19 Lesser Known Flight Attendant Facts That You Didn't Know About!

Shirin Biswas
Sep 08, 2022 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Dec 22, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Sudeshna Nag
Read these flight attendant facts to know if or not this profession would suit you!
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.7 Min

It is always great to climb into an aircraft and be treated with the welcoming smile of a flight attendant.

However, are you sure you know enough about their job and the sheer amount of stress that they go through every day? When on a plane, we like to have things a certain way and that's justified as well since we pay such a lot of money for the services.

Flight attendants are the people who make sure that our needs are taken care of, whether it is a pack of peanuts, a bottle of water, or a blanket that we want. Read these flight attendant facts to know about their job!

What is a flight attendant?

Flight attendants are the stewards or stewardesses that serve us when we are on an aircraft. As easy as their jobs might seem to be, flight attendants actually have many roles to play during our journey.

They are responsible for the safety of the passengers as well as for checking if the amenities present on the aircraft are sufficient for the journey. If you notice closely, flight attendants actually spend some time looking at all the passengers that board the aircraft.

This is because a part of their job is to make sure they know who can be of use at times of an emergency. Such screening also helps in making sure that they are aware of anyone who might be in possession of contraband or any such illegal substances.

It does seem exciting to fly around the world, however, such a career is quite literally full of turbulence! In addition to pulling a trolley full of food and drinks, flight attendants also need to run plenty of safety measures. Flight attendants and crew members often function on limited sleep and food.

Depending on the airline service, meals and drinks that are provided for them are often not up to scratch. In addition to all this, their career comes with the extra weight of having to function around unnatural schedules and working hours.

Since flight attendants only get paid for the duration that the aircraft spends in the air, their pay is often unjustified given the amount of time it takes in making sure that everything is in place for the passengers.

Depending on the airlines that they work for, flight attendants can have some of the lowest salaries considering the amount of stress involved in their line of work.

Imagine having to work around the clock, waiting at the airport to fill the spot of another flight attendant just in case they do not manage to make it in time, and then not even get paid since your colleague wasn't late or sick! Suddenly, flying around the world doesn't sound as exciting anymore!

The Role Of A Flight Attendant In An Airplane

If you have ever thought that flight attendants and cabin crew have easy jobs, this article will make you think otherwise. The training that flight attendants receive before they can take up the jobs includes being taught about many emergency procedures and even first aid.

They don't just push the food and drinks around in a trolley and serve you as you need, but also make sure that all the safety protocols of the airline company have been taken care of before the aircraft is deemed ready for taking off into the air.

If you have noticed, flight attendants hardly rest when they are on the aircraft. Right after takeoff, passengers start wanting a drink or some snacks. If not anything to do with food, passengers have all sorts of requirements. They might need blankets and pillows, and flight attendants come to the rescue.

However, for all the ways in which flight attendants serve us, they hardly get enough recognition. They are often treated with rude behavior and bad language if some services do not end up meeting the expectations that the passenger might have expected from the airline.

Working as a flight attendant also means that you will have to help your passengers put their heavy luggage in the overhead cabins. Starting from closing the door to the aircraft to making sure that the plane has enough amenities in case of an emergency landing, flight attendants do it all.

A flight attendant is also required to be able to function on a minimal amount of sleep. Their jobs are such that as long as they are onboard a flight, there are no chances of catching up on much-needed rest.

Airlines are often very strict with the shifts that they make their flight attendants workaround. They often ask them to work for as many as 15-16 hours in a single day.

Considering that the flight attendant might not have their own hometown as the last stop, they would even have to spend the night at the lounge of an airport.

Hence, not only do flight attendants attend to your needs and make sure that your journey is a peaceful and happy one, but they also make sure of everyone's safety and take care of safety equipment such as fire kit, first aid kit, emergency landing, and evacuation vests and others.

Requirements For Being A Flight Attendant

Even though the world is trying to move towards body positivity and inclusivity, being a flight attendant is still sometimes considered a far-fetched dream for anyone who is not slender and petite. Airline companies even have a height bar for flight attendants.

The simple logic that they seem to apply is that such restrictions help in maintaining safety protocols on the aircraft.

Flight attendants also have the need to be strong. They are required to have the capacity of loading overhead bins in case a passenger needs help.

They are also required to be particularly sure on their feet since they have to be comfortable with walking around and assisting passengers even in turbulent weather. The flight of flight attendants also means sleeping very little and still being able to help passengers board the plane.

Flight attendants should also have at least a high school diploma and if possible a Bachelor's degree. One of the many reasons why this industry is considered one of the toughest to get in is that airlines often have absurd requirements.

Airlines also make their chosen candidates go through rigorous training. Such training is intended to check whether or not they would be able to hold their calm in stressful flights such as one with a medical emergency.

During their first aid training process, flight attendants also learn how to perform CPR in case of a medical emergency and if there are no doctors on board.

They go through imitations of fire emergencies as well. There are drills to make sure that each flight attendant is capable of tackling the situation if the plane gets caught in bad weather.

They are well equipped with knowledge of what needs to be done in case of emergency evacuations or landings and hence, it becomes very important that the cabin crew is chosen meticulously from within the candidates of the boot camp.

In the past, airline companies also had strict rules regarding whether or not their airplanes could have a flight attendant that had tattoos and piercings. However, such restrictions have now been eased a little.

While people with piercings are still not allowed to be a part of the attendants on the plane, tattooed people can pass through the extensive lists of checks as long as they are able to make sure that their tattoos are well hidden from the passengers.

When on an airplane, they make sure that there is enough cabin pressure, that each door is closed properly and that the meals onboard are fresh and up to the mark. They are therefore responsible for your food, drink satisfaction with the airline, and even your life in case of emergencies.

Flight attendants do enjoy some free flights!

How many hours do flight attendants fly in a week?

The life of a flight attendant is not easy. There is a great deal of uncertainty and waiting involved. This is because airline companies often have at least two cabin crew members waiting at the departure airport in case there is a mishap and any of the flight attendants cannot make it in time.

Since flight attendants only get paid for the time that the aircraft spends flying, it is not as if the time spent waiting would be paid for or even recognized in the paycheck.

Even though there are restrictions that say that a flight attendant is only supposed to be working for around 12-14 hours a day, a shift can sometimes be as long as 15-16 hours. However, there are chances that the attendants would not be paid for the entire duration.

This is because their salary only reflects the time that they spend flying, and not the time that is taken up by all the safety measures and in making sure that the aircraft is neat and ready for the next set of passengers.

Some flight attendants have fewer working hours in a day than others, however, understandably, they would typically be earning less.

They have around 11 days off in a month, although this is also subjective to the specific airline's policies.

They are often presented with the chance to see the world, but it also comes at the price of long working hours.

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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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Fact-checked by Sudeshna Nag

Master of Arts specializing in History

Sudeshna Nag picture

Sudeshna NagMaster of Arts specializing in History

Having earned a Master's degree in History from the Presidency University in Kolkata, Sudeshna was able to refine these skills and broaden her knowledge base. Not only is she an accomplished fact-checker, but she is also deeply invested in gender research, societal interactions, and mental health. Her professional repertoire also includes experience in translation between Bengali and English content

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