Flexible career makes room for football hobby

Photo by Chris Dunn

Photo by Chris Dunn

Rachel Georges works 16 days a month as a flight attendant. Her seniority allows her to pick and choose which routes she wants.

“It really makes it a great job,” she said.

Her boyfriend works as a domestic pilot for the same airline. They are able to coordinate their schedules to be on the same flights.

“He does his thing and I do mine and we’re able to be on overnights together,” she said. “It’s kind of nice.”

Georges also coordinates her flight schedule around her other job as a football official for the Eastern Collegiate Football Officials Association.

She travels to various college football games to officiate behind the defensive line for teams associated with the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference and the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

She is one of just a few female NCAA officials in the country.

How and when did you decide to become a flight attendant?

I’ve been a flight attendant for a major airline for 26 years. I knew a few Navy pilots who were about to move on with their careers as airline pilots and they suggested I become a flight attendant. I applied and have been with the same airline ever since.

What is a typical day like for a flight attendant?

We board the aircraft — hopefully with a smile — and can have up to a 16-hour duty day. Most of our crew members commute to work, so driving three hours or hopping on a six-hour flight is normal for us. It goes with the job. We must check in one hour prior to departure for domestic flights and one and a half hours for international flights. When we arrive at the aircraft, we check all emergency equipment and get the aircraft ready for passengers. We all have had extensive training in first aid, firefighting, decompressions (treatment of shock) and evacuations. It’s rare to fly with the same crews but it does happen.

What is your favorite part of this line of work?

Definitely the travel. We fly all over Europe, South America, the Middle East, Mexico and the Caribbean, as well as the U.S. and Canada. I get to choose trips in seniority order, and I work in some great places. My favorites are Venice and Thailand.

Has your job enabled you to visit places you might not have seen otherwise?

Absolutely, having this job has allowed my family the luxury of some great vacations. My son grew up traveling to Iceland, France, Denmark, Norway, Germany, England, Belgium, Italy, Sicily, Spain, Malta, Greece and Hawaii, to name a few.

How did you become a football official?

My son played peewee through high school. I acted as the team photographer when he was in middle school. One day, I was on the sideline taking photos when a gentleman standing next to me asked if I knew what I was looking at.

I responded with, “I’m seeing holding. Then there was a face mask penalty.”

The man was James Guinan, an NFL officiating evaluator, who asked if I would be interested in officiating.

Even though several men behind us muttered, “girls can’t do that,” I contacted the PIAA for a rules book and studied for eight months. I took the football test at the annual PIAA convention. I scored a ­­91 and two weeks later I was in stripes.

Where do you officiate?
I worked my way up through peewee, high school junior varsity, and high school varsity games. I now officiate NCAA Division 2 and 3 in the PSAC and NJAC conferences.

About Rachel

Age: 48
Lives in: Manchester Township
Family: son RJ, 18
Hobbies: Traveling the world and football
Occupation: Flight attendant and football official for the Eastern Collegiate Football Officials Association

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