They’re responsible for the safety and comfort of passengers in a pressurized metal tube travelling at hundreds of kilometers through the air, at altitudes of thousands of feet, and they do it all with a smile. The life of a flight attendant is anything but an average one, and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t considered the position myself, even going so far as to apply and rescind my application. I wanted to see what it’s like working as a flight attendant, so I asked my good friend Amy to answer a few questions from me. A Canadian like myself, Amy gets to travel all over the world without spending a dime (except I’d imagine on all the food I see posted to her instagram). Here are Amy’s answers to my questions about her amazing job as a flight attendant.
First of all, can you describe your job? What does an average day look like?
Every flight is completely different and unpredictable; some days are really good and sometimes I get home and want to hibernate for days. Depending on the destination, service is quite different. The only thing I can say about being a flight attendant is that our lives are anything but average.
What’s (in your opinion) the best destination you’ve gotten to fly to?
When I first began flying in spring of 2014, Edinburgh was my favourite. Firstly, the passengers are incredible and kind. Secondly, the city itself is beautiful and filled with old charm. San Diego was pretty high up there as well because there is just something about California that makes you feel so damn good about everything.
As of today, I have been flying for three summers and as of now, Lima, Peru is my favourite. The food is just wow, the flavours you get in just one bite of ceviche makes me want to swim in circles with Dory and Nemo. I have a routine on my 48 hour layovers; I go to El Pan De La Chola for breakfast. This bakery has the best bread I have ever had in my life. Their freshly squeezed orange juice is pure bliss. I then walk back to the hotel alongside the ocean front which is even more beautiful than the last time.
Summer 2016 was primarily spent in Peru; however for the first time ever, I will be flying to Prague and Budapest at the end of August. I have never been to Hungary or Czech Republic; this job has allowed me to see the world, and for that reason I am still flying.
What is your biggest annoyance when dealing with passengers?
The list is endless; however, ignorance is by far the most unfortunate part of my job. When there is a delay, a gate change, or anything that involves a change of plans, passengers are very quick to jump on the blame train without any notion of how the airline industry works. I remember having a 6 hour delay because of a mechanical issue and passengers were insisting that we leave; need I elaborate?
What would you say is the weirdest thing that you’ve encountered on one of your flights is?
To be honest, I encounter more assholes than I do weirdos.
Are there any special qualifications to this job that you need? Was it a tough gig to get?
The hiring process is extensive; becoming a flight attendant is not as easy as most people might think. There are thousands and thousands of applications when only a few hundred, if at that, are hired. You must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma. A lot of my colleagues have bachelor degrees in varying faculties. We all tell ourselves that we’ll give this two years max, and we’re all still here.
Once you are hired, you need to pass safety training, and let me tell you it’s emotionally and physically exhausting. I put more time into passing 6 weeks of safety training than I did in my 3 years of Uni; that should tell you something. In my case, I applied, and a month later I packed up bags and left Montreal to start a new chapter in Toronto. When the timing is right, you have to hustle and make sure every step to the finish line is executed well.
For anyone thinking of applying to work as cabin crew, what would you recommend?
Write a mind blowing cover letter, get them right in the feels. Tell them that the world is too small to stay in one place for too long and that you want them to be a part of that. Be yourself, and they’ll love you. Take charge in group interviews but don’t take too much space. Take the reigns and then designate a fellow candidate to finish it off.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
Problem solving, patience, and jet lag. I always tell people that there are far more cons to the job than pros; but the pros outweigh the cons by far. You need tough skin and a good crew, the rest just sorts itself out. It might seem impossible when dealing with so many different personalities at 35,000 feet in the air, but being kind goes a long way in this industry. Make no mistake, it is very easy to get frustrated and fast; but sometimes you just have to step back, breath, and then get back into the game. Communication is everything; learn it quick because there is no other way to problem solve something when 10 things hit you at once.
Can you tell us a funny story? Something that happened either on a flight or while on a layover?
I find nonsensical things to be the funniest. When a passenger walks onboard with a suitcase the size of a hockey bag, but tries to close the bin (knowing that it won’t close but leaves it to a 5 foot flight attendant to figure it out), I will call that person out. In fact, I will make an announcement if this person does not identify themselves when asked who’s bag it belongs to, it will be checked anonymously making it very tough for them to collect. I may be small, but do not be fooled, I can hold my own.
Is there anything else you’d like to ask a flight attendant? Comment below and I’ll find you an answer. Interested in a travelling job, but can’t handle the jetlag? Check out my posts on working on a cruise ship.