THE TOP 5 WORST THINGS ABOUT BEING A FLIGHT ATTENDANT
Your time at home with this job is almost as rare finding a person in 2015 who isn’t a vegan, atheist, or crossfitter. You may have 10 days off a month and still only spend about 3 of them at home if you decide to travel on your off days. It is a huge adjustment to figure out a home-life balance, but 100% necessary. I don’t care what anyone tells you about “the whole world being their home”, or how “not being tied to one place” is what flight attendant life is about. That’s a bunch of crap. You might not be home a lot, but when you are, you have to try extra hard to stay on top of things. You need to make sure you have friendships at home and remember to work on those relationships because even when you are gone, their lives are still moving. You need to make sure you have time to do laundry when you are home and a little routine cleaning. You will be surprised at how much dust can collect in a months time when you aren’t home. And most importantly, you need to have a place you call home. The last thing you want to do after a 3 day trip is come home for a short nights sleep on an air-mattress. Yes, you are gone most of the time, but if you are doing this job, you are at least in your 20′s and you need to start adulting. You need to have a place to call your own, and you need the staples of living, like a bed, a table, and possibly a couch if you ever want to have people over, you don’t want them to be awkwardly standing around an air-mattress in the middle of a room.
4. Eating Habits
It is hard to keep a semi-normal diet with this job. You try to grocery shop, but almost everything goes bad before you have a chance to eat it. I personally love fruits and vegetables, as well as fries and ice cream, but produce does not hold up well when you aren’t home to eat it. Your options are to find the easiest things to pack while traveling and only get those things, or to go produce shopping on every day off that you have and only get the few things that you know you will eat in a day or two’s time. Also, you have to be careful with what you eat in the air. We are on the planes all day long with an endless amount of snacks and as delicious as they are, they are packed with sodium! Flight attendants all know the bloated feeling we get when we are flying and sodium makes it 10 times worse. It is hard to pack full meals for a 3 day trip, but you surely don’t want to be eating out all the time. Not only is that unhealthy, it is also very expensive.
There are people who love doing red-eyes and will only work red-eyes. Hats off to you crazies, because I HATE them. I like to keep a little bit of normalcy in my life and that means that when it is 3 in the morning, I am sleeping, not working. I enjoy being awake and being able to go out and to do things during the day. I have a better time adjusting from the time change during an international trip than I do with red-eyes because usually when I am getting home from an international trip, I go to bed early and lose a few hours that I would normally have, but with red-eyes, I will come home and sleep away the entire day and that is no bueno for this girl.
Boarding is the reason that flight attendants question if there is a God. How hard is it to find your seat and sit there?! I mean come on! There are so many different components that make boarding my least favorite part of the day. For starters, do not come on the plane and go straight to the bathroom in the back, and then fight against the opposite flow of traffic to get to your seat in the first row. You just sat out at the gate on average for a solid 30 minutes before the boarding process began, so if you didn’t go then, I am sorry, but you can hold it for another 20 minutes until we are in the air. Another thing, stop putting every single possession that you have acquired in your life in the overhead bin. Not only are you taking an hour to sit down, you are being selfish and rude to the other passengers who obey the proper etiquette of flying with the +1 rule. And finally, do not waste everyone’s time rearranging seats with everyone around you! Unless you have a child under 5 and for some reason beyond my knowledge, you DIDN’T book your seats together because maybe they were driving you crazy the day you booked the tickets, you do not need to hold up the boarding process to change seats to sit with someone for a 3 hour flight that you are probably going to have headphones in for anyways.
1. Bathroom doors
Unless you are already a flight attendant you will not understand this one. As flight attendants, we have come to the conclusion that when people step onto the aircraft, they are entering a parallel universe where push means to try pulling, and no smoking signs turn into magic door handles. I think the thing that makes this the most annoying is that it never ends. Passenger after passenger, day after day, will come to the bathroom door and repeatedly try to open the bathroom door in a new way that highlights the stupidity of the human race. It never fails either, when people are trying to open the door by simply staring at it, or pushing the wall next to the door of the bathroom, the passenger will look at you and give a little sheepish smile waiting for some assistance. Flight attendants have two options:
1. Look at them a little wide-eyed and concerned that a full grown man can’t figure out how to get in the bathroom and say “push” even though it is already on the door.
2. Smile. If they have to go to the bathroom they can figure it out.
THE TOP 5 BEST THINGS ABOUT BEING A FLIGHT ATTENDANT
I don’t care what they told you about personal past times on the jumpseat in training, but if you are a reader, you will find yourself having time to finish all those books you never got around to with your old job. I am all about the rules and being professional, but if you really think that on those international flights where you have 4 hours to kill in between services that you can just sit there and stare at the person with their feet perched up on the back of 15C’s armrest, more power to you. Do the service, be professional, and don’t get annoyed when passengers ask for things after the service is over, but other than that, feel free to read, eat, and gossip on the down time.
Once you become a flight attendant shopping will never be the same for you! When holidays and birthdays come around, you are going to be known for your unique gifts that you were able to collect from all of your travels. &of course gift giving is great, but don’t forget to treat yourself! If there is a perfume you love from France, get it! If you love a little boutique in New Orleans, don’t pass it up! Or if you want to save up and splurge on some high fashion merchandise from New York or Milan, do it once a year! You have worked for this money and you deserve a little gift for yourself every now and then. The best part is, even if you just get a little trinket somewhere, it will always remind you of the time spent in that place.
This job gives you more power over your schedule than any other job that I can think of! You can choose how little or how much you want to work. You can choose where you want to go on your layovers, or if you don’t really want layovers at all, you can choose to simply do turns. The benefit of this for me is: VACATION! I am able to take a week vacation every month if I want. Once the schedules are released, I spend an hour or two swapping/picking things up and moving the majority of my days off together. Later on, this will allow me to go on a little vacation, or if I want, it gives me the space to pick up a trip with an awesome layover that I wasn’t given on my schedule. Ideally, I will look for a layover in another base that has at least a 2 day layover and try to get one of my FA friends to fly out and spend the layover with me, or a friend I already have nearby, because what can be better than a little 2 day trip that is all paid for?!
You will meet amazing people doing this job. You will make friends with your co-workers, go on dates with passengers, and meet the coolest people in the local pubs! This job can be whatever you want it to be, so if you want to make friends in every city, you can do that! Or if you want to go on a date every night with a new person, you can do that too! In my personal experience, I had a GREAT time with this job in the beginning! I made friends with FAs, Pilots, and passengers. It was exciting and new, and as a young, single, flight attendant, why not just have fun with it? I was going out and exploring with my crew mates, going on dates with musicians from my flights, and getting the cute boys in the bars to buy me drinks! Everyone loves a flight attendant but few people want to date them, so if you are looking to just have a good time in a new place, be a little extra flirty, its all good. If you are looking to meet your spouse at the Louvre, while admiring the same painting, you might want to stick to your romance novels.
Of course this is the highlight of the job! Not only do you get to spend your layovers in amazing places, but on your days off, the world is one standby flight away! You might hear some other flight attendants complain about the ever so glamorous life of standby flying, but it really isn’t soul-killing I promise you. I have been able to hop on a plane virtually every time that I have flown standby and it has allowed me to visit my family numerous times, go on quick vacations to theme parks all over the country, or fly first class to vacation overseas! The opportunities this job gives you are endless and I wish everyone who has this job, or aspires to have this job, never forgets the wanderlust that brought them here and continues to seek out adventure.