Let’s be honest here. On the flip side of being a flight attendant, there are some downsides to the job as well. One of the biggest issues is fatigue due to long hours away from home during certain times of the year such as holidays or peak travel periods when more flights are available. Another problem that can arise is dealing with unhappy or unruly passengers, which can make a flight attendant’s job much more stressful. Finally, there can also be a lack of job security due to airlines sometimes cutting routes or reducing staff due to economic conditions.
The flight attendant career can be both a very demanding and rewarding job. It is important to be able to handle the demands of the job while still providing excellent customer service. While it’s easy to get carried away with the interesting places to travel or to look forward to wearing that stylish outfit to work, it’s not as simple as an “I’m paid to travel” job as everyone thinks. It’s a lot of work!
Sometimes you will have long hours, and other times you may have short days, but your workday can be unpredictable. The best way to be prepared for this is to know as much as possible about the airline industry and flight attendant careers before you take your first step into the world.
In this section, we will be discussing things flight attendants hate about the job. This list is not meant to scare or discourage you, but rather to give you an honest look at some of the more frustrating or difficult aspects of the job so that you can be better prepared to deal with them.
- 1. You are stuck in a metal tube.
- 2. You may not always have layovers. Sometimes, you will get turnarounds.
- 3. Speaking of layovers, it may not always be your desired destination nor will it be that long.
- 4. You may love your layovers, but the destination weather forecast doesn’t love you back.
- 5. It’s the airline industry. Hence, it’s an all-year-round business organization.
- 6. You’ll be missing out on family and friends.
- 7. Forget the term ‘jet lag’.
- 8. You may be exposed to all kinds of sicknesses and diseases.
- 9. When you’re lucky, you will be empowered to bear the titles of a nurse, a doctor, a firefighter, a bouncer, a nanny, a psychologist, and many, many more reliable superhero personalities.
- 10. It’s a physical job.
- 11. While it’s a physical job, it’s also a customer service job.
1. You are stuck in a metal tube.
Flights can range from 30 minutes to 16 hours, or even more. This is not your typical office job or any other job on the ground for that matter. Feeling exhausted? Distracted by personal issues? Struggling to deal with a difficult passenger? Guess what? You’re inside a tube at 35,000 feet. There’s no ‘stepping-out-for-some-fresh-air’ option, or a smoke break, or a moment where you can phone your mother or boyfriend or girlfriend or best friend. Just sit back, relax, and don’t forget that Bloody Mary 14B asked from you.
2. You may not always have layovers. Sometimes, you will get turnarounds.
Sure, they will advertise that you will be flying for free to Paris, Rio, Phuket, Amsterdam, and all other beautiful, historical and interesting cities. And you will.
But not always. You will get as many turnarounds as layovers. Some days, you will fly to the magnificent city of Athens only to find out that you are not actually going to see this capital city of Greece. Whether it’s Athens, Bombay, Nairobi or other routes you will give, you will only be flying the happy passengers on the way to the destination then flying back another group of people who are done with their holidays. In the first few months on the job, you’ll need to fully understand how to read your roster schedule properly and not assume that everything is going to be a glorious layover.
3. Speaking of layovers, it may not always be your desired destination nor will it be that long.
Before you apply for a specific airline, try to find out how many destinations they go to and how frequently the flights are coming and going. The bigger the airline, the more destinations. But then again, destinations, from a cabin crew perspective, can either be layovers or turnarounds.
So let’s talk about layovers. You are not always going to Bangkok or Venice. You will get as many destinations that you have absolutely no interest in, even if you try or force yourself to immerse – not many touristic spots or shopping districts, not many clubs to party in, and not many activities to do. It may be a good time to catch up on your sleep or go to the hotel gym and pool. Not bad, right? But not exactly the eventful kind of layover you had in mind.
Let’s talk about the layover time. Again, the bigger the airline, the busier it may be. Layovers can be from 24 hours to 48 hours. Some shorter, some longer. While it’s fancy to say that today you are going to have ‘breakfast in Berlin and tonight you will have dinner in London’, it screams a very hectic schedule that you may have both in Berlin and in London if you intend to enjoy these cities in their full magnificence. Besides your planned site-seeing trips, don’t forget that you will have to sleep before the flight on the way back because somebody has to do the tea and coffee service.
4. You may love your layovers, but the destination weather forecast doesn’t love you back.
You may be sent to Moscow where it’s -30 C or Phuket where a typhoon is predicted. Try going out if you want, if it’s safe. Most importantly, you better have the proper clothes to go out and actually manage to have fun. Otherwise, instead of your regular souvenir collection and creative photographs, all you have to bring back to your hotel room is a cold and a fever. It’s no fun working when you’re sick, especially if you’re inside a tube. There’s no clinic up there.
5. It’s the airline industry. Hence, it’s an all-year-round business organization.
Somebody has to serve the people who are flying on Christmas, New Year, Thanksgiving, Ramadan, and whatever holiday or tradition you normally partake in. Let’s not forget your personal special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.
6. You’ll be missing out on family and friends.
As you have a unique schedule every week or month, it can be difficult to make plans with family and friends. You will have to get creative with your time off and try to take advantage of any chance you have to see them. Eventually, you should be able to learn how to build a healthy and happy lifestyle outside the day to day life of a cabin crew to survive this demanding job.
7. Forget the term ‘jet lag’.
The less you pay attention, the less you will be affected. Besides, everyone around you is as much jetlagged as you are. It’s a thing some of your passengers will be deeply concerned with but it’s definitely not something cabin crews are worth talking about.
8. You may be exposed to all kinds of sicknesses and diseases.
You may be the healthiest person you know but people around you, crews and passengers alike who are traveling all over the world may not necessarily be. You are likely to get sick more often in this job than in any other job you’ve had or may have in the future.
9. When you’re lucky, you will be empowered to bear the titles of a nurse, a doctor, a firefighter, a bouncer, a nanny, a psychologist, and many, many more reliable superhero personalities.
Any day you could have a passenger having a simple headache or a passenger giving birth on board. Someone could smoke in the toilet and start a fire; an argument between drunk men in the cabin could escalate to a serious one-on-one fight and the list goes on. Being a cabin crew is probably one of the most colorful jobs out there.
10. It’s a physical job.
Another smart thing to research about the airline you want to work for is how much the cabin crew actually work. You may picture yourself doing the normal airport parades with the rest of the crews and people around taking photos of your group; you must’ve seen yourself doing the safety demo in your cute outfit, going through the aisle like it’s your runway and telling passengers to fasten their seatbelts. That may be true for some airlines, especially domestic or low-budget ones. But for others, it can be an entirely different and complicated story.
Depending on the flying time, you may have to serve your customers at least a tea & coffee service plus some lite bites. It can escalate to a breakfast or a lunch or a dinner service, or all of the above.
Depending on the airline, some also encourage passengers the use the call bell. This is every passenger’s press-me-and-a-genie-will-come-with-a-bottle-of-vodka button. It’s the only thing they see, the only thing they know. Consider your weekly sprint exercise done if you do at least one return long-haul flight.
11. While it’s a physical job, it’s also a customer service job.
Sometimes, you are going to work like a machine but you are also expected to possess the endearing smile of Princess Diana with the elegance of Audrey Hepburn. Don’t worry, you will eventually grow into it. You will develop the unique ability to show that supposed ‘million-dollar smile’ even right at the very second before you’re about to pass out.
So no, the job of a Cabin Crew is not always going to be a walk in the park. It will definitely provide you with an experience of a lifetime in a span of time that not very many jobs could. It’s a great opportunity for growth, development, and most importantly to travel the world. For free. It’s an opportunity to meet new people, make friends for life and see places you would never have thought of going to.
It is important to note that being a Cabin Crew member is not all about the glamorous lifestyle. There are long hours, early mornings, late nights, and lots of time spent away from home. It can be a very demanding job, both physically and mentally. But if you are up for the challenge, then a career as a Cabin Crew member could be perfect for you!