Some say that a Flight Attendant is just a glorified waitress.
Others look at the crew and think that it is like a regular job that does not stress you out or wears you out. And why would there be stress or fatigue? You get to travel all around the world, sit in the airplane, sell some drinks and then say a warm goodbye for the passengers leaving the aircraft. You ask yourself, what is so difficult about it?
Well, we think otherwise. We think that working as a flight attendant is hard. It’s almost comparable to working as a pilot and their job is not very easy!
But if you ask us why working as a flight attendant is hard, here are the top 5 reasons why:
5. Low wages
Now, this might be a bit controversial, but compared to pilots, Flight attendants do not earn much.
Sure, the salary is definitely liveable on and they do earn much more than a usual person.
But at the same time, flight attendants have so much responsibility on their heads that their salary does not properly reward them. We‘ll talk about their responsibilities much later, but being a flight attendant is certainly not an easy task to do. To illustrate, imagine a stress-to-reward ratio, and that ratio is swinging a lot to the side of stress.
However, while the wages might not properly reward them for the work, a career as a flight attendant means that you get to travel all around the world and see certain cities at least for a brief moment. So there are other, non-monetary benefits to the job.
From the airline business point-of-view, raising the wages of their cabin crew might put them at risk of bankruptcy, which is even worse as everyone, including Flight attendants, would lose their jobs.
The aviation industry is a wild ride of ups and downs. The most recent example of that is WOW Air – an airline that declared that they are ceasing all operations. The announced surprised everyone in the industry, probably including the people that worked there. But to illustrate, just in 2016 the airline reaped in massive profits and it was flourishing. WOW Air was expanding it‘s route network and buying, leasing new aircraft.
However, just one year later, the airline was in deep trouble. The first signs of bankruptcy showed up and they needed money fast, which they did not receive. The story repeats itself throughout the history of aviation, so this is nothing new.
But it showcases that one trigger might set off a chain of events that can fade an airline into history. Which in turn means that people‘s jobs are also going down in history.
Another aspect of a flight attendant career is that the job itself is unstable. You obviously travel a lot, so a family, further education in a university or settling down somewhere is nearly impossible as you never know where will you end up at the end of the day.
Of course, you know your schedule ahead of time, but that time frame is not enough and you sometimes might miss important dates in your lives – friends‘ birthdays, family holidays or any other occasion.
The flight training process for Flight attendants can be quite rough.
Firstly, it is strict and long, as flight attendants have to know their aircraft thoroughly. Same as pilots, who get a type rating to be able to fly an aircraft, so does the cabin crew have to get their type rating on which aircraft they can work on.
The training takes place in various environments. You learn the basic stuff like opening the door of the aircraft or taking the passengers through safety instructions. It also includes preparing for such situations as giving first aid or helping out passengers with any kind of health emergency.
But even the most rigorous training could not prepare you for some situations, such as delivering babies, as it happened on a Turkish Airlines flight in 2017.
In addition, a Flight attendant needs to showcase his skills in customer service, such as serving their superiors who pretend to be passengers. The potential cabin crew members also need to display their skills in make-up and keeping a clean uniform.
Furthermore, even if you make it through the interview process and begin training, you still need to display your best abilities. If worst comes to worst, you might not get hired if you fail the training process.
The main engine that drives the aviation industry is humans. At the basic level, if there are no passengers, aviation would not have been where it is now. If there are no pilots, planes would not fly, if there are no engineers, the planes would run for a few years only. The list goes on.
But a flight attendant has to deal with human beings and their needs constantly. Now, to put it lightly, humans can be mean.
Flight attendant serving customers Flight attendant serving customers
There multiple instances where flight attendants have had a scary experience when dealing with passengers. For example, a passenger was holding a flight attendant hostage or a supervisor slapping a cabin crew member. Yep, even your own colleagues can be difficult to deal with.
So that is why not only the constantly buzzing engines and movements in the air can get tiring. Passengers can also contribute to the fatigue that flight attendants experience when they work.
But when it comes down to it, the biggest reason why working as a flight attendant is very difficult is that you are responsible for the lives of everyone on board. It is not just serving drinks, snacks and other shopping items.
First and foremost, you need to make sure that in an emergency situation, the headless chickens that are the passengers do not get lost and everyone stays safe. You are responsible for peace on board, you prevent any harassment from happening or anyone losing their mind, figuratively. Passengers to a flight attendant are just like children that they need to take care of, as they can get quite nervous.
And then secondly a flight attendant serves meals or fills a cup of water.
So, the next time you get on a flight just remember that the people that work on the aircraft are the people that you trust your life with. Respect and take care of them.
As a final point, if you are thinking about becoming a flight attendant, do not get scared. While some parts of the job can be difficult, but on the other hand, there are so many benefits to it. The pros definitely outweigh the cons!