You’ve seen the glamorous Instagram snaps – now read about the ugly and shocking reality of being a flight attendant.
Jay Roberts, who has worked as senior cabin crew for Emirates, asked flight attendants around the world via his popular Fly Guy’s Cabin Crew Lounge network to list the top three things they hate about their job. Then he published a list of the top six responses, along with his thoughts on why they were flagged to him.
Here they are in reverse order…
6 – unruly passengers
Jay writes: ‘Passengers are one of the main reasons most of us sign up as flight attendants. We love meeting travellers and ensuring they stay safe and comfortable during their time in the sky. However, don’t be fooled by our friendly smiles. That love quickly turns to loathe when passengers take their frustrations and bad manners out on us.
Jay Roberts, who has worked as senior cabin crew for Emirates, asked flight attendants around the world via his popular Fly Guy’s Cabin Crew Lounge network to list the top three things they hate about their job
‘I highlight [on my social media pages] the countless acts of unreported aggression, as flight attendants are often too exhausted to handle the reporting process.’
Jay notes that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) investigated 91 cases of unruly passenger behaviour in the U.S in 2017 – and 1,099 in 2021.
5 – working for free and disorganised operations
‘It’s no secret most pilots earn the big bucks working up the front,’ writes Jay on his post. ‘However, many are unaware that down the back, the flight attendants who are busy during boarding saying good morning and helping you deal with your seating and luggage issues are doing so for free.
‘A common practice at airlines is to pay the crew only when the door closes or when the brakes are released on pushback. Like passengers, crew hate delays, but unlike passengers who are there on their own will, your crew is waiting around at work and not getting paid for it.’
The fact that crew often don’t live near their base of operations exacerbates the issue, says Jay, with last-minute schedule changes another dislike widely put forward in this category.
4 – bad memory
‘It’s unsurprising that memory loss came in as the fourth thing flight attendants hate about their job,’ writes Jay. ‘Many ex-crew said they felt the effects on their memory long after they gave up their wings. Hypoxia, jetlag, irregular sleep, and stress are the main contributing factors to our memory decline.’
3 – health, sickness, and diet issues
Based on data collected from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) database, says Jay, the publication ranked flight attendant as the No.8 unhealthiest job on its list of ’47 jobs that will always be bad for your health’.
‘A common practice at airlines is to pay the crew only when the door closes or when the brakes are released on pushback,’ reveals Jay
‘An appropriate synonym for flight attendant could be fatigue attendant,’ writes Jay
Jay adds: ‘The top health risks listed were exposure to contaminants, disease, infections, minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings. Flight attendants I asked listed dry skin, limited access to healthy food, back injuries, bloating, and insomnia as their top ailments.’
2 – feeling lonely
Jay says: ‘It seems hard to believe that someone who spends most of their days confined in a small tube in the sky with hundreds of people could feel so alone. But the truth is when the buh-byes finish, we are isolated in our hotel rooms in far-off lands away from our homes and support networks.’
1 – fatigue and exhaustion
‘An appropriate synonym for flight attendant could be fatigue attendant,’ writes Jay, ‘because every flight attendant I’ve ever known is constantly trying to attend to their fatigue. It’s a battle few ever win. The more time zones we cross, the more jetlag we amass, and at some point in our careers, we give up and learn to live with an overdrawn account in our sleep bank.
‘The exhaustion can be so severe it’s not uncommon to walk into the walls of our hotel rooms when we get up to use the restroom during our deep-death-like sleep.
‘Most flight attendants we asked echoed this experience, saying many times on trips, they wake up not knowing where they are, what day, month, or even year it is.’
For more from Jay visit www.instagram.com/aflyguytravels and www.facebook.com/aflyguyslounge.