There are many misconceptions that exist about being a flight attendant. The job is often seen as glamorous because of the way flight attendants have to dress, the lifestyle of travel to exotic destinations, and more.
Different than most people imagine, the life of a flight attendant is not just about adventure, luxury, or romance in every city. There’s a lot more to the job than many people are aware of and it can be challenging to change the perceptions of those who have no idea of their many responsibilities.
Here are ten common misconceptions about flight attendants.
Cabin crew are glorified waitresses
There is far more to being a flight attendant than wearing lipstick and floating down the aisles taking orders for food and drinks. Flight attendants spend six days a week for several weeks learning how to take care of passengers in the event of medical or flight emergencies.
Did you know that they are trained to perform CPR? They have to instruct passengers on safety procedures, including the proper use of seat belts and oxygen. Enforcing certain safety rules may cause resentment from passengers, but they have to keep smiling and carry on because it’s an important part of the job.
Another part of the job is to make sure all the necessary supplies are on board before the plane takes off and clean it after the passengers leave.
Cabin crew are unintelligent
Most airlines require flight attendants to have a high school diploma, but many of them prefer candidates to have post-school education or experience. Flight attendants are probably more educated than most. The selection process for being a flight attendant is long and thorough and it is not that easy to get hired.
Cabin crew assessment days are held to recruit individuals and they have to go through several types of tests. One of the tests is a mathematics test that involves using basic math in a cabin crew situation. There is also a language test, a general knowledge test and a group test.
Flight safety, self-defence and first aid are just part of what flight attendants have to know and they receive recurrent training on a yearly basis to maintain their certification.
Cabin crew are young, single girls
The image of young, single, unattached flight attendants still persists, but not all flight attendants are young, single, or girls. There are a number of male flight attendants today and not all of them are gay (another stereotype).
Back in the 1960s, Pan Am put a weight restriction on cabin crew and they had to be unmarried, have no children, and retire before the age of 32. Now, these restrictions like this no longer apply. For instance, there are a number of married flight attendants with children.
Cabin crew party all the time
The long shifts, difficulties on board with demanding passengers and delays can be a real challenge. Often the last thing flight attendants want to do when they’re on a layover is to go out and party. They would rather go to bed, drink a glass of wine and watch Netflix.
Besides, it is not easy for them to organize their social lives when they’re often abroad. In fact, the life of a flight attendant can actually be quite lonely. They basically live out of a suitcase, don’t get to spend much quality time with their families and often miss out on special occasions, like a best friend’s birthday.
The only good time they probably have is when they are new in the job. That’s when the traveling seems heavenly to them. After all, who wouldn’t love a heavy pay package, 5-star hotel stays and world travel that comes with zero cost in a way.
Cabin crew enjoy a lavish lifestyle
Offering a full service means there is no time for hanging out in the cockpit or chatting in the galley. On some days, the workload can be very high. Flight attendants often have to work their ‘butts off’ whilst smiling from ear to ear and being empathetic and patient. They may not get enough sleep or even eat on time.
One flight attendant says that potential recruits probably don’t realize how much trash they have to deal with on a plane. They often have to deal with messy, half-eaten food that may end up all over them.
She says potential recruits probably don’t think about this kind of thing when they are going through the interview process and tackling interview nerves.
Cabin crew have a lover in every country
According to stereotypes, flight attendants have a lover in every country.
The truth is that their lives are full of opportunity and choice, but their dating lives can be difficult. With their chaotic schedules, most flight attendants crave some stability and would like to be in steady relationships, but distance and uncertainty often interfere.
Emily Meyer, who offers a paper writing service, has a best friend who is a flight attendant. Her friend has confided that she is often told by men that they don’t know if they can trust her because of her job.
She says she doesn’t know what they are worried about because it is hardly as though she is greeted by a gorgeous guy as she steps out of the plane in a different country. She’s more likely to be worrying whether there is a refrigerator in her hotel room where she can store her packed lunch!
Cabin crew have attitude
There may be some jaded flight attendants out there but most of them don’t tell people to fasten their seatbelts or put their seats in an upright position to be jerks – they do it for the safety of passengers.
In fact, being a flight attendant often requires considerable emotional intelligence. They deal with people from all walks of life that may be on the plane for vastly different reasons, from flying to a holiday destination to going to a funeral.
Linda Marsden, a marketer for Brill Assignment, says that on her last flight, she watched as a flight attendant juggled with having to deal with a drunken passenger who was trying to hit on her and a woman who seemed to be having a panic attack because she was afraid of flying.
Cabin crew must help to put bags in overhead bins
No, it is not part of the job for a flight attendant to put bags in overhead bins. Passengers often call on a flight attendant to stow hand language when it is too heavy for them to lift. However, although flight attendants need a certain level of fitness, not all of them are cross-fit athletes.
Their companies don’t cover them for the injuries they might sustain when lifting a heavy bag. Jessica Macklethorpe, who works in human resources for Bestessaytips.com, says that she gets really annoyed when she sees passengers traveling with carry-on bags they obviously can’t handle and then expect the flight attendant to lift them.
Cabin crew only work a day or two a week
Those who think flight attendants have an unlimited amount of energy and only work one or two days a week are mistaken. Flight attendants usually have full schedules. When the flight is over, they grab their suitcases and catch a taxi to their ‘temporary home’ for the night.
They may stay in luxurious hotels equipped with gyms and receive a daily allowance to spend on food and sundries, but after a long shift, most of them just want to sleep or rest at the hotel. If they have any time or energy left, they may go and have a few drinks in town or enjoy some sightseeing.
Cabin crew get jobs easily
It is not easy to be accepted as a flight attendant. It usually requires submitting an application, having several interviews and undergoing weeks of rigorous training. Training usually includes every worst-case scenario that could happen in the sky – including crash simulations.
Being a flight attendant is not easy and airlines have to make sure they hire the type of people who can handle the job. What can help a candidate to get hired is a college education, good conversational skills, speaking several languages, being well groomed and having some customer service experience.
Being a flight attendant is an awesome job that presents many exciting opportunities, but like any other job, it has its challenges.
No one can say that the job is a breeze – it involves dealing with difficult passengers, being responsible for their safety, cleaning up messes, having to handle unpredictability and a heavy workload at times. Flight attendants deserve a lot of respect for the way they do their jobs.
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