenirs for the way back!
- You probably only need two pairs of shoes, but I always find ways to pack more. I think it’s important to feel like yourself when you’re on the road, and if you typically wear different shoes every day of the week, well then… 🙂
- Never take your swimsuit out of your suitcase! Too often I’ve landed in Maui and half the crew laments that they forgot to bring swim gear. Just leave it in your bag so you don’t even have to think about it.
What’s next on your list for personal travel?
I’m planning a trip to Salem, Massachusetts this October, and my roommate and I are going to Mexico for Dia de los Muertos!
A quotes or phrase that you live by?
Be the person you want to meet.
We are inspired by Chloe’s sense of adventure and are proud to have her as Fieldtesters, a group of inspiring friends that regularly test MATTER products in their workplace and trails to help us improve durability and design. Chloe is wearing The Classic Jumpsuit + Zalya, Size 1.