Kate Linder on Her Double Life as a Flight Attendant for United Airlines (Exclusive)

"You can't forget who you are that way," the soap opera star says of having a second job that keeps her humble

<p>Rodin Eckenroth/Getty</p>  Kate Linder

Rodin Eckenroth/Getty

Kate Linder

Actress by day, flight attendant by night!

Kate Linder, 76, opened up to PEOPLE about her second job as a flight attendant on Friday, June 7, at the 51st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, where her television series The Young and the Restless was nominated for several awards.

The actress, who works for United Airlines, describes the experience as “crazy” and “amazing.”

<p>Matthew Taplinger/CBS via Getty</p> Kate Linder

Matthew Taplinger/CBS via Getty

Kate Linder

Recalling a recent interaction with a fan whose travel plans got delayed, Linder says, "She looked at me and she said, 'Kate Linder?' And I went, 'Yeah.' She goes, 'No, you're not.' I go, 'I was when I woke up, so I don't know [if] something's wrong.'"

The actress says the woman then asked her: "What are you doing? Why are you wearing that?"

Related: Kate Linder Shares How She Made Sick 'Young and the Restless' Fan 'Feel Good' Before Tragic Death

"She didn't know," Linder says. "So anyway, she had had all these things happen [due] to bad weather. She got diverted. She was in LA. She wasn't even supposed to be there. All these things happened."

However, there was a silver lining.

"And then she said, 'Oh my gosh, if that hadn't happened, I wouldn't get to be with you on the flight,'" the soap star continues.

Linder explains that she mostly works her extra job on the weekends, although she maintains a flexible schedule due to the nature of her acting career. "Some will pick up my trips or then I'll pick up something," she says of her coworkers.

<p>Unique Nicole/Getty</p> Kate Linder

Unique Nicole/Getty

Kate Linder

For now, Linder says her preferred routes are "Denver turns, San Francisco turns, even Hawaii turns so that if I have something that night, I can still make it and still do it."

She credits meeting new fans while working as a flight attendant as her favorite part of the job. "I get to hear what they like and I see in their eyes how happy they are. They get to tell me about how they watch Young and the Restless, and I think that's just really great. I so enjoy that," she says.

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But sometimes the fan interactions turn into photo-op sessions, which she is able to balance with her responsibilities. "I'll say, 'I'll be right back. Let me just take care of that person. I'll be right back.’ But then I get to take extra good care of them too. We take extra good care of everyone,'" Linder says.

Related: Victor Newman Gets Movin'! Eric Braeden, Lauralee Bell and More 'Y&R' Stars Get Down for 50th Anniversary

Thinking back on the early days, she shares, "When I first started, I became a flight attendant because I needed a job that would give me enough time off so I could pursue my career. And then I was hired. I was only hired for one day, so I kept going. And then I thought, 'Well, if I can keep doing them both, well then I'll do them both.'"

Now, she credits her double life for keeping her humble.

"You can't forget who you are that way. I'm telling you, one day I get to be on set, I get to speak with you here at the Emmys, [and] then I'm serving coffee at 35,000 feet. I mean, you can't forget,” she says.

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Linder has starred as Esther Valentine on The Young and the Restless since 1982. She reprised her character in The Bold and the Beautiful in 2023. Additional acting credits include the 2016 movie Mother’s Day and the 2022 movie A Little White Lie.

In 2022, she opened up to Closer Weekly about working as a flight attendant, saying, “In the beginning, I didn’t tell anyone because I thought they would take me less seriously as an actress. But then, as the years went by, I would meet viewers on the plane and have these wonderful stories. I thought that as long as I keep doing both jobs well, I would keep doing them.”

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