Yes, we’re allowed to leave the plane: Addressing some misconceptions and FAQs about flight attendants

In my short time as a trolley dolly, I’ve learned that the flight attendant lifestyle seems to really mystify a large portion of the general public. And for good reason! It’s a pretty nontraditional gig.

“Do flight attendants have to stay the night on the plane?”

Yeah, we all just huddle together for warmth in the last row of seats until we gently drift off to a peaceful slumber.

I’m really surprised how often I’m asked this question — it’s as if people think we’re some type of robots that shut off when deplaning concludes. In the same vein comes this question:

“Do you have to pay for the hotels you stay at for layovers?”

If we had to, flight attending would be a millionaire’s job! Airlines have contracts with hotels for crew stays. So yes, we do get to leave the plane at the end of our workday and have someplace to stay.

“What route do you normally fly?”

I get where this question comes from, but it’s irrelevant for most of us. Reserve flight attendants like me never know where they’re going (or if they’re going to work at all) until the day of or mayyyybe if they’re lucky, the day before. Some more senior flight attendants who have lines (set schedules from which they can drop, add and swap days) might try to work similar trips each month, but even they probably switch it up every now and then.

I should add that some flight attendants (especially moms and dads) will try to exclusively work turns where they fly from their home base to another city and back, or one-day trips where they end up back at their home base. That of course brings me to this:

“Sure, you can be a flight attendant while you’re single, but what about when you get married and have kids?”

I can totally understand where this comes from. Back in the day, some airlines even required flight attendants to be single, a certain age and weight/height, etc. But we’re living in 2017, people! Everybody’s different, but if the flight attendant life is what you want, you can certainly make it happen while also having a husband or wife/girlfriend or boyfriend and children.

I know I said that many parents will try to work turns, but that’s not always the case! Many work longer trips with layovers that put them away from family. For some people, that sacrifice might not be worth it — but for others, the perks of the job (affordable family vacations, schedule flexibility, etc.) make those nights away worth it. I know lots of flight attendant parents with amazing support systems that make it possible for them to have their dream job while raising children.

I don’t personally plan on having children (except for my kitty baby!), but I love knowing I could while keeping the job I love!

In terms of being away from your significant other, I’ll say this: if you can’t go away for a few nights without wondering if they’re up to no good, you should probably reevaluate that relationship in the first place. Like I’ve said before, a little time away can be very beneficial for a couple.

“Don’t you get sick of pouring Diet Cokes for a living?”

Well FIRST OF ALL, my airline only recently started having us actually pour beverages, so the thrill is still super fresh for me.

SECOND OF ALL, there is significantly less pouring done by flight attendants on an ultra-low-cost carrier because NOTHING IS FREE. 🙂 Except for smiles and sarcasm.

But to get to the point: even if it doesn’t look like it on a day-to-day basis to you, your flight attendants are there for a lot more than your (already sparse) comfort on the airplane. If shit goes down, believe you me, you’ll be glad to have them. I, along with legions of flight attendants around the world, take great pride in the safety aspect of my job.

And I wouldn’t have taken this job if I didn’t sincerely enjoy customer service. Just a small gesture can make all the difference in someone’s day — and I love having unlimited opportunities to make that happen.

One thing we as flight attendants sometimes take for granted is just how stressful air travel is for the average human.

There’s getting to the airport, figuring out where to go, navigating security, perhaps having to throw out too-large liquids, finding the gate, overpriced airport food, bathroom lines, screaming children, boarding, finding a place for your luggage, and so many other opportunities for mayhem. Not everyone flies that often, and that might make them flustered — we can cut them some slack.

Customer service also offers a healthy dose of humor on a daily basis. I’m looking at you, Cup Noodles guy:

We’re on a flight from LA back to Chicago. Service has been crazy; people are spending $75 on mediocre snacks. Call bells are going off nonstop. WE RUN OUT OF CUP NOODLES. NONE LEFT ON THE AIRCRAFT. This gentleman asks me not once but THREE TIMES if we have more Cup Noodles yet.

Oh yes, we just got a new shipment from an airline representative on a jet pack at 35,000 feet. If we run out again, we’ll have to make them from scratch.

Made my day.

Also this little girl every single time I came through the aisle with trash:

“LOOK, IT’S TRASH LADY!!!!” 

It was one of those life-defining moments I’ve always dreamed of. Trash Queen it is.

I have also had UNBELIEVABLE situations arise, like this one time my best friend and his BRAND NEW fiancé boarded my flight. If you two are reading this, congratulations again! ❤ So glad and still in disbelief that I got to celebrate so soon with you.

Life is beautiful sometimes. Well really all of the time if you cock your head and look at it the right way … which is easier to do when you’re 35,000 feet away from all your usual bullshit. Warning: there might also be bullshit on the plane, but at least it will be different bullshit. 

…….

That’s all for now — thanks for stopping by. 🙂

 

Peace, love & fairy dust,

YourKayla

 

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