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15 Things Only Flight Attendants Would Understand

15 Things Only Flight Attendants Would Understand

If you thought that being a flight attendant was easy or even glamorous, think again. According to one source, it is one of the worst jobs out there because of the high stress levels, miserable pay and poor job prospects. Some airlines have been called the slave ships of the air! The minimum salary is $24,000 and maximum might reach $73,000 for senior staff. There may be some good perks such as hotel and car rental discounts and some free travel. But the everyday grind of dealing with difficult and demanding passengers makes you wonder why you chose this particular job. Here are 15 things that only you will understand.

1. You hate the rowdy, drunk passengers

Of course most passengers are polite and fairly well behaved. The problem is that there are always those who step out of line and are downright unruly and difficult. Passengers who expose their smelly feet and drunken passengers are the worst. They all get a mention on the Passenger Shaming page on Facebook which now has over 333,000 likes! Watch the video here just in case you think all this has been exaggerated. Not exactly pleasant working conditions for the poor flight attendant (FA).

2. You have a difficult social life

Another challenge you face is that because of your crazy schedule, you are the one who has to reach out and organize your social life when you are actually on the ground. There is no point in waiting around for friends to call you because they never understand or even try to memorize your schedule which is continually changing anyway.

3. You have a really complicated timetable

Getting up for an early flight could actually mean 1am in the morning! You may have to do long haul flights which inevitably means upsetting your body clock and you have problems with jet lag. You may be on the infamous ‘red eye’ flights and that also means disturbed sleep patterns.

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4. You have to handle the scared passengers

It has been estimated that up to 30% of plane passengers are on the nervous flyers spectrum. A much smaller number will actually have aviophobia and you think that they should be given a refund and told to go by train or ship! But, of course, you are empathic and skilful in dealing with these special cases.

5. You are in the front line if hijackers strike

You have had to go through all that training and you know exactly what to do. This is scary if a terrorist manages to get on board and create havoc. The pilots are okay because they will always remain locked in the cockpit, no matter what happens. You are in the front line and you are responsible for any decisions you take. Nevertheless, you are glad you did that training because you feel more confident.

6. You are the scapegoat

You are the one who gets it when anything goes wrong. It could be flight delays, bad weather, pricing, seat allocation, leg room, tray tables, reclining seats, and the food. Passengers tend to think that you have decided all these things. You are only trying to make their stay on board a pleasant one so you get really angry when they blame you for everything.

7. You did not walk into this job

Yes, passengers think that you just walked into the job and there was not that much competition. You would like to tell them that when Delta advertised 1,000 openings some years back, there were 100,000 applicants! Looks like getting into Harvard is easier than this. You also had to invest time and money in learning another language because that can really increase your chances.

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8. You really had to train hard after you got the job

Passengers who think that the FA is just a glorified server or salesperson is totally wrong. You are responsible for their safety and well-being. That means you had to go through rigorous training as regards emergencies, safety, evacuation and first aid. You wonder how many of them would actually know what a defibrillator is and how it might work to actually save their life.

9. You wish they knew your schedule

I bet that many passengers do not realize the cruel scheduling that you have to put up with. Just imagine a 2 hour working day followed by one of twelve hours. You get to work five days in a row and do a world trip while doing that. Doing six cities in 48 hours is not so unusual. Everybody thinks the job is great as you can stay in luxury hotels and surf on the beach. At the start when you are on reserve status, you cannot even enjoy your 10-15 days leave as you have to be on call and that means you might have to leave at just a few hours’ notice. Many people do not know that reserve status can last a few years in some cases.

10. You get passengers’ germs as a bonus

Dealing with all these people in a small space with recycled air means that flight attendants get exposed to all sorts of viruses, germs and bacteria. Not surprising that the rate of minor illness such as colds and flu in our group is pretty high. There are sick-day policies so you can take sick leave but sometimes you just cannot afford that. If you call in sick at the last minute, you are going to get reduced pay. That makes you feel even worse! But there are other health risks and FAs are more likely to suffer from bronchitis, skin cancer, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety than the general population.

11. You never get to work with the same colleagues

Imagine walking into your office and working with a different set of colleagues every day! This is what most flight attendant have to get used to. One small advantage is that you will never meet that obnoxious colleague again! But you never get to work again with really nice co-worker and that is a shame.

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12. You risk back injuries

When you have to help a passenger to lift an overstuffed carry-on into the overhead bin, you risk putting your back out and you might even have to take time off. Not to mention all the walking you have to do up and down the aisle pushing the heavy beverage cart. You do the cabin every fifteen minutes and that all adds up.

13. You may risk a FAA fine

It may seem unbelievable but if the flight attendant breaks a rule by giving someone a glass of water after the safety demo, they risk a fine of up to $1,100 if a FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) inspector happens to be on board. You often wonder why the FAA does not leave you in peace. You rightly feel that they should charge much heftier fines for those air-rage passengers who disrupt flights and make life hell for everybody on board.

14. You have to keep your emotions under control

You can spot a difficult passenger the moment they step on board. This is the one who will have problems with their carry-on luggage, the seat will not recline because it is on the exit row and of course s/he will not be able to order a snack because they are sold out! You have to make sure that you are not threatening them by your body language, you have to shut up and just listen, you cannot let emotions take over and you have to stick to the facts. You feel great though when you have managed a really difficult passenger well.

15. You hate screaming babies and unruly kids

You know the scene only too well. A passenger rings the call bell because there is a toddler who is kicking their seat. Yes, it is really irritating when a passenger’s seat gets kicked. But when you have to act as a temporary parent, it is very risky. Being the disciplinarian sometimes backfires and the parents get angry. As for screaming babies, the changes in pressurization are causing their ears to hurt, so they cry. But try telling that to the nearby passengers! All you can do is to make sure that the parents have everything they need to calm the baby.

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The next time you work as a FA, pat yourself on the back that you are doing a great job and that very few passengers really know what it is like. You just hope that 95% of them know how to act like a gentleman or a lady.

Featured photo credit: WI: Midwest Airlines flight attendants candlelight vigil July 8, 2008, Milwaukee/ Bernard Pollack via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on July 16, 2020

How to Decline a Job Offer Gracefully (With Email Examples)

How to Decline a Job Offer Gracefully (With Email Examples)

Generally, if you’re in a position to decline a job offer, it’s a high-quality problem. Maybe you were offered a better position at a different company, or perhaps you were offered the same position at a different organization but for better pay (or perks). Or maybe, after sitting down and discussing the offer with your family, you decided that the travel requirements were too intense. Perhaps the company where you currently work agreed to match the new offer, and once you examined the pros and cons, you realized it made more sense to stay.

Whatever the reason[1], your charge now is knowing how to decline a job offer gracefully. As a courtesy to the company who extended you the job offer, you want to decline quickly, giving the hiring manager a chance to make the offer to the candidate who was the runner-up for the job. You also want to express your appreciation. And, given today’s rocky economy, it makes sense to politely decline the job offer in a way that will hopefully keep the door open for you should your circumstances change.

If you’re not sure how to decline a job offer, check out the following tips to get through it.

3 Ways to Decline a Job Offer Gracefully (With Examples)

1. Show Gratitude

The hiring manager likely spent several hours on your job application—between reading your cover letter, reviewing your resume, and interviewing you either in person or via a videoconferencing platform. Recruitment is a long and sometimes tedious process for any employer. There is always competition for every open job, and the hiring manager may have pushed your candidacy over others in the queue.

For these reasons, your note needs to express thoughtfulness and genuine appreciation. That said, it needn’t be lengthy.

The following example is concise and expresses gratitude in several ways, providing a good example for how you can decline a job offer gracefully:

Subject Line: Job Offer – [Your Name]

Dear Mr./Ms. ________[Hiring manager’s last name],

Thank you for offering me the position of _______ [job title] with _________ [company name]. I greatly appreciate the vote of confidence that comes with your offer. However, after carefully considering the opportunities for career advancement, I have decided to stay where I am.

I sincerely thank you for the time and consideration you devoted to my application, interview, and follow-up. I appreciate your graciousness and consummate professionalism throughout.

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I wish you success in all the company’s undertakings that you outlined. Thank you again for extending the opportunity to work with you.

Sincerely,

[Your name]

2. Give a Reason, but Don’t Elaborate

If you had several interviews at the company, then saying why you are turning down the offer shows respect and professional courtesy. It’s fine to say that you took a different job offer, decided to stay at your company, or even felt that the salary was not sufficient. The trick is to say it succinctly.

The following example does just that:

Subject Line: Job Offer – [Your Name]

Dear Mr./Ms. _______ [Hiring manager’s name],

I greatly appreciate your offer of the position of _______ [job title]. I was very impressed with you and the staff members who interviewed me, as well as the direction of the company. I regret, however, that I must decline your offer due to the salary offered.

I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to have met you and your team and to learn about your company. Again, I am grateful for the positive interviewing experience with your company and for the job offer.

I wish great success with your plans to move forward.

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Best regards,

[Your name]

3. Offer to Stay in Touch

This technique isn’t for everyone, but if you felt a strong connection with the person who interviewed you, or if you could see yourself working at the company in a few years, it might make sense to offer to keep in touch.

Remember that hiring managers switch companies, too, and it’s always a good idea to have a hiring manager think well of you!

The following example includes an offer to stay in touch in a gentle way:

Subject Line: Job Offer – [Your Name]

Dear Mr./Ms. ________[Hiring manager’s name],

I am writing to personally thank you for offering me the position of ________ [job title] at _______[company name]. I enjoyed meeting you and having a chance to meet the other members of the team. It was an extremely difficult decision for me, but I have accepted a position at another company.

I genuinely appreciate the time you devoted to interviewing me and to sharing your insights on the direction of the company. I hope we might stay in touch as I value your visionary ideas about our industry’s future.

Again, thank you for your time and consideration, and I wish you all the best for your continued success.

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Respectfully,

[Your name]

Should You Hold out for Your Dream Job?

If you interviewed with two companies, and your dream company is dragging out its decision while your second choice company has made you an offer, what’s the best direction to take? As long as the job offer from your second choice company is in keeping with your goals for upward mobility, added responsibility, and increased salary, you are better off accepting the extended offer for two reasons.

First, the reason the dream company is prolonging the process may be because it has made an offer to another and is negotiating with another candidate. Second, if you accept another offer and withdraw your candidacy from the dream company, the hiring manager will note your desirability to another (possibly competing) employer and may try to recruit you in the future.

It is the epitome of poor form to decline a job after accepting it, even if your dream company finally comes through with an offer. This puts the company that made the original offer in a huge bind, particularly if it has already sent rejections to its other candidates and is taking steps for on-boarding you. This could make you a pariah at the company, and in any industry, news travels fast and far.

The Best Medium for Declining a Job Offer

Should you send your response via email? Or pick up the telephone and call the hiring manager? The most professional response is to use the same method they used to extend you the offer. If they offered you the job via email, then feel free to email your reply. If they called you or left a voicemail message, then picking up the telephone is the preferred method. Do your best to call during business hours.

To be as poised as possible, you may want to write out your rejection and practice saying it a few times. Time it to make sure it does not exceed 30 seconds. (Even if you leave a voicemail, you may need to also write them an email for their records.)

If the hiring manager wants to chat further, don’t give the impression that you want to quickly end the call. Give the conversation your full attention to let the employer know that you value the relationship that you have built. It’s important not to burn bridges if you should decide to apply at the company again in the future—or at another company where the manager happens to transfer to. Remain discreet, but converse with decorum if the other party wants to prolong the conversation.

Dotting I’s and Crossing T’s

Always include your contact information, including your phone number, although the company already has it. Double check your communication for typos. If you know a candidate that you believe would be a perfect fit for the job, you may want to mention it. (First make sure he or she really wants the job, though. Reach out to them before suggesting their name.)

Be sure to send your email within normal business hours. Remember that you are not trying to avoid the hiring manager—you’re opening up a line of communication with her or him that you may well use again down the road.

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When They Go Low, You Go High

Granted, not every potential employer has a winning personality. You may have decided well before the offer was extended that this was not a person with whom you wished to work. Or, the company culture[2] may have felt like it would not be a good fit, and you’ve since corroborated the incompatible impression with people in your network.

Whatever gut feelings signaled to you that you needed to turn down an offer, don’t include or even allude to them in your rejection letter[3]. Stating that the position is not the right fit for you and your career is all that you need to disclose.

This final example is for when you prefer not to disclose the reason for your rejection, and you’re looking for a kind, concise way of turning down the job:

Subject Line: Job Offer – [Your Name]

Dear Mr./Ms. ________[Hiring manager’s name],

I genuinely appreciate your taking the time to interview me and the consideration you gave me as a job candidate. I have, however, decided to decline your offer of the ______ [job title], as I have come to realize that the position is not the right fit for me at this time.

I wish you well in your search for the best-suited candidate.

Cordially,

[Your name]

Final Thoughts

Learning how to decline a job offer politely and professionally will keep you in good graces with the prospective employer and help the person better accept your rejection. Let the person know that your change of heart in pursuing a new job isn’t personal, and that you found the experience rewarding.

When you show gratitude and let the hiring manager know that the time and effort invested in you is appreciated, you continue to strengthen your professional standing.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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