Being a flight attendant isn't all glitz and glamour 24/7. We work in an environment that is constantly changing. No flight is the same as another. Any number of unexpected delays can be right around the corner. Not to mention traveling with people who don't typically like to listen to crewmembers' instructions. While this is a dream job for me, it's not perfect all of the time. And I'm here to be real about the negatives.
10 Difficult Things About Being a Flight Attendant
- Getting the minimum amount of rest - There is a minimum amount of rest that flight attendants have to get. This varies with the different types of duty periods (i.e domestic, international, long-haul international, etc.) But minimum rest is minimum rest. And when our rest is reduced to the minimum, it's not fun. This one goes hand in hand with the next one...
- Extended duty periods - Just like rest, there is a maximum amount of hours that a flight attendant can be on duty. Again, it varies with the type of trip that they're on, but working past that threshold is hard. (Side note: we're not forced to work past our maximum - we can choose to keep working or walk). It usually involves lengthy delays or extended sit times at airports. One time, the weather in our destination city delayed our flight (among others) for five hours. And we had boarded the plane. So, for five hours, we sat at the gate (door open with passengers having the opportunity to deplane), trying to hold onto whatever sanity we had left. Because we happened to have an issue with an earlier flight that day. It was just one of those days.
- Being away from home - While I love traveling and exploring places, being away from home is tough sometimes. I have an adorable husband and two adorable cats and it's hard to be away from them all the time. The summer and holidays make it all the more harder - I tend to work more around those times.
- Slam-clickers / inconsiderate crews - I'd worked my fair share of trips where the layover is great, but the crew doesn't want to do anything (see: slam-clicker). I don't have a problem going out on my own - sometimes, it's nice to go out with the crew and debrief :). And I've flown with a few inconsiderate people, as in we set up a time to meet to go out and then they ditch me. Kind of one of the worst feelings in this business.
- The drama - Being a flight attendant is easy when nothing goes wrong. Some people take this job to a whole 'nother level and make mountains out of molehills. The catering of a cart is a big deal. "Improper" cart setup is a big deal. The pilots saying something a certain way is a big deal. I'll be honest, I've been sucked into the complaining and drama before. I'm not immune to it, but I am a lot more wary of it these days. Because, in the grand scheme of things, it's not a big deal. C'est pas grave.
- Wearing pantyhose / tights / stockings - whatever you want to call them. They are the devil. Because I don't want varicose veins in later life, I wear compression hosiery. And those are from the seventh circle of hell.
- Dry skin - airplane air is sooooooo drying. Dry lips and dry hands are the bane of my existence. I always try to drink more water than I think I need so that I stay hydrated in flight.
- Finding the right heels - For the first year of my career, I rarely changed into my onboard flats if the flight was less than two hours. That resulted in sore feet. I had a wide range of inserts for my torn-up concourse heels. It's hard to find decently priced, comfortable, stylish, compliant concourse shoes for work.
- Inconsiderate passengers - You're about to share this metal tube with more than a hundred people. And they have stuff too. Just because there's a completely open bin near your seat doesn't mean you should fill it up with all of your things. And you should probably listen to your flight attendants instead of trying to argue with them. No matter how often you fly, we fly more than you do.
- Ridiculous taxi times - I say it all the time: ATL, LGA, and JFK are the airports where you can land 20 minutes early and still be 10 minutes late to the gate. Usually, the captain will make an announcement to the effect of, "Uhhhhhhhh ladies and gentlemen, weeeeeee'rrrreeee juuuuust short of the gate. There's another aircraft occupying the gate. It'll be juuuuuussst a few minutes, so please remain seated with seatbelts securely fastened about you until we turn the seatbelt light off." Really, this is more a little inconvenience than a real complaint. Because I can't find too many negative things about this job.
IRL, I do a hilarious pilot PA. Maybe I'll do a video of it someday. Really, it's just me saying UHHHHHHHH a lot. ?
Drop a line in the comments if you have any similar frustrations about this job, or maybe if yours are different. Or if you are learning something completely new about being cabin crew.
Here's to pushing past the negatives to enjoy the positives,