Life As A Flight Attendant {What It’s Really Like}


Post Last Modified – January 13, 2021

Life As A Flight Attendant – A Closer Look

I was bitten by the travel bug at a very young age, having been fortunate enough to experience a few exciting vacations abroad, traveling by air. Throughout the years, I had always been curious what Life As A Flight Attendant would be like.

We had family friends working for the airlines when I was younger and always thought what a glamorous job it must be, getting paid to fly around the world! In fact, when I graduated from high school, I did have the opportunity to become a flight attendant with a Canadian Airline, but had different aspirations at that time.

What an opportunity of a lifetime I turned down, but instead, I sought to accomplish my childhood dream, that of becoming a motorcycle police officer. I fly the friendly skies quite often now that I am retired, and still wonder what a career as a flight attendant would have been like. So I contacted a couple of working flight attendants who are also bloggers, and asked them to participate in a question and answer session with me.

I thought it would make an interesting blog topic and one other travelers might enjoy reading as well.

Life As A Flight Attendant – The Inside Scoop

Retro Pan-Am Stewardesses

Quote:

“A flight attendant is someone whose primary duty is to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers during an airline flight. They are part of the cabin crew for the plane.”
 

Years ago, we baby boomers and elders referred to a flight attendant as an “Airline Stewardess.”  Well, over the years, this name had to change to remove the gender bias in the job description, along with men now entering this profession.

emirates-cabin-crew

The job involves a great deal more than just serving you drinks and food on a flight. There’s extensive training involved, dealing with a number of health and safety issues that must be completed in order to successfully graduate as a flight attendant.

Check out this brief, but very interesting Alaska Airlines training video, on exactly what’s involved in starting a career as a flight attendant with their airline, then we’ll get on to our question and answer session.

Enjoy! 🙂

Alaska Airlines Flight Attendant Training – YouTube Video

 

Life of a Sassy Stew

Life As A Flight Attendant #1

 

Life Of A Sassy Stew

* What Inspired You To Become A Flight Attendant?

My mother is a flight attendant and I have always enjoyed her lifestyle. In my adult years, I reaped the benefits of her hard work and got to travel the world at an early age.  Additionally, I love people and making others happy, so when she told me the opportunity was opening up, I dove for it!

* Did You Have To Relocate When Hired By The Airlines?

I did not have to relocate although I was willing to. I am a commuter now, which is not bad, but the quality of life is always better when living in a base.

* What Is The Toughest Part Of Your Job?

I’d have to say that the toughest part of my job would be the long workdays. We work 12+ hours on a good day, never mind the fact that irregular operations happen frequently because of weather, delays, and so on. Combine those long hours with the physical effects of traveling and flying in general, and it makes for one extremely tired flight attendant.

And you thought just being a passenger was exhausting! 🙁

* How Do You Deal With Time Changes & Jet-Lag?

Jet lag/time changes are my nemesis! I have to purposefully keep myself awake or make myself go to sleep according with the local time of wherever I am, so that I can be fully functioning the following day. If I go to sleep too early or take a nap, I’ll be awake all day, and if I go to sleep too late, I’ll be tired the next day.

Regulating my sleep pattern is an absolute must!

* Where Is Your Favorite Destination To Fly To?

For work: San Diego, California. It’s beautiful and there’s lots to do near our crew hotel.

For pleasure: As of now, both Japan and Jordan – It’s a tie!

* Does Seniority Determine Whether You Work In 1st, Business or Economy Class?

For my airline, seniority determines what work schedule you’re awarded with. However, we have such a great trading policy, that we can move trips around and trade for different positions and days.

So no, seniority does not have a major influence on where I work.

* Have You Had Any VIP’s or Celebrities On A Flight With You?

I have had plenty of celebrities on my flights, but I’m so bad at knowing celebrities’ names, so I only remember a few. Laura Bush, Wanya from Boyz II Men, Dave Franco and NFL coach Chuck Pagano, are just a few that come to mind.

* What Is Your Most Memorable Moment As A Flight Attendant?

My most memorable moment thus far is winning the customer service award and getting chosen to represent our work group for creative company projects.

* What Is Your Least Favorite Moment?

My least favorite moment was when one of my passengers experienced her first seizure ever. It happened on my flight and she was just 6 years old. We performed authorized medical procedures on her until we handed her over to medical on the ground; but we had to leave without knowing how she was doing or if she ever recovered. Not knowing how our passengers fare is the hardest.

* What Is Your Biggest Pet Peeve In Dealing With Passengers?

My BIGGEST pet peeve when dealing with passengers is being touched, poked and prodded. I know it’s because I make my passengers feel comfortable, and that we are in such close quarters. However, how would you feel if you were getting touched with trash that someone needed to throw away or poked in the side every time someone needed a drink? It’s no fun.

My body is mine – maybe we should wear “Do Not Touch” signs?

Bio:

As the daughter of parents in the aviation industry, Travasha is no stranger to moving and traveling. She started her international travel journey by going sans parents at the age of 15. She was bitten by the bug and geared her future hobby and career choices towards the industry ever since. Whether it was an overseas tour as an NFL & NBA Cheerleader or just leisure travel on her own time, she has always sought out opportunities where she can embrace the world and enjoy its blessings.

Becoming a flight attendant only furthered her passion for nomadic life and added some much needed insider knowledge that she shares with her readers on her blog site. With only one continent left to visit, Antarctica, she’s on a mission to visit and share the world with you from the flight attendant’s perspective. Travasha’s blog can be found at … Life of a Sassy Stew.

 

The Classy Explorer

Life As A Flight Attendant #2

classyexplorer business class emirates

* What Inspired You To Become A Flight Attendant?

Hello Robert!
First of all, thank you for having this opportunity to present myself and the job of a flight attendant to your readers.

My deceased father was a Pilot/ Captain for a commercial national airline of ex-Yugoslavia, called JAT Airways. So naturally since I was kid, I wanted to fly in airplanes and become one day a flight attendant. I watched those girls/women being so glamorous and traveling around the World on a daily basis, and that was a good motivation for me. But my father was against it until I finished University and My Master’s Degree in Economics. So I did that first, finished my education, worked a bit and then at 26, I made my dream come true and started flying!

* Did You Have To Relocate When Hired By The Airlines?

I flew and worked for Emirates Airlines, so yes I had to move to Dubai, United Arab Airlines, which was the airline’s base. Dubai is an exciting city in the Middle East, the most liberal of all Arab countries, so it was quite interesting living there.

* What Is The Toughest Part Of Your Job?

Well, the job is pretty tough and challenging although it does not seem so. Especially if you work for Middle-Eastern or Asian airlines, as they tend to provide really a lot to their passengers, and there are very strict policies for behavior and service delivery on-board for flight attendants.

For me the toughest was that I had many flights happening overnight, or flights taking a lot of hours, either one way or return. (like almost 21 hrs from Dubai to Los Angeles or 18 hrs from Dubai to Melbourne, just as two examples). Or if I had a flight to one of the Indian or Pakistani airports and back to Dubai, it could be that I left my apartment at around midnight and I came back at noon or even afternoon, having to be awake and working all night and almost half the next day. After a while you physically get very tired handling those kind of flights, as you do not have much rest between them. Plus I could not sleep wherever or whenever, which made me constantly tired.

Second toughest thing for me was time management on board. As I mentioned, the service is very rich for the airline I worked for. So you basically work non-stop on flights. From the time passengers board the aircraft, you are already preparing pre-departures, starting to heat some food if the flight is short.  When serving hot meals, heating bread and casseroles for example, has to be managed on time to be ready when service is starting. Then opening wines, decorating and filling up the carts, bars etc.

* How Do You Deal With Time Changes & Jet-Lag?

That was pretty hard at the beginning, but somehow when you are changing climates, time zones so many times in a month, your body tends to stop reacting that much. Interestingly, I was not even that sick as much as I am not living in one climate. The best thing was to rest as much as possible on off-days, by sleeping, or calming down by the pool or in a spa. But many times I had some errands to finish on my off days, so I was not resting much and then I rested during the layovers (when we stayed at the destination for minimum 24 hours).

I remember once in Shanghai, as soon as we reached the hotel room, I fell asleep and woke up like 18 hours after, just in time to get some food, dressed and get picked up for the flight back to Dubai!

* Where Is Your Favorite Destination To Fly To?

Oh so many. But sometimes some of those favorite destinations turned out to be quite difficult flights (tiring, long or with demanding passengers) – therefore with lot of work on board. My favorite destination was New York, simply because that was my dream city destination since being young.  Asian and Australian cities like Singapore, Bangkok and Sydney. Why? Because I knew once I stop flying, it will be less likely to go that far in the World and at my private expense. I always choose some new destination each year to go to.

These destinations I mentioned, I loved due to their cultures, food, shopping, spa treatments, nature and so many different things to see, buy and experience, which we do not have in Europe.

* Does Seniority Determine Whether You Work In 1st, Business or Economy Class?

Yes it does, when you are in Economy class, it is the most demanding cabin, as you are the junior flight attendant and you have a much bigger number of passengers to serve, all on timely manner and with no complaints. Business class is also very demanding, but it is a more sophisticated service, similar to going to some fancy restaurants and there are less number of passengers to be served with more dedication and care.

Flight attendants that work in First Class are most often, already a Purser or a Senior Flight Steward, who offer the highest level of service. Plus, they need to serve the flight crew (pilots) and take care of any of the difficulties or emergencies on board. That is why you need to be a senior attendant, and who is very familiar with the aircraft. They also manage the crew, and  passengers etc.

* Have You Had Any VIP’s or Celebrities On A Flight With You?

I haven’t had any known movie actors, sport stars or singers that I am aware of, but I did have the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, (once part of British Royalty) on board. She was on a flight from London to Dubai, and we had to follow some standards in addressing and serving her when on-board the flight.

* What Is Your Most Memorable Moment As A Flight Attendant?

The best thing of all from being a flight attendant is meeting so many different people and cultures in a short period of time, and flying to destinations you may have not even imagined. What I remember always is how we as flight attendants made so many times some passengers’ day. Whether it was to surprise passengers with a birthday cake on board, kids with toys or to provide a nice service to poor people, who may be flying for the first time.  For example, perhaps a  construction worker flying from India, or Bangladesh and to make them feel important and valued.

Those moments when you see a smile on the people’s faces because you did something good for them, are priceless!

* What Is Your Least Favorite Moment?

What I really disliked was when passengers were greedy and wanted more, after having  served them with quite a rich offering that is provided by the airlines. So those demanding passengers were sometimes very annoying or aggressive, and we had to be polite and handle them with a kind manner.

Also we had often drunk passengers who could not handle themselves and sometimes could cause problems with other passengers, or endangering the aircraft even. So then we had to be very careful and it was very unpleasant, as you cannot be sure how that drunk passenger would react at the end.

One of the least favorite moments for me also was when we had a rejected landing. We were about to land at some Indian airport, but outside was a heavy rain as it was monsoon season. It was night and the visibility was very low.  As we were approaching the runway, suddenly the pilot pulled the plane upward very steeply and we didn’t know what was going on. The passengers were looking at me with fear, until the captain spoke on the public announcement about it and why it was done.  I could not show my reaction of fear (which I felt as well).

* What Is Your Biggest Pet Peeve In Dealing With Passengers?

That would be that somehow, some people tend to act as children once they step into the aircraft. We all understand that if you pay an expensive ticket you expect to get most for it.  Emirates Airlines is an airline I worked for and it is a great host to its passengers. They provide passengers a lot, from attention to details to quality of products offered.

But then, I had many times requests from passengers who were not genuine, but just want  to take advantage of you to get more free stuff (apart from what is already offered), like children do sometimes.  For example, moms with their babies who didn’t carry with them, milk, milk jugs or nappies, since they knew we will give those out for free.

Or they may complain why the coffee being served in Economy class is not from coffee chain Starbucks, since we serve a regular Nescafe like every airline does. It can get frustrating when some passengers can never seem to get enough, or be satisfied.

Classy Explorer

Bio:

My name is Mirela, but I also go under the blogger’s name Classy Explorer. I am a Serbian-Hungarian girl who has made her dreams come true, by becoming a flight attendant for one of the best airlines in the World – Emirates Airlines, and get to travel around the Globe.  I had done this amazing job for a couple of years, then returned back to the regular way of living and now working as an economist.

I started my Classy Explorer blog 3 years ago in order to write about my travel experiences and to educate young people how to become flight attendants as well, to motivate and assist them as much as I can. I do it as a hobby, which I enjoy very much!  Mirela’s blog can be found at … The Classy Explorer.

 

Flight Attendant Joe

Life As A Flight Attendant #3

Flight Attendant Joe

 

* What Inspired You To Become A Flight Attendant?

I always wanted to travel and see as much of the country and world as possible. Sadly, I was afraid to fly. Terrified. Once I got over my fear of flying, I applied to an airline and I’ve been a flight attendant over 10 years now.

* Did You Have To Relocate When Hired By The Airlines?

I did not have to relocate. I lived in Florida at the time and I was based in JFK with a crash pad for when I sat on reserve waiting for my assignment.

* What Is The Toughest Part Of Your Job?

Boarding. I hate it. Let me rephrase that, I loathe it. I’d rather spend five hours serving beverages than stand up front as the lead flight attendant for one boarding. Watching passengers stroll onto an airplane without knowing how to read their boarding pass, how to put their bag in the overhead bin, and push their way through the aisle to get to the lavatory makes me want to pop Xanax as a hobby.

* How Do You Deal With Time Changes & Jet-Lag?

I only fly domestic so I do not suffer much jet lag. I can manage traveling from coast to coast without having any jet lag issues. I live on the west coast and I am based on the east coast, so I’ve mastered that. Now, if I go to Europe for a vacation, I usually need a day to recover when I get home. I stay in bed and nap as much as I want and call out for pizza.

* Where Is Your Favorite Destination To Fly To?

I never get tired of Las Vegas. But I have a small list: Anchorage, Austin, Seattle, and Cleveland.

* Does Seniority Determine Whether You Work In 1st, Business or Economy Class?

Seniority determines EVERYTHING!

* Have You Had Any VIP’s or Celebrities On A Flight With You?

I have, but I can’t really share it. The only thing I’ll say is, I’ve met President Snow from The Hunger Games, his wife, and their little dog.

* What Is Your Most Memorable Moment As A Flight Attendant?

The time a female passenger spilled spicy tomato juice in her lap and then begged me to wipe her clean in the front lavatory (in front of the entire first row) because she couldn’t reach around. It’s so memorable, I wrote about it in my first book.

* What Is Your Least Favorite Moment?

One time during a chaotic boarding (what boarding isn’t chaotic, am I right?) I was standing in row 19 talking to another passenger when a female passenger dropped the F-Bomb and told me to get out of her way. It changed my attitude regarding what I allow passengers to say to me on the airplane. Again, I featured this story in my first book as well.

* What Is Your Biggest Pet Peeve In Dealing With Passengers?

When I pull the cart to their row, lock the break, ask a passenger what they’d like to drink and they ignore me making me have to ask them two or three times. There’s that and also the, “What do you have?” which makes me want to throw a can of Sprite at someone.

Bio:

Joe Thomas is a writer, comedian, flight attendant, podcaster, and the creator of the blog, Flight Attendant Joe. He is the author of “Fasten Your Seat Belts and Eat Your F&cking Nuts” and “Flight Attendant Joe”. He also co-hosts the adult comedy podcast, Confessions On The Fly with LJ and Flight Attendant Joe.

Joe resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his husband Matt and their two amazing and loving — but always hungry for food — cats, Tucker and Harvey.  Joe’s blog can be found at … Flight Attendant Joe.

 

My Mommy Flies

Life As A Flight Attendant #4

My Mommie Flies

* What Inspired You To Become A Flight Attendant?

After working in customer service for the airline, I wanted to do something different. I also wanted to travel more.

* Did You Have To Relocate When Hired By The Airlines?

Well sort of. I was based in NYC for 3 months when I first started flying. I commuted to NY for work trips and stayed with my sister in Brooklyn and then rented a crash pad before I was able to transfer to my home base.

* What Is The Toughest Part Of Your Job?

Not being able to plan things in advance. My schedule is published monthly. Even with the flexibility, I still don’t know exactly what my schedule will be until I get it. I usually have to reschedule appointments which can be a pain.

* How Do You Deal With Time Changes & Jet-Lag?

I guess I got use to it now.. I try to exercise and eat healthy to give my body what it needs to keep me going.

* Where Is Your Favorite Destination To Fly To?

I have several. New Orleans always excite me. Costa Rica is also at the top of the list and anywhere with a nice beach! 🙂

* Does Seniority Determine Whether You Work In 1st, Business or Economy Class?

Yes, but it’s not really a huge deal amongst the crews I work with.

* Have You Had Any VIP’s or Celebrities On A Flight With You?

Yes. Celebrity sightings comes with the job. I mostly see them in the airport though.

* What Is Your Most Memorable Moment As A Flight Attendant?

Playing a prank on a new pilot. During a flight he was taking a bathroom break, but just before he went in I ran in with a newspaper, positioned myself over the toilet with the newspaper fully open as if I was reading on the toilet. We left the door unlocked so when he entered and saw me he made a gasping sound and slammed the door back.

Hilarious moment I replay over and over just for giggles!

* What Is Your Least Favorite Moment?

Flying into LAX the winds were too strong to land so we diverted to SAN. We had to wait there for several hours before getting clearance to attempt to land in LAX.

* What Is Your Biggest Pet Peeve In Dealing With Passengers?

Most upset irate passengers just want to vent. I’ll listen with no problem. It’s only when they become very explicative that I turn and walk away.

Bio:

Katrina Morrison is a travel influencer and creator of MyMommyFlies.com, a family travel blog established in 2013. She writes about her travels and experience as a flight attendant, wife, and home school mom of 3. She has contributed to several publications including Working Mother Magazine and Vinings Lifestyle Magazine. She is featured on the cover of South Fulton Lifestyle Magazine May 2018 “Movers & Shakers” edition.

When she’s not zipping through time zones, Katrina enjoys spending time with her family and planning their next destination. Katrina’s blog can be found at … My Mommy Flies.

The Hoppy Flight Attendant

Life As A Flight Attendant #5

hoppy flight attendant

*What Inspired You to Become a Flight Attendant?

I’ve always had the travel bug. My Mom was always on the go and we moved several times when I was younger. She also invested in taking us on adventures or vacations instead of getting us gifts we’d grow out of. Memories last a lifetime!

I went to college for English Linguistics and was planning on working towards a Masters in Linguistics. However after signing up for graduate classes it just didn’t feel right. I decided it was finally time to pursue my dream of being a flight attendant.

I never really thought it would happen or I could make a career out of it but I couldn’t be happier, even now during a pandemic!

*Did You Have to Relocate When Hired by the Airlines?

Yes, at first. I originally got hired at a regional airline in the U.S. that does contract flying for mainline carriers like Delta and American. They do not allow commuting your first year. I’m thankful for that now cause it would have been a disaster and I don’t recommend it for first year flight attendants either!

So I moved to Minneapolis having never been there or really heard anything about it except that it was cold and Prince was from there. I also only had a weeks notice, but that’s how it goes in the airline industry you’ve gotta be ready for anything at any moment.

A year later I was able to get on at my dream airline and I live part time in Boston and part time in upstate New York.

*What is the Toughest Part of Your Job?

Dealing with rude passengers, especially the ones who are taking out their anger at past grievances on you. It’s just like with any customer service job, you just have to take a deep breath and let it go.

*How do You Deal with Time Changes and Jet-lag?

Lots of lavender scented pillow spray! I honestly get used to it the more I fly. However, if I’m tired I will just go to sleep no matter what time it is where I am. I always have an eye mask and you can use the clip hangers from the hotel closet to keep together pesky curtains & keep the room dark.

Where is Your Favorite Destination to Fly to? It kind of depends on my mood and the season. I love flying to San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C. to visit my favorite bookstores and coffee shops. I also love flying to cities with lots of breweries like Denver, Asheville, and Chicago.

My favorite international layover is London but it can be very expensive and it’s overwhelming how much there is to do there!

*Does Seniority Determine Whether You Work in 1st, Business, or Economy Class?

Sort of. Luckily we have lots of opportunities to swap our schedules around. Some people hate working certain cabins or being in more of a leader role onboard, every flight attendant wants something different out of this job.

It really depends on how much time and energy you put into bidding and swapping with your schedule. I also just got hired and did extra training to be a qualified purser (an international flight leader) so the more qualifications you have the better your chances are of getting the positions onboard that you like to do.

*Have You Had any VIP’s or Celebrities on a Flight with You?

So far I’ve had Uncle Joey from Full House (Dave Coulier) and Ciara. I’m still waiting for Doctor Mcdreamy to board one of my flights though!

*What is Your Most Memorable Moment as a Flight Attendant?

I can’t narrow it down to one specific thing but to me the best part of this job and most memorable is the connections you make. You work with people you’ve never met and instantly become best friends, you meet passengers who have lost someone or who are going to meet their grand babies.

You meet an overwhelming amount of people every day and get to know their story, learn something new and possibly make life long friends. I have a friend who ended up marrying a passenger onboard her flight. It’s by far the most rewarding and memorable part of this job.

*What is Your Least Favorite Moment?

I had my first medical event on Christmas Eve. A father was traveling with his son (about 3-4 years old) back home and you could tell they had been through a rough day. We had also had a very long work day and were sad to be away from our families for the holidays.

About 30 minutes into the flight the boy went unconscious and as pale as a ghost. Luckily we had a doctor onboard and after a couple minutes the boy was alert and recovering. It’s moments like that I worry about every day as a flight attendant.

Most people don’t think about how few resources we have in the air and that flight attendants have had medical training to manage these situations if needed.

*What is Your Biggest Pet Peeve in Dealing with Passengers?

Having to repeat myself over and over again. I know you’re listening to your music or watching a video but if we’re talking it’s for your safety or comfort so please do us and you a favor and listen 🙂

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked a passenger if they’d like something to drink and they just stare at me trying to read lips.

the hoppy flight attendant

Bio:

I ’m Hannah and I run a blog called The Hoppy Flight Attendant. I started it about a year ago because I really missed writing. I write mostly about my travels and travel tips and hacks for other travelers.

I also write about my favorite breweries around the world and what beer I recommend. I’m currently working on opening up a travel and beer themed Etsy shop as well as some advice column and blog posts to help current and aspiring flight attendants.

When I’m not flying around the world or working on my blog I’m usually relaxing at home with my boyfriend and my snuggly cat. I like to cook, read, kayak and do yoga.  Hannah’s blog can be found at … TheHoppyFlightAttendant.

Aircraft Landing

There you have it!

Each one of these individuals shared their personal views on what Life As A Flight Attendant can really be like. It certainly is not all glitz and glamour, but a lot of hard work and long hours.

Certainly, if you have a passion for travel and enjoy working and serving people, then I can’t imagine a more perfect career!

Regal Princess Cruise Ship

My niece just finished 10 years working on a major cruise line while she was single, and after circumnavigating the globe a number of times, she has memories that will last for a lifetime!

The next time you’re flying, take the time to show a friendly smile and thank your flight attendant for the work they do and things they put up with on a daily basis!

Safe and Healthy Travels! 🙂

signature of author and owner Robert Tellier at https://gr8traveltips.com
 
✨   Did You Know …


“Careers For Flight Attendants Began Back In The 1930’s.”

 

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