When it comes a flight attendant’s job, perception rarely matches reality.
“People think there’s glamour associated with this job, and there is to some extent when you’re talking about, ‘I just got back from Beijing, and I know the best shops in the Pearl Market,’ or ‘I spent Chinese New Year in Hong Kong,’ or ‘after spending the day at Ipanema Beach in Rio, we went to a fabulous churrascaria,'” Annette Long, a flight attendant with 13 years of experience, previously told Business Insider.
“But the job itself is far from glamorous,” she continues. “Even if you’re working in first class or business class, it’s not glamorous at all.”
Long says that many flight attendants don’t realise just what the job entails until they’re doing it, and passengers often get the wrong idea of what they do for a living.
To set the record straight, we asked flight attendants everywhere to weigh in on some of the most common misconceptions out there, and more than 60 responded. We’ve anonymously included some of their answers here:
Putting bags in overhead bins for passengers is part of the job
“Our companies don’t cover our injuries if we get hurt lifting your bags.”
Flight attendants love giving attitude
“While, yes, there are some jaded flight attendants out there, we’re fully equipped to save you and your loved ones in an emergency. We don’t tell you to fasten your seat belts to be jerks — we do it for your safety.”
Flight attendants party all the time
“Most layovers are short, and you barely have time for food and a good nights sleep.”
“We spend most layovers in bed with wine and Netflix.”
Flight attendants aren’t intelligent
“I’m a huge nerd, and science is my favourite thing. My second favourite is making people comfortable and happy.”
Flight attendants are so different from everyone else
“People think we have an unlimited amount of energy and we only work one or two days a week. Most of us fly full schedules and have families. We are actually pretty normal.”
Flight attendants are always surrounded by people
“Far from it — the lifestyle can be very lonely.”
Flight attendants are uneducated
“In fact, we are probably more educated than most.”
There are no straight male flight attendants
“Not all male flight attendants are gay.”
Flight attendants are only trained to serve peanuts and coffee
“The reality is that we are highly training to get you off of the plane in an emergency. We spend 12-hour days, six days a week, for several weeks to ensure we are qualified to take care of you in a medical emergency or a flight emergency, all the while serving you and making sure you’re happy.”
Flight attendants sleep around
“A common misconception is that since we sleep in so many different places, we must also sleep around.”
Flight attendants get to fly for free wherever and whenever they want
“We fly standby, and flights are always full.”
Flight attendants don’t have families of their own
“We are not all young, single, and looking for a good time.”
Flight attendants have a certain route
“You most likely will be on reserve out of training with almost no control over your schedule.”
Flight attendants are automatons
“We need to eat and use the aeroplane lavatories, too.”
Flight attendants are glorified waitresses
“Our job is dangerous, physically demanding, and laden with immense responsibility for the safety, security, and survival of our passengers.”
Flight attendants are all just looking for dates or rich husbands
“We may be married with children, not looking for dates for the night on the plane.”
Responses have been edited for clarity.
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