Flight attendants are known for appearing put together and able to easily assist you with any needs that might come up during your flight. However, you might be surprised to learn there is a lot more to a flight attendant’s shift than may appear to the untrained eye. It can often be messy, tiring and frustrating. It is an unglamorous job, but someone has to do it. Here are just eight of the struggles your friendly flight attendant has to deal with during your flight:
1. We deal with a lot of bodily fluids on a daily basis
Flight attendants have seen it all and are usually unfazed by cleaning up vomit, pee and poop on a regular basis. The plane lavatories can get foul quickly, especially on long-haul flights and we go into automatic mode when they need to be cleaned up, which is often. We also clean up after ill passengers who could not always make it to the sick bags in time or children who have had accidents.
2. We need to use disinfectant religiously
We know that the airplane is a breeding ground for germs and how important it is to constantly sanitize ourselves and every surface we come into contact with. Whether we are handing out drinks or using the lavatory, we know that millions of nasty germs are always being exchanged. When we run out of hand sanitizer, we have been known to use alcohol to clean our hands from any lingering bacteria.
3. We easily get bored during our downtime
Handing out drinks and pillows is only a small portion of our job, and there is a lot of free time, especially on longer flights. You can only play games on your phone or read a book for so many hours during the flight. We love it when passengers come and chat with us when we are standing around, because it provides stimulation in an otherwise very long shift.
4. We are constantly jet-lagged
Flying constantly through new time zones, we never have a normal bedtime and our internal clocks are always off. We try to get sleep while on the ground, but it never seems like enough. If we are extra tired and dazed, it is a combination of lack of sleep and an off-day, so please try to be understanding.
5. We had to practice to always appear pleasant
Service with a smile is our motto, but it is something that we have practiced and perfected over time. It is hard to be “on” during the entire shift, but we try to appear pleasant, despite difficult passengers and situations that are bound to arise.
6. We have a hard time maintaining long-term relationships
Frequent flying and quick overnight layovers mean that life on the road can be rough for relationships back at home. This industry is known for its fair share of one-night stands and no-strings-attached relationships.
7. We have a hard time maintaining a social life
Having minimum time back at home, we have a hard time finding time for our friends. When we are at home all we went to do is sleep or have some quality alone time binge-watching the TV shows we’ve missed. When you are in a job that requires constant social interaction, it is hard to embrace extroverted tendencies back at home as well. Plus, due to our wonky internal clocks we often flake on the plans that we made.
8. We are physically drained from always being on our feet
This is not a job for those who think it is an easy position where you just get to hand out drinks and fly around the world for free. The job of a flight attendant demands you to always be on your feet for a good amount of time, whether you are preparing the food cart or walking up and down the aisles to assist passengers in their seats.
Featured photo credit: Flight attendants/MIKI Yoshihito via flickr.com