Name: Jay Born: July 26th 198? Born in: Raleigh, NC, USA Place I call home: Mississippi Delta and the sky Current City: Dubai, UAE Profession: First class cabin crew Previous Careers: Journalist, ground staff, ticket agent, airline whipping boy, server, entrepreneur and farmer Hobbies: Travel, photography, writing, blogging, listening to new artists, vegan cooking, juicing, studying nutrition, starting many collections but never sticking with one and of course an airline geek. Nick names: Pooky, White Boy (went to an all black high school so that explains the first two), J-Rad, J and Fly Guy
The name’s Jay, known in the aviation cyber world as Fly Guy. I have the privilege to be your steward on this journey around the world.
My personal journey started more as a Mark Twain adventure than a city slickers guide to the globe. I was born in Raleigh, North Carolina but I call the Mississippi Delta home.
I spent most of my childhood barefoot exploring cotton fields and swimming in rice paddies right east of the Mississippi River. My father worked on the family cotton farm and mom was a flight attendant with American Airlines.
My dad cultivated my love for the ground and my mom passed on her passion for the sky.
During my junior year of high school I managed a reoccurring byline at the local newspaper. As the paper’s weekend reporter I stayed busy covering everything from Friday night murders to Saturday afternoon blues festivals. Summer vacation allotted more time for me to pursue my journalism career and I was taken on as a full time staff writer/photographer for the Delta Democrat Times. I managed several press awards while working as a teen journalist. I am most proud of my 2nd place award for a portrait I shot of a girl enjoying a piece of watermelon during a 4th of July celebration.
I owe that award and my photography skills to Franke Keating. Franke and her husband, Bern, were a powerhouse travel writer/photography team based in my port city. For half a century Bern and Franke captured photos and stories for the pages of prestigious journals like National Geographic, Town and Country and Smithsonian Magazine. Afternoons with the Keatings were daydream sessions that I craved. Their stories of faraway lands would send my imagination off on epic adventures. Bern and Franke fostered my love for photography and intensified my urge to explore the world.
After graduation my newspaper career advanced when I landed a position with the largest newspaper in Northwest Florida. Not long after covering my second hurricane in Pensacola my travel bug was intensifying and I caught the next plane out West to Arizona. I landed in Phoenix on the other side of 21 which meant I would soon no longer be eligible for my mother’s flight benefits; thus ushered in the start to my airline career.
I took my first ticket counter job with America West Airlines, which soon after took over, and became, US Airways. One year into the job I had digested their international network and was hungry for more overseas destinations, and a decent paycheck.
A conversation I had with a flight attendant while working the gates at Phoenix Sky Harbor would change my life as I knew it. She spoke of an international airline in the Middle East that was searching for attractive young people to stock their growing fleet of luxury jumbo jets. English was the only required spoken language. Her words were like a mirage to my teenage dreams. I applied for the job the next day.
Flash forward five years and Fly Guy is born; now an international air steward based in one of the most vibrant cities in the world. I spend my working days at 38,000 feet serving up generous portions of caviar and vintage champagne inside one of the world’s most awarded and coveted fist class cabins.
I’m blessed with A.D.D. and a license to fly on the largest and most luxurious passenger jetliner in the sky. That’s a winning combination which always means there’s something new and exciting to write about. I enjoy dancing with the romance of days gone past. I’m an old soul in search of the golden days of aviation and I’m willing to cross datelines in search of those exotic hideaways that fueled my adolescent desires to breakaway and escape my simple life. I always have my camera along for the ride and with it I aim to capture the glamour and adventure that comes with being a steward for one of the best airlines in the sky.
So in my best PA voice, “I invite you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the Fly Guy ride!”