Have you ever thought about becoming a flight attendant? Here are 10 things you may not know about being a flight attendant.
- They only get paid from when the door closes to when the door opens – Flight attendants only get paid for their “flight time” which means when they are on the plane and the door is closed. That means boarding, deplaning, and all that time in airports, you’re flight attendants are not getting their hourly pay. They are getting a per diem but it’s so small it’s practically pennies compared to their hourly rate.
- Their schedule is flexible and not like your typical desk job – I always get asked how many hours I work a week. It’s not like a normal job. One week I may fly six days and the next week I many only fly one. It all depends on our seniority and what routes we are able to hold and on what day of the week.
- They are more than just a glorified sky waitress – The main job of a flight attendant is to get you safely from point A to point B. The diet cokes and peanuts are extra. They are trained to handle every possible emergency that could happen on an aircraft and hold the lives of all their passengers in their perfectly manicured hands.
- They can sleep practically anywhere – When you are constantly on the go there are times where you have to try and catch some shut eye no matter where you are. Flight attendants can’t sleep while they are working a flight (unless it is a designated crew rest) so naps are essential. On larger aircrafts the crew has the luxury of sleeping in a crew bunk rest area. The best way I can describe it is a tiny room with bunk beds. On sits (the time between flights which can vary from less than an hour up to 5 hours) you sleep in an airport chair or recliner (if you’re lucky enough to have a crew lounge that has an available one). Crew members have learned to sleep on the van ride on the way to the airport, on an airplane while deadheading (they are not working crew members but the airlines needs to get them to a destination to work a different flight) or in the lobby of a hotel if our rooms aren’t ready for our layover.
- There is a darker side to the “fly life” – It is a little frightening how easy it is to be worn down by the job. Anxiety and depression are extremely common as the job can be isolating, stressful, and abusive. We spend a lot of time alone as our schedules are not the normal 9 – 5 and we rarely work with the same crew members. We deal with stressful situations such as serious medical issues in flight and get verbally and sometimes physically abused by random strangers (our passengers). The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health says flight attendants are 1.5 times more likely to commit suicide and 2.5 times more likely to die of alcoholism compared to the general population.