Most people believe that flight attendants have very glamorous jobs. While traveling around the country or around the world can be fun, it still works. Flight attendants have to go through rigorous training before they are ready to work on a flight. They also need to learn to deal with difficult and horrible people. There are plenty of things that you don’t know about flight attendants. Here are some things that go on behind the scenes that you may not know about.
Hands Behind the Back
Have you ever boarded a plane and noticed that the flight attendants have their hands behind their backs? They do this for a reason. It is their job to keep count of everyone boarding the plane, and if people saw them counting with their fingers, the respect level would drop significantly.
They Have Secret Sleeping Quarters
Long flights can be brutal, and most passengers take a nap. What about the flight crew? Have you ever looked around the plane and notice that your favorite flight attendant hasn’t been around in a while? If so, they are likely taking a nap in the flight attendant’s sleeping quarters. Big planes like the Boeing 777 or 787 have small cabins for the crew to take a nap. They are usually located above or below the gallery, so you won’t even know they’re there.
The Mile High Club
Ever since air travel became a regular thing, the “mile-high club” has been glamorized. When you think about it, it really isn’t as much fun as you might think. The bathrooms are tiny, and there is barely enough room for one person, let alone two. Also, the bathrooms often smell. If you are thinking about joining the mile-high club, you might want to think twice. Flight attendants are trained to watch the restrooms to make sure two people don’t enter at once. If you get caught, you can be arrested for indecent exposure and banned from flying. It’s really not worth it.
Keep Your Shoes On!
Many people like to take off their shoes during a flight. If you are going to be moving about the cabin, you should put your shoes back on. The floors of a plane aren’t very clean, and while spills are cleaned up quickly, there aren’t many cleaning supplies on board, which will make your feet filthy if you leave your shoes off.
They Often Date Each Other
Since flight attendants spend a lot of time together in a small space, relationships blossom. Fraternization between flight attendants is accepted by most airlines, as long as it doesn’t interfere with their jobs, and they must remain professional at all times.
They Use Their Cell Phones
Flight attendants have a perk that the other passengers don’t. They get to take advantage of the plane’s free WiFi, and they spend a lot of time on their phones. When they are telling you to put yours away, they are taking theirs out when they are out of sight. As if getting to fly around the world for free wasn’t enough, they also get to use their phones.
They Have the Power To Restrain You
If you start acting up on a plane, there won’t always be an Air Marshall on board. Because of this, flight attendants are trained to take down a violent passenger and restrain them. They also have zip ties available and are trained to use the seat belt extensions as restraints. Just because nobody on board looks threatening, every flight attendant can take you down.
Signs and Signals
Flight attendants have certain signs and signals that they use to communicate with one another. They use these subtle signs to avoid freaking out the passengers. Have you ever heard the beeps at the beginning or end of the flight? These beeps are to let the flight attendants know that the most dangerous part of the flight is over. They also have hand signals to communicate from one of the cabin to the other.
Fraternizing With Passengers Is Allowed
There are many professions where fraternizing with others is frowned upon. For example, a doctor can’t date their patients. There are no rules against flight attendants fraternizing with passengers, so if you think that your flight attendant is hot, you can make your move. However, they are used to this happening, so you may strike out. If they tell you that fraternizing is against the policy, you can call them out for lying.
They Size You Up While You Board the Plane
When you first board the plane, you may have noticed that there is a flight attendant standing right there. Sure, they want to welcome you to the flight, but they are also sizing you up. This is what flight attendants notice about you in 3 secs. They make mental notes of who could be intoxicated or problematic. They check to see who is traveling alone, and who might need some extra assistance. They look for disabilities and people traveling with children. Finally, they look for people who are strong and can be useful in an emergency.
They Don’t Get Paid Well
Most people don’t know this, but flight attendants don’t get paid well. Before the plane takes off, the flight attendants have to do safety checks, greet the passengers, and help them get comfortable before the flight takes off. What you may not know is that they aren’t getting paid for their time. Their full pay doesn’t kick in until the engine starts, and the plane pulls away from the gate. They only get paid about $1.50 per hour for the work that they do before the flight takes off and after it lands.
They Will Cut You Off
Have you ever heard the Dirks Bently song, Drunk On a Plane? What Dirks doesn’t mention in the song is that getting drunk on a plane is illegal. If you drink too much, your flight attendant will cut you off. If you do get drunk on a plane, you can get up to two years in prison. Because of the changes in cabin pressure on a plane, alcohol has a stronger effect. Therefore, you should go easy if you are going to be drinking on a plane.
Don’t Order Diet Coke
Flight attendants hate when passengers order a Diet Coke on a flight. Diet Coke is fizzier than any other carbonated beverage. This means that the flight attendants have to be very careful when pouring it. It takes three times longer to pour a Diet Coke than other drinks because they have to make sure that it doesn’t overflow. If you really want a drink, get water. Your flight attendant will appreciate it.
The Lights Go Out
When a plane takes off and right before it lands, the lights are turned off. There is actually a good reason for this. These are the two most critical stages of the flight. When the flight attendants turn off the lights, it gives your eyes a chance to get used to the darkness. If something were to happen during takeoff or landing, turning off the lights makes it possible for you to see.
Don’t Order Coffee
If you want a drink on a flight, your flight attendant won’t suggest ordering coffee. The tanks that hold the water for hot beverages don’t get cleaned as often as they should. Also, the valve for the bathroom water is close to the valve for the clean water, so you don’t know what you are going to get. If the flight attendant offers you a drink, you should stick to bottled or canned beverages.
The Meals Are Questionable
Meals are available on long flights, but they aren’t like a meal that you would order in a restaurant. In-flight meals are loaded with simple carbs, sugar, salt, and fat. These meals have no nutritional value, and they don’t taste a good as you think. If you are going to be taking a long flight, you should consider bringing your own food.
The Job Isn’t As Great As It Sounds
Most people think that the life of a flight attendant is glamorous. They get to visit new places all the time, and they fly for free. The reality is that when the plane is in the air, the flight attendants are just glorified, waiters, and waitresses. The job is also very demanding. Flight attendants get 4 am wake-up calls, they are always jet-lagged, and they have to work on weekends and holidays. As if all this weren’t bad enough, the job keeps you from your family and friends for long periods of time.
If You Have a Fear Of Flying, Avoid First-Class
Most people think that first-class seats are the best ones on the plane. In the event of a plane crash, the people in first-class have the highest risk of dying. The safest seats are those near the safety exits and the aisle seats. If you are worried about a plane crash, sitting in first-class isn’t your best bet.
The Oxygen Masks Have a Time Limit
Above each seat is an oxygen mask. If the cabin pressure falls below a certain level, and it becomes difficult to breathe, the oxygen masks will drop automatically. The oxygen supply in each mask isn’t unlimited. You have between 12 to 15 minutes of oxygen before it runs out. This may not seem like a lot of time, but it actually is. As soon as the cabin pressure drops, the pilot is working on getting the plane to an altitude where the pressure stabilizes. If you do need the mask, stay calm, and breathe slowly so that you will get the most out of the oxygen that is available to you.
Flight Attendants Have To Look the Part
Years ago, flight attendants had to be pretty, have nice bodies, and look the part. Those days are gone, but airlines still do have physical standards that a flight attendant must meet. First, their hair has to be a natural color. Also, it must be pulled back at all times if it is long. A flight attendant cannot be so tall that their head will hit the overhead bins. They also cannot be so short that their height makes it impossible for them to do their job.
Getting a Job As a Flight Attendant Isn’t As Easy As You Think
In 2010, Harvard University had a higher acceptance rate than Delta airlines did. If you want to become a flight attendant, you should understand that the competition is intense. In 2010, Delta announced that it had 1,000 job openings, and it received over 100,000 applications. Only four percent of those who applied got an interview. Judging by the pay and the work conditions, it is shocking that so many people applied. The starting pay is around $18,000 per year, and you have to have excellent customer service skills, despite how difficult a passenger is. If you are bilingual, you have a better shot of landing the job.
You Can Get An Upgrade
If there is a seat on first-class available, the flight attendant can offer it to coach passengers. If you want an upgrade, be kind to the flight attendants. Saying, please, thank you, and even smiling can help. Don’t expect it to happen, but if you are friendly, there is a chance.
The Plane Won’t Crash If You Don’t Turn Off Your Phone
During takeoff, your flight attendant will tell you to turn off your cell phone. If you don’t, contrary to popular belief, the plane won’t crash. There is a reason why they tell you to turn off your phone, however. Cell signals are strong enough to interfere with air traffic control frequencies, which can be very dangerous when the plane is trying to take off and land.
Passengers Aren’t Told About Bomb Threats
If you are flying over the ocean and there is a report that there is a bomb on board, you won’t be told. It is essential that the passengers remain calm at all times, and letting everyone know about a bomb threat won’t help keep order.