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Tourism works: Why travel matters to Jordon Friend

By Dan Smith | 3 min

On a whim and with nothing to lose, Jordon Friend followed his passion to see the world and pursued a career as a flight attendant. Over a year and a half later, he is grateful for his decision and enjoys the flexibility and perks of working 30,000 feet in the air.


Tourism Matters to Jordon Friend Headshot 

Name: Jordon Friend
Job: Flight attendant, Frontier Airlines
Hometown: Yuba City
Education: Business with an emphasis in Human Resources, University of Alaska, Fairbanks

 

Q: Describe your path working in the tourism field.
My path, like many others in the travel industry, was very unexpected. I didn’t plan on going to college then becoming a flight attendant or working in tourism in general. However, the industry has a special way of pulling people in. After school, I worked at a couple of nonprofits in the Sacramento area. One day, my boss - the best boss I’ve ever had - told me she was going to resign. I knew I wouldn’t enjoy my job there without her, so I immediately started thinking of what I would do next. I liked working in nonprofits, but I missed traveling and I wanted something with better benefits and a little more flexibility. So, on a whim, with nothing to lose, I applied to be a flight attendant. Over a year and a half later, here I am absolutely loving my career and living life to the fullest.
 
Q: What made you want to enter the travel and tourism industry?
I think moving to Alaska planted the seed of working in the tourism industry for me. At 17, I ventured to the University of Alaska to study business. As a freshman in college, I felt like a tourist and realized that learning a whole new way of life can be strangely addicting and the most valuable education you can ever receive. Early on during my freshman year, I thought, ‘maybe I could be a flight attendant.’ It was a fleeting thought, nothing too serious, but here I am.

 

Tourism Matters to Jordon Friend Photo

 
Q: What do you like most about working in travel and tourism?
People watching. You can learn so much from observing people who are different than you. I love being in a new area and seeing the differences in how people interact with each other. I love talking to strangers – I love listening to them. Traveling has taught me that listening is a far better skill than talking. I think I might enjoy that most about my job.
 
Q: What were the most valuable parts of your education?
I like people, and would also say that the Fairbanks School of Business taught me a ton about networking and interpersonal communication which has helped me be extremely successful as a flight attendant. Oftentimes working on a plane, you have to sympathize with someone without knowing their story or who they are in order to diffuse situations and make someone feel comfortable. Learning communication tactics has helped me in that sense as well as with the customer service that comes with the job.

 

Tourism Matters to Jordon Friend Group Photo

 

Q: What are your goals in the industry?
I want to stay loyal to Frontier Airlines and gain seniority, which is important in the airline industry. I would love to eventually train incoming flight attendants, teaching them the ins and outs of working thousands of feet in the air. Not a lot of people realize that becoming a flight attendant is just as challenging as attaining a college degree. There is a lot that goes into becoming a flight attendant, such as long lectures and tests, learning how to evacuate a plane, preparing for emergencies, learning how an aircraft is built, and calming nervous flyers. But for the most part, I just want to keep flying and traveling to see the hidden gems of the state and nation. 
 
Q: Who have been the biggest supporters of your career?
I have been so blessed to have an amazing support group of friends and family. My community, my inner circle and my closest friends are my biggest supporters. I’m lucky to have a tight knit community that understands my flying schedule and that will be by my side no matter the distance between us.

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