Posted Sep 5, 2010 in Travel | 3 Comments

Skywhores Unite Presents: Flight Attendants’ Nightmares

So it took a fed up, burnt out steward with a fabulously gay exit from a plane to get people’s attention. Well as an FA (flight attendant) I have mixed reviews on his actions.

Trust me there are days I feel I could go postal and start whipping cans at passengers’ heads or spit in their faces when they won’t address me with respect, but I would never put anyone at risk.

This he did in a very big way. By opening the armed door  he placed the ‘ground crew’ in possible danger. Those slides maybe full of air but the force that is released is an incredible one, easily knocking someone to his or  her death. So all games aside he was an idiot. An idiot that I love. Being injured by a passenger who then refused to apologize, would have made me bitch slap him or her to kingdom come. Fuck me? No, FUCK YOU!!

Mr. Slater instead took the higher road and used the interphone to insult the little scunt (Caribbean saying). Perfect way to embarrass the person. BUT! He should have stopped right there. I fully understand that if an FA was to be injured by a passenger, they would have no recourse. I have heard numerous stories of crew members not being represented or backed by their companies. So he took matters into his own hands, grabbed a beer and opened an armed door. Bad move.

People, including my friends, have always laughed at me when I state how hard the job is. Let’s give a description of what goes on.

You undergo three lengthy, intense interviews and then eight weeks of training. The interviews are pretty intense but the training is absolutely horrible. During those eight weeks you will witness break ups, tears, fights, and even death. Death you ask? Of course, we can’t tell when someone will die in your family but if  someone does and you have to attend a funeral, well then you’re thrown out. I had  a friend die and I was affected. All I can remember is being told that FAs have to throw their problems aside and make sure passengers are well treated.  Forget my feelings or my loss, other people come first.

Break ups happen because trainees are dealing with about 20 exams per week and the training can start at 5 pm till 1 am. Oh, by the way, there was no bus service at that time and we were headquartered in an industrial park… You’ve gotta figure out your own way home.

During training you weren’t allowed to chew gum, your hair was measured, your shoe heel was measured, no running  allowed, no tardiness, the list goes on. Basically you had to become a perfect robot. Aside from failing examps, any  reason could see you thrown out. People have  failed because their pony tails were too long.

You’re given two days to find an apartment in your base city, but  you have to hurry up because you start work Monday.

People complain about service as if our job is about service. In the eight weeks of training we spent 1 hour on service. When will people realize we’re there to make sure they land safely and alive? We’re trained in first aid and other responsive measures. If we’re service oriented, why is it that we have to re-qualify every year to keep our jobs? Why do we undergo three days of testing annually? If it’s service, why is it that our family history and our partners’ family history are thoroughly checked by international governments?

And yet, we’re still seen as just waiters.

No disrespect, waiting tables is exhausting. Being on your feet for so many hours definitely kills you. Now try doing that in recycled air, with your body being pressured, and passing numerous time zones in one day. Oh, and add the fact that every day is a completely different flight and schedule. One day you’ll start at 5 am, the next day you’ll finish at 7 am only to start the same day you finished for another shift. But remember, keep the smile going, cause your life doesn’t matter. There’s does.

So everyone is jealous of my benefits. Every job has its benefits… Retail = discounts, lawyers = free advice and counseling, banking = mortgages, etc…. So why should we be penalized by people for our benefits?

The stories I could tell you of passengers. It seems the average passenger turns dumb once they enter an airport. If I have to show another passenger where the U.S. destinations is when the American flag is lit up with arrows pointing at it, I’ll puke.

Why do passengers hand you Kleenex they’ve blown their nose into and get upset if you don’t use your hands to throw it away?

Why do passengers yell at you cause your selling meals or headsets, like it’s your choice?

Why do passengers feel they should get headsets, pillows, and food for free? We’re a transport company… Do you expect to wake up in a different city when you go to a hotel?

Why do passengers feel they can insult you?

Why should I deal with passengers who refuse to look me in the eye when speaking to me as if I’m below them?

Why should I respond to passengers that snap their fingers at me like my name is Fido?

Why do so many passengers like to press the FA call button just to see our reactions and giggle when we answer? We’re tired, why do they feel our lives are a joke?

Why do passengers treat the female FAs worse then the men? On certain flights, depending on destinations, the girls are susceptible to assault.

Why do passengers feel that with us flying through the air at 500 mph and the constant humming of the engines and whirling of the ventilations that I should be able to hear them murmur they’re orders?

Why do they feel that because I offer them a drink they can create outrageous orders: for example, “can I have 1/3 orange, 1/3 ginger ale, 1/3 apple juice”… C’mon!!! (Do people truly do this at home? Yet if we say anything, we’re considered rude.)

You know why they do these things? Because they’re jealous of what we do and want us to work extra hard as punishment.

I understand waiters deal with this all the time, but at least they get tipped.

People also tend to forget that we fly at all times of the day for 13 or more hours. We’re only paid for when the plane moves, so for all those hours and delays you experience, we’re not getting paid!

Do you find this amusing? Your day starts at 5am for four days and then on the fifth day you start at 10pm to finish at 6, 7, 8, or 9 am. Yet, we’re supposed to greet everyone with a smile and people wonder why we’re grumpy? Hmmmm, maybe its cause we haven’t slept in over 24 hours and your complaining that we ran out of newspapers.

On top of all this we have quite the reputation of being sluts and having lovers in different cities. To a degree it is somewhat true. The glamorous flying days are long gone though. The beaches of Edmonton or the underground urban landscape of Deerlake, Newfoundland are hardly romantic.

We land at the oddest hours. Getting a booty call at 1 am is kind of hard when your leaving at 11 am, the same morning, and after working 13 hours straight. However we do every now and then have some free time. If I’m single and ready to mingle who’s business is it anyway? People will say “oh your partner is a flight attendant for sure they’re meeting other people“. I say, “bitch, when the cat’s away the mice do play.” This is more common than FAs fooling around in my opinion, but of course no one looks at the ‘stay at home’ partner. Complain about us being away but revel in our benefits.

What about businessmen who travel almost as much as we do? They of course are faithful when they travel, but we’re seen as sluts. I could tell you stories of ‘ye olde hotel lobby’.

All these are annoying, but I must say I wouldn’t change  careers. Why? Because I’ve made life long friends. People I consider family. Pressure and stress can make people unite in ways you normally would not.

People are absolutely amazed how our co-workers become our family. It makes complete sense. No one understands our job, nor do they care to.  All they can see is how we get cheap  flights.

“Oh, man I’m so jealous, you’re in Paris”. 24 hours in Paris does not excite me in one bit. In 24 hours, you can basically, shit, shower, and shave, and if you’re lucky, have a good meal. We do have to sleep. Yes, some airlines give you week long layovers, which are amazing. But mine doesn’t.

Another thing I’m tired of hearing, in fact disgusted with people’s thoughts: “Oh my god, your FAs are so old. They’re so much more prettier in Asia.”

WHAT THE FUCK!! We’re hiring on looks only? I expect people to fly because it’s the fastest way to get to their destination. Does the FAs’ looks really matter? Are we pole dancing during the flights? Are we giving ‘happy endings’ in business class? How dare people expect that we get rid of staff because they reached a certain age? Yes, in Asia the girls look good. But they can’t marry, get pregnant, age past 30, or gain any weight without losing their jobs. What kind of society would we be living in if our looks was the only way to obtain a job and not our credentials? Yes, looks helps but this is ridiculous.

Oh, by the way, that old haggard you had on your Frankfurt flight can probably re-assemble the slide with her teeth blindfolded. These hardy women will  rip the door off its hinges to get you to safety, while my flights in Asia with Asian airlines have provided me with much needed entertainment, as the crew were trying to remember how to arm the doors. I’ll take old and haggard over pretty and stupid any day.
Give me a woman who’s fighting for the last check to retire then a girl who’s afraid to break a nail.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9AlQaQxnbfk&feature=fvst

The older one’s that survive without dying from cancer due to being near radioactivity, suffer from constant nightmares of running late for flights, dealing with rude passengers, and plane crashes. We work, breathe and live in the air. It’s not a job, it’s a life.

All of this to say that a please, a thank you, an excuse me, a smile, a look in the eyes and a response would make a huge difference in our day and our lives.

Is respect so much to ask for?

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  1. Hi. If you don’t like your job, change ?

  2. Croustiti, why is it that when teacher, nurses, or postal workers complain people stand behind them but whenever I read anything from a flight attendants point of view (I by the way am not a flight attendant) people always accuse them of complaining (like they don’t have the right) or tell them that they are in the wrong job?

  3. Eight weeks of training — horrible. So why not pursuing an academic carrer instead? It is only about ten years more (study, PhD, postdoctoral), or become an artist (only twelve to fifteen years of daily practice of about five to eight hours), or even a simple teacher… Whoever is dealing with people has more or less the same problems and complaints as the flight attendants. Moreover, if for instance, you are a teacher, not only you have to smile to every parent that think their offspring is at least as gifted as Einstein, but also to tell them their offspring is dumm but still convince them not to change school (that is if you want to keep your job). And you have to keep smiling to the SAME parent for years. And trust me, I can tell neverending stories about pupils and students. And, for that matter, FAs as well (not all I’ve encountered in my life, some made my travels very comfortable, but others…).

    So just stop complaining and do your job the best you can, like every other job, like we all do. We all provide services, and we all have rights and duties. No more, no less.

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